artists book

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….

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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Everything Fades - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 / www.paperiaarre.com

everything fades – an artists’ book

Everything Fades - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 / www.paperiaarre.com
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?

Everything Fades - an artists' book by Kaija Rantakari, 2017 / www.paperiaarre.com

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.

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