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#ALONETOGETHER by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. 2017


#ALONETOGETHER by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. 2017

I rarely write posts about things I didn’t make. But when I do, it’s about things that are just too meaningful not to write about. #ALONETOGETHER by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner is definitely one of those things.

Starting April 12th, 2017, Shia LaBeouf, Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner spend a month in three separate remote cabins somewhere in Finnish Lapland. Their only connection to the outside world is through a video connection to a cabin inside the Kiasma museum of contemporary art in Helsinki. In the cabin there are three screens with live video feed from each artist, and while the artists can see and hear what happens in the cabin in Kiasma, they can only communicate through text without seeing what the other artists are typing. Even if you’re not able to visit the museum, you can follow along as there’s a live video of the outside of the cabin and of the written communication by the artists on Kiasma’s website (the museum is closed today, so check again tomorrow). And there’s also a sweet Twitter community pitching in.

Sounds like a crazy chatroom, right? Yeah, it’s a bit of a crazy chatroom, too, at times. But #ALONETOGETHER is also weaving a web of genuine and meaningful connections. There’s a squad of regulars visiting the Kiasma cabin daily, there have been at least a couple of first dates in the cabin, there’s been lots of contact info exchanged – there have been brief hellos, intense arguments, long talks about politics, deeply personal conversations, general silliness, choosing the perfect boxer entrance songs (I chose mine without thinking too much – it’s Phenomena by Yeah Yeah Yeahs), reading aloud poetry (mine, too), relaxing group hypnosis, and lots of four-minute life stories and eye-to-eye staring.

#ALONETOGETHER by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. 2017

So, yeah, I spent a quite a lot of time (10+ hours of my life extremely well spent) in that tiny hot cabin rebreathing the breath of others during my brief visits to Helsinki these past few weeks. I’m generally not one to easily connect with people and I always worry about misreading situations. The line between brief small talk and revealing yourself in all your damaged glory is a tough one to navigate. #ALONETOGETHER is about connecting. There’s no ambiguity about whether or not it’s appropriate to be present and vulnerable if you so choose.

The atmosphere and the dynamics inside the cabin change as the visitors inside come and go. Not once was there even a hint of hate speech when I was there, and the cabin was nothing but welcoming to me. Most of the squad of regulars is formed by teenage girls – some probably there because of Shia LaBeouf’s acting career, others for other reasons. But their reasons to be there are irrelevant. Their presence and what they bring to the room is relevant. I haven’t spent this much time with teenage girls since I was one, and it was a pretty cool experience at the age of 33. The girls were both adorable and super smart, and I have no doubt they will turn into amazing grown-ups. I have a feeling during the days they spend in the cabin they overhear so many life stories and learn about important life lessons this might be a huge deal for them. Their minds like sponges. And mine too. I know this experience was something pretty significant one to me now (and it was heaps of fun, too). I can only imagine how earth-shattering it would’ve been to me to be welcomed as a part of something like this at the age of 15.

Shia, Nastja, and Luke are three very different personas. It made the #ALONETOGETHER experience all the more interesting. At one point Luke named the cabin the Finding Yourself Cabin. To me that feels pretty accurate: lots of finding oneself seemed to be taking place there. Many people came in to reflect on major (and minor) life events – past, present, or future – and often ended up gaining a new perspective or two by the end of their cabin visit. Having three artists with three distinct approaches and a changing crew of museum visitors in the Kiasma cabin means someone is bound to bring up an aspect you hadn’t considered before. Don’t get me wrong, the cabin isn’t a therapy cabin – it’s whatever you make it. But you’ll get the most out of it if you let yourself be open to having whatever conversation that may arise.

I admire how the artist trio manages to continuously challenge new people to be present, to take part, to maybe share something quite personal, to see themselves and the world in a slightly new light. There’s a certain magic in feeling connected. And this piece wouldn’t be as powerful as it is if it weren’t for the visitors willing to take that leap and say hello to the camera.

#ALONETOGETHER by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. 2017

Until Friday the 12th of May you too can visit the cabin in Kiasma or follow the live web stream. I highly recommend both. It can even change your life, at least a bit. If you do go to the cabin, please say a huge hello from Kaija and play the song Just Dancing by Sylvan Esso on your phone. I’m sure Shia at least will appreciate it.


