hello and welcome!
My name is Kaija Rantakari, and my Paperiaarre blog showcases handmade books, different bookbinding techniques, mixed media art of many shapes, as well as my love for all things old and beautiful. I hope to inspire my fellow paper enthusiasts through my paper explorations.
Paperiaarre is about finding the things you feel are right for you. I make my art for individuals looking for treasures to fill their daily life, hence the name, which is Finnish for paper treasure. In my blog you will find updates about my new work, practical tips for the crafty people to use in your bookbinding projects, and totally useless but important snippets of beauty. I have a shop on Etsy where you can buy some of my treasures to improve the quality of your life.
I believe this time we’re living in is the time of uniqueness. By this I don’t necessarily mean everyone wants to stand out from the crowd, but that people have (hopefully) recognized their worth as their own person, as an original and special human being. I’m hoping to create one of a kind books, art and jewelry that support that feeling of self worth and uniqueness. Journalling, in any form you choose, is a practice that heals your soul, clarifies your personal goals and helps you achieve them. I think having a great book to work with can only help the process, don’t you?
As a master bookbinder I, obviously, know a lot about books. Out of all the different types of techniques and materials I’ve learned and tried along the years, I’ve chosen to use the ones I believe are the best. And by the best I mean the most practical, most durable, and most beautiful. From the very start of my career as a bookbinder I’ve considered a superb quality the most important feature of my work. Once you’ve tried a good handbound notebook, you’ll never want to go back to machine made bulk notebooks. It really is a pleasure to write or draw in a nice-looking book that works with you, not against you, by staying open when and where you want it to.
My second love, in addition to bookbinding, is mixed media art. I adore vintage photos and other old materials; I find it exhilirating to use them to make something entirely new and beautiful. I create collage boxes, tiny and slightly less tiny, as well as jewelry that is both approachable and affordable. These pieces of art are treasures for your home and your body – they have grasped a fleeting moment in time you can now recognize and cherish as your own.
In the future I hope to find new ways to combine my bookbinding skills with vintage materials and mixed media techniques, and create artists’ books that touch your soul and mine.
I fell in love with bookbinding because it combines artistic and practical qualities in a most enjoyable way. I have made things by hand longer than I can remember. One of my earliest crafty memories includes a pair of scissors and a very unfortunate woollen jumpsuit. I have an inherited affection to both books and to creating things from scratch, by hand, with obsessive focus on details. A part of me is more an engineer than an artist, and bookbinding feels to me like building art. It’s a puzzle that fits together perfectly only if you know what you’re making right from the start.
I enjoy making books for other creative people, because it gives me a chance to imagine what great things are written, drawn, imprinted onto the pages of these simple little books I make. I like to think of my books as vessels of potential which are made to be aligned with your creative potential.
I live in Jyväskylä, a small city in Finland, with my poet husband V, who bears my endless requests for his opinion about color schemes and layout options he just can’t visualize, but always says something relatively supportive anyway. I, too, am a published poet (unfortunately in Finnish only, for the time being). You can buy or download my book Mikado (Poesia, 2015) here.
I’ve got Aspergers, which isn’t all that bad as it’s one of the things that, in hindsight, led me to become a bookbinder. Making books doesn’t require amazing social skills, it’s a solitary job and it allows me to focus on the tiniest details. I don’t have any Rainman skills, I’m just a perfectionist who likes folding paper, textures, collections, vintage finds and odd scientific details.
- master bookbinder, Tyrvää School of Art and Design, 2006
- apprentice bookbinder, Tyrvää School of Art and Design, 2005
- my full leather fine bindings have won, come second, and received honorary mentions in Finnish bookbinding competitions. Additionally I’ve taken part in international competitions like the Elizabeth Soutar Bookbinding Competition where my books were exhibited in the National Library of Scotland.
Kaija Rantakari is a Finnish bookbinder, mixed media artist and poet. She is an explorer of paper and on paper. Her Paperiaarre brand focuses on impeccably crafted handmade books and mixed media pieces that are worthy of the title paper treasure.
print & feature
- My poetry book Mikado, in Finnish (Poesia, 2015)
- Cloth Paper Scissors Jan/Feb 2015
- Little Book of Book Making by Charlotte Rivers (Potter Craft, 2014)
- Making Mini Books by Kathleen McCafferty (Lark Crafts, 2012)
- bugs and fishes 11/2014
- missouri bend studio 6/2012
- happy hang around 12/2010
- missouri bend studio 12/2010
- oktak 9/2010 (part Japanese, part English)
- paperiaarre etsy featured seller 8/2008
Now that you’ve made it this far, I’d like to share a few blog post that I think you might enjoy:
Some of my all time favourite Paperiaarre books
- These two big journals with collaged labels
- This notebook I made out of a ruined heirloom tablecloth
- My fine binding of Yann Andréa Steiner by Marguerite Duras
Some of my all time favourite Paperiaarre mixed media pieces
And finally some Paperiaarre tutorials for you to try!