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….

diagonals - long stitch bullet journals by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

diagonals – long stitch bullet journals

diagonals - long stitch bullet journals by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

Helsinki ended up being just the thing I needed – a special artists’ book treat followed by solitude and new neighbourhoods to explore on my long walks. A change in scenery often helps us rearrange the self. And as a result I’m also in dire need of a new journal! The floral journal I made for myself has now been in use just over a month and there are under ten pages left for me to fill with my tiny-ant-handwriting (reserved for journals and anxiety-ridden teenage-letters). I think I’m going to stick with the same size and binding for the next journals, since one of the reasons this has filled up so quickly is the lack of excuses for carrying it with me everywhere I go. And given that I apparently go through a journal a month, I might as well make a few in one go. Easter plans: sorted.

For the rest of you, I already have some new books in stock. These are just a tiny bit skewed – on purpose, of course. These notebooks have 100 dotted grid pages each and a diagonal pattern long stitch binding. Even the slightest change in the expected can be a powerful design element.

diagonals - long stitch bullet journals by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

The endpapers in this trio vary from gold print to solid to printed handmade paper. My personal favourite is the combination of teal bookcloth and teal-striped golden brown handmade paper.

diagonals - long stitch bullet journals by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

Available for sale here.

diagonals - long stitch bullet journals by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

I should already be focusing on some fine binding projects, but no such luck. Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator. Perhaps that’s not entirely true, as my reason for putting off the fine bindings is the flurry of interest in other matters. It’s not like I’m not creating new work, it’s just stuff that is less dependent on deadlines. Soon I’ll cut into that luscious pink leather. Soon, I promise.

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.

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