On the Shore - a mixed media collage by Kaija Rantakari, 2016 / vintage photo, found antique clay pipe stems, gold leaf, paper, board, ribbon / www.paperiaarre.com

mixed media monday – on the shore

On the Shore - a mixed media collage by Kaija Rantakari, 2016 / vintage photo, found antique clay pipe stems, gold leaf, paper, board, vintage ribbon / www.paperiaarre.com

Some of my mudlarking finds already put into use! While eyeing the Thames foreshore littered with clay pipe stems I made the decision to bring home a ton. I knew if I only picked up a few I’d end up using them on anything. Having a large quantity lowers the threshold of putting the finds into use remarkably. It also opens up the possibility of creating mixed media pieces using a ton at once, which I love! Today’s On the Shore piece is a very small one, but I still get a certain satisfaction in the repetition made possible by using multiples. I know I’ll end up making something larger with even more pipe stems once the holiday season is over.

On the Shore - a mixed media collage by Kaija Rantakari, 2016 / vintage photo, found antique clay pipe stems, gold leaf, paper, board, vintage ribbon / www.paperiaarre.com

(vintage photo, found antique clay pipe stems, gold leaf, paper, board, vintage ribbon)

7×12,7×1,1cm  /  2.8″x5″x0.4″

for sale here

On the Shore - a mixed media collage by Kaija Rantakari, 2016 / vintage photo, found antique clay pipe stems, gold leaf, paper, board, vintage ribbon / www.paperiaarre.com

I was happy to find just the photo for this piece in my collection – these two lovely ladies on a shore are just the perfect pairing for the finds I brought home from one, and the sepia tones go hand in hand with the river’s.

On the Shore - a mixed media collage by Kaija Rantakari, 2016 / vintage photo, found antique clay pipe stems, gold leaf, paper, board, vintage ribbon / www.paperiaarre.com

There’s something very pleasing about the pipe stems; each bit is different, more or less worn by the tides, more or less stained by the Thames mud (some clean off-white, some marbled blue, some orange-y brown), and the clay surface at once smooth and porous. At the bottom of the river shards of gorgeously painted pottery intermingle with the equivalent of modern day cigarette butts (and a ton of other junk + the occasional treasure). The pipes and the broken dishes are both of the same clay origin, but on the scale of femininity and masculinity they are worlds away. It’s likely a lot of these pipe stems came from the pipes of men at work and the painted pottery from a woman’s kitchen. In the centuries these pipe stems have spent in the river the world has changed a lot and the worlds of men and women have (thankfully!) begun to merge at a fast rate. Traditionally gilt rims were seen on the finer dishware, but I decided to add thin gilt rings around these found pipe stems. Perhaps as an attempt to bridge the gap between the femininity and masculinity, and the world now and then – perhaps simply because I find the combination of that beautiful off-white clay and gold leaf gilding just plain charming.

On the Shore - a mixed media collage by Kaija Rantakari, 2016 / vintage photo, found antique clay pipe stems, gold leaf, paper, board, vintage ribbon / www.paperiaarre.com

I hope to have an extra London blog post up for you in a day or two, and on Thursday it’s time for those bunny books I promised, so do come back soon!

London mudlark - www.paperiaarre.com

accumulator seriali – part 29

London mudlark - www.paperiaarre.com

One of the highlights of my trip to London was the chance to go mudlarking with my friend C – twice, at two very different Thames locations! So, this Accumulator Seriali blog post is also a London – part 1½, in a way.

I brought home loads and loads of finds, knowing I’d both use them in my mixed media work and that it’s going to be a while before I get to go back to a tidal foreshore filled with treasures. Broken clay pipes, especially bits of their stems, are among the most common finds, but I ended picking up a ton of those “boring” stems as I immediately knew what I’d do with them if only I had a ton at hand (a miniature preview coming on Monday). In addition to the stems, I felt really lucky to find an intact pipe bowl by Tate Modern – if this illustration is anything to go by, I think it might be from 1690-1750. Later in the week, while we were at her regular mudlarking spot, C found a decorated piece of pipe and kindly gave it (among many other lovely things) to me – can you see the grapes on the bowl? And that little horizontal heart at the heel of the bottommost stem? The white clay has been beautifully stained by the mud!

Thames has a lot more to offer than bits of old pipes:

London mudlark - www.paperiaarre.com

London mudlark - www.paperiaarre.com

London mudlark - www.paperiaarre.com

London mudlark - www.paperiaarre.com

As you can see, I like all kinds of junk! Pottery, bits of bone, glass, buttons, shells, and other entirely random things. Some of these finds are from our honeymoon trip to London last year, like that mysterious white swirly cone at the bottom right of the above photo. It feels like marble, but I’m no expert. C’s knowledge of pottery, on the other hand, is truly impressive! She can tell so much from a tiny shard of pottery! I obviously can’t – I’d tell you all about the above stuff…

London mudlark - www.paperiaarre.com

London mudlark - www.paperiaarre.com

It was so worth getting up before sunrise to catch the early low tide on Saturday. Both the beach and the river were so calm and quiet.

London mudlark - www.paperiaarre.com

Afterwards we had brunch at a yurt café (!!!) with C’s family and C let me pick some of her finds, too! (I left the teeth – I feel weird about traveling with lots of teeth in my suitcase…)

London mudlark - www.paperiaarre.com

At home I cleaned up the finds, spending a loooong time getting the mud out of the pipe stems so I could get a needle go through. But it’s worth it, I hope.

London mudlark - www.paperiaarre.com

As a hoarder-arranger I couldn’t avoid arranging the pipe stems into pleasing groupings as I planned Monday’s mixed media piece. The photo above really shows off the variety of colours the river has given these plain white clay pipes. Buried possibly for centuries, eventually revealed, now picked up by me. Somehow it’s all a bit baffling for someone who doesn’t run into such history in their daily life…

Sewn boards binding in fine goat skin by Kaija Rantakari, 2016. The binding features 768 binary code leather onlays and typed endpapers with the information of the title, author, and publisher of the book: Ontto harmaa by Olli-Pekka Tennilä, published by Poesia, 2016 - paperiaarre.com

fine binding – ontto harmaa finished

Sewn boards binding in fine goat skin by Kaija Rantakari, 2016. The binding features 768 binary code leather onlays and typed endpapers with the information of the title, author, and publisher of the book: Ontto harmaa by Olli-Pekka Tennilä, published by Poesia, 2016 - paperiaarre.com

I’d rather spend eight weeks making a fine binding, but this one I ended up putting together in eight days. My usual approach to this kind of projects is to work on them on and off, ponder and wonder, make some mockups, and really wallow in the state of undecidedness. Needless to say, that’s not how this went. I had planned some details ahead of time and gathered the materials, but I was missing the pages until Monday last week. Along the way, some progress photos were posted here, some on Instagram. As usual, the perfectionist in me is still stuck on some little things about the finished binding, but overall I’m really, really delighted with how this book turned out.

Sewn boards binding in fine goat skin by Kaija Rantakari, 2016. The binding features 768 binary code leather onlays and typed endpapers with the information of the title, author, and publisher of the book: Ontto harmaa by Olli-Pekka Tennilä, published by Poesia, 2016 - paperiaarre.com

Sewn boards binding in fine goat skin by Kaija Rantakari, 2016. The binding features 768 binary code leather onlays and typed endpapers with the information of the title, author, and publisher of the book: Ontto harmaa by Olli-Pekka Tennilä, published by Poesia, 2016 - paperiaarre.com

Ontto harmaa is a really special book. It’s a book of poetry written by my friend Olli-Pekka Tennilä, but it’s also a book that was printed using a linotype machine and a Heidelberg letterpress. It’s extremely rare I get to bind a book where the hours spent producing the physical text on the pages are in any way comparable to the hours I spend making a decorated leather binding for it. I also happen to like the book, which helped me not curse as much while binding it.

Sewn boards binding in fine goat skin by Kaija Rantakari, 2016. The binding features 768 binary code leather onlays and typed endpapers with the information of the title, author, and publisher of the book: Ontto harmaa by Olli-Pekka Tennilä, published by Poesia, 2016 - paperiaarre.com

Sewn boards binding in fine goat skin by Kaija Rantakari, 2016. The binding features 768 binary code leather onlays and typed endpapers with the information of the title, author, and publisher of the book: Ontto harmaa by Olli-Pekka Tennilä, published by Poesia, 2016 - paperiaarre.com

In the book ones and noughts make several appearances, and even on the first reading I kept thinking this book needs binary code on its covers – although, the original covers designed by the author himself are pretty cool, too. The poetry awards I made earlier this year inspired me to type up the endpapers for this book, and now both the covers and the endpapers have the information of the title, author, and publisher in binary code (- I took the liberty of turning ones into greys and noughts into purples on the covers). My original plan was to fill both front and back covers in those binary code dots, but that would’ve meant individually hand tooling 2400 blind impressions and punching 2400 2mm leather dots and glueing 2400 2mm leather dots. Thankfully I came to my senses, and only did all that 768 times. (I’m seeing my chiropractor on Monday.)

Sewn boards binding in fine goat skin by Kaija Rantakari, 2016. The binding features 768 binary code leather onlays and typed endpapers with the information of the title, author, and publisher of the book: Ontto harmaa by Olli-Pekka Tennilä, published by Poesia, 2016 - paperiaarre.com

Ontto harmaa translates as hollow grey, but grey was never a color option I considered for the covers. It wouldn’t really fit the book, and it would be really problematic to decide what type of grey exactly is a hollow grey. Another very conscious design decision was to have the dots be of relatively similar colours – dark blue grey and dark purple. The contrast between the two is small, and depending on the lighting, the colors almost blend together, or create something I can best describe as visual vibration (enhanced by the not-quite-perfection of the rows, which turns the binary code into something a little more human). And such is the nature of poetry, sometimes things blend together or turn into something else entirely.

Sewn boards binding in fine goat skin by Kaija Rantakari, 2016. The binding features 768 binary code leather onlays and typed endpapers with the information of the title, author, and publisher of the book: Ontto harmaa by Olli-Pekka Tennilä, published by Poesia, 2016 - paperiaarre.com

After this intense week of working with leather, I’m at once glad to return to working with linen and eager to return for another round of Ontto harmaa fine binding due spring next year.

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