The images in this post are from screenshots of the live stream. See how skillfully I’ve blurred people’s faces? I didn’t take a single selfie inside the cabin. I know I was there and that’s enough. And the other photos I have of the things that went on in the cabin are just for me. But if you want a peek of the cabin and myself, take a look at this story. I was visiting the cabin with V and got ambushed by a journalist.

Erkki Mäkiö - Kirjakerä, keräkirja, 2012

RikArt artists’ book collection

Erkki Mäkiö - Kirjakerä, keräkirja, 2012

Erkki Mäkiö – Kirjakerä, keräkirja, 2012 – click the links in captions to view details in the RikArt web gallery


Hello from Helsinki! Today I’m thrilled to share with you a peek into the RikArt Collection of over 400 artists’ books, housed in the Rikhardinkatu library since the collection was established in 2000. It takes me just a bit over three hours to travel to Helsinki, and I do visit the city every now and then, but for some inexplicable reason yesterday was the first time I visited the artists’ book collection. The first time I heard of its existence must have been around 2003, so this visit was long overdue.

Patricia Hansen-Wagner - Soliloquy on Paraphernalia, 2012

Patricia Hansen-Wagner – Soliloquy on Paraphernalia, 2012 – Leafing through this book gave me chills! Every little detail is just right and the paper is to die for.


There’s a changing exhibition of artists’ book on display – a surprisingly large number of them, I should add – but of course there are too many books in the collection to be all displayed at once. Luckily you can always browse the web gallery for hours no matter where you live and catch a glimpse of hundreds of amazing books.


Just seeing the collection on display would’ve made me giddy with excitement, but I also had the opportunity to pick the brains of the amazing woman behind the creation of this collection! Emmi Martin, now retired from her job at the library, was kind enough to chat with me about the collection and show me some special pieces not part of the current exhibition. It was such a privilege to hear things about the collection that no database could ever possibly record – her knowledge about the books is simply an awe-inspiring thing to encounter. I was so glad I hadn’t made any plans for the rest of the evening as my little interview turned into a three-hour meeting of like hearts, after which I just couldn’t stop smiling. In fact, I’m still smiling, typing this blog post from my sun-spotted bed (soooo comfy! my airbnb is awesome), thinking I might soon get up and head back over to the library to check out their artists’ book reference library and snap a few more photos. Now I leave you with these snapshots and small details I captured last night – I hope you enjoy!

Kristiina Wallin - Uni kaukoputkesta ja hevosesta, 2004

Kristiina Wallin – Uni kaukoputkesta ja hevosesta, 2004 – Kristiina was actually my Finnish/creative writing teacher back when I was a mere teen, and then we both went on to study bookbinding and become poets! This filing card artists’ book is just one of her three beautiful pieces in the RikArt collection. See the rest here.


all day instagram office hours on Feb 9th 2017 @paperiaarre

instagram office hours today + feedback opportunity

all day instagram office hours on Feb 9th 2017 @paperiaarre

I get tons of questions on weekly basis about my work, bookbinding in general, and about a wide variety of bookbinding problems. I don’t always have the time to answer all questions, at least not as thoroughly as I’d like, so I’ve decided to have these Instagram Office Hours every now and then. This way the questions and answers are helpful to a wider audience than the private correspondences. The last office hour session was a success, and today I’m once again answering (or trying to answer) your questions all day long. And since the vast majority of you live on a different time zone from me, I’m making all day last long as long as possible – I’m answering all questions asked before I wake up tomorrow morning. So, no, I won’t be answering all questions real time, but I’ll probably check Instagram obsessively for most of the day, and finish the rest tomorrow. Your questions may have already been answered, so I’d appreciate it if you checked out these two posts where I address some common issues: 7 tips for more professional looking handmade books  and Tips and resources for beginner bookbinders.

I’m also offering two lucky bookbinders (beginner/intermediate level) the opportunity get some one-on-one feedback and tutoring on Instagram. So if you want me to look at your book photos and give you personalised, actionable feedback based on your work, follow me on Instagram and stay tuned! More info about how to apply on Instagram on Monday!

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