Coptic bound guestbook with blush pink linen and floral vintage lace - handmade by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

blush pink + vintage lace guest book

Coptic bound guestbook with blush pink linen and floral vintage lace - handmade by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

Suddenly I’m just trying to tie up loose ends: finish unfinished books, finish tasks with deadlines looming in early May, plan ahead of little collage-y things to make this summer. While other people take a vacation in the summer, or spend as much time as possible at the summer cottage, I’m moving to the big city (Helsinki, that is) for the summer to work on my poetry book. No distractions and a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered. That means I’ll be taking a long break from bookbinding in a mere few week’s time. Sorry! I hope you’ll stick around to see what I come up with come autumn.

My plan is to create small collages or paper art pieces every now and then, created from a small boxful of supplies I’ll drag with me to my summer home, so this blog won’t end up completely abandoned for the summer. But writing is going to be my priority until September, at least. This isn’t a goodbye post – just a friendly public service announcement well ahead of time. I have yet to decide whether to close down the shop for the summer or simply change processing times to 2-3 weeks and ship when I visit home. But if you want to play safe, stock up!

Coptic bound guestbook with blush pink linen and floral vintage lace - handmade by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

Among the unfinished project was this vintage lace guest book that had been waiting for me to put it together for a good while, but all it took was a gloomy snowy day in late April for me to take out the needles and finally sew it. This one’s pretty big (16,3x23cm / 6.4″x9.1″) and it has 48 pages of 150gsm paper. Perfect wedding guest book material, I’d say. You can find it for sale here.

Coptic bound guestbook with blush pink linen and floral vintage lace - handmade by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

I hope the seasons are treating you better wherever you are. Here the spring has stalled, almost decided not to come at all. Yesterday it snowed a lot again and I had to take out my woolly hat from storage… I’m thankful for the daylight, but I’d prefer if it were not filtered by snow falling down.

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

stocking up on journals

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

My Easter plans of making myself a couple small handmade journals turned into me making myself six new journals. I had every intention of adding a couple of them to the shop, but in the end I couldn’t decide which ones to keep. So, I’m keeping them all! (I’ve actually got some for you, too, if you read all the way to the end… and I promise I’ll make some books using that beautiful shimmery gold linen – seen on two book spines above – really, really soon!)

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

When binding books for myself I get to use materials that don’t pass the quality requirements for the books I’m happy to sell my customers. That translates into endpapers made of fancy metallic paper that sheds shimmery bits everywhere and covers made of unevenly dyed linen or book cloth that ends up looking quite distressed within days of use. I don’t mind the imperfections – in fact they can be inspiring – so all kinds of bits and pieces ended up in these books! You wouldn’t believe how scrappy they are by looking at these photos…

Since one of my favourite things is picking out the perfect linen / book cloth / paper combinations, and another favourite thing is taking photos like this of the books I make, let’s all take a peek what happens between the covers of the six books:

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

The shimmer-shedding woodland notebook became my first pick for a new journal. By now it’s got plenty more pages filled with scribbles.

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

And, as promised, new notebooks for you, too! These aren’t actually new new, since I made them several months ago, but sort of kind of forgot to add them to the shop at the time… Oh well – they’re available now! They all have wonderful 90 gsm drawing paper with a slightly rough grain for pages, and the sewn boards binding structure means the covers are nice and flexible without being flimsy at all. Check out the Paperiaarre Etsy shop to see more photos and to pick your favourite!

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

a million hearts – an artists’ book

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

Sombre days that are still somehow lit from within are the perfect breeding ground for artists’ books like this.

Image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper. Black and white + black on black. The silk has its special sheen and the black blotter paper could hardly be any more matte. Each material responds to light differently, and each mark made is best viewed at a certain angle.

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

11×4,5cm / 11×25,8cm  /  4.3″x1.8″ / 4.3″x10.2″

one of a kind / not for sale

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

beware of yourself:
we have a million hearts, each
each most longingly sore

each beyond despair
with desire echoing all day long;

aroused by the utterly lost
I ask let me come closer, my love,
let us for a moment flicker faintly

whilst a darkness hangs against the night,
unflowering the almost death.

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

Typing on the indigo hemp paper a few weeks ago led me to discover just how much mark-making with a typewriter in a way that doesn’t result in text, or in text that isn’t legible with ease, intrigues me. Creating texture instead of meaning, or meaning that requires a bit more work from the reader than is usually considered appropriate, sits well with my general desire to make simple things a bit too complicated.

a million hearts - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 - image transfer on silk + typewriter on paper / www.paperiaarre.com

This year has brought me face to face with more personal mixed media projects than ever before. I’ve taken a step towards text as my main focus, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given that I’m also a poet. While I’m endlessly fascinated by the mysterious vintage photos I usually work with, words feel always more intimate to me. And so I find myself creating work just for myself, unique pieces for my personal collection, mementos of this time of change and self-exploration (and most longingly sore hearts – if not by the millions, then by handfuls, at least). Not the smartest move financially, but the heart wants what it wants. To balance things out I do have plans for pieces for sale, as well, so it won’t take forever before I add new mixed media work in the shop! I have new watch case necklaces all planned out, as well as a few small collage boxes. Have patience with me….

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