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.
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!
Everything Fades is a tiny scroll of barely visible typewritten text on handmade indigo sunn hemp paper housed in a vintage pocket watch case, housed in a metal leaf decorated wrapper tied with navy silk ribbon, housed in a slipcase that also features those barely visible lines that repeat on the scroll: “everything fades. so soon. not soon enough.” – The scroll actually has more text between those repeating lines, but let’s let those beautiful things fade away in peace.
This artists’ book is my entry for the #AreYouBookEnough Instagram bookbinding challenge. The challenge has a changing monthly theme, and the March theme was ‘time’. This month the theme is ‘nature walk’, and the challenge is open to bookbinders of all levels – more details here. I have a busy, busy, busy month ahead of me, so I’ll probably have to skip the challenge this time. Do check out the hashtag to see what everyone else made for the March challenge, and there’ll soon be progress photos of the new work other people are creating around the April theme, too!
What I found interesting browsing through the books made for this theme ‘time’ was that there was so much blue and/or round books (also some wonderfully nerdy time travel books!). Perhaps it’s the blue of a night sky that reminds us of the things that are eternal from the human point of view, and while doing so reminds us of the brevity of our time on Earth. And there are no corners in time, no place to stay put just for a moment before moving on with your life. The hands of a watch go round and round, and even when we do something like turn the clocks for daylight savings, it’s just a minor hiccup – the watch hands never stray from their track. And of course, time keeps passing, no matter what happens to the fragile instruments we use to tell time. Repeatedly I find myself thinking of a human life as an arc of a circle, or a spiral, so large we can never find ourselves where we began. What else could it be?
If you want to take a closer look at the night sky blue and the repeating round shapes of my artists’ book: more photos and details below.
Just listed in the shop: a dozen new bullet journals in a dozen colours and three different long stitch style variations. I only made one in each colour, and you know the drill: once a colour has sold out, it’s gone & the next lot of bullet journals will be something different. Another reason for you to rush off to shop is that I’m leaving town for a week come Monday morning, so, any orders placed after Sunday morning won’t be heading out until April 11th. My birthday present to myself is a week in Helsinki: museums, libraries, poetry, artists’ books, long walks, and tons of photos. While I visit Helsinki fairly often, I never stay long enough to visit more than a handful of places, and I always end up running out of time or energy. This trip should solve both problems and get me out of the home town rut I’m in. I’ll probably flood my Instagram feed & stories with photos of Helsinki, so do follow along if you’re interested. For those fully uninterested in stuff that’s not books: I will be posting artists’ book stuff next week as well! I have finished my #areyoubookenough bookbinding challenge piece in time, and you can see it very soon on Instagram, and there’ll be a post here on Monday as well.
Back to the bullet journals after the tourism side step: like I said, I switched things up a bit and did three different variations of the long stitch binding. The loopy chain stitch kind on the yellow and orange journals I hadn’t done in a decade but I do like it a lot.
Dotted grid pages, as always – the best kind of pages for bullet journaling:
My personal bullet journal is a life saver this week: fighting a cold most of last week left me horribly behind schedule on many things, and going away for a week on Monday doesn’t help either. So, I’m cramming in long work days this week, writing mega long to-do lists, and giving myself a pat on the back every time I finish a task. V has seen me only in passing this week since I’ve been holed up in the studio so much. One evening he stopped by (yeah, we both work at home, but my studio is at the the opposite end of every other relevant part of our home, so he needs to purposefully come and greet me), sniffed my hair and told me I smelled like home (can I get an awwwww here?). The sweet smell of home was quickly narrowed down as I had just finished sanding a stack of book board. Your homes may smell like cinnamon or lavender, but at our place, we prefer friction and dust…
Today I’m going to finish off with a quick recommendation for pretty much everyone who likes to listen to stuff as they work: the brand new (and brilliant!) S-town podcast kept me company while I glued the covers for this lot – nearly seven hours of amazing storytelling that was so good I got pretty distracted at times and forgot to keep that glue brush going. Which obviously isn’t that great when you desperately need to get work done, but I’m telling you – it’s worth it!