sewn boards binding

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. The book Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

ontto harmaa – in the end it all worked out for the best

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

In the end it all worked out for the best. My wrists healed, I had a few days to spare creating an entirely new binding to enter in the Nordic bookbinding exhibition (one that was much more wrist friendly design-wise