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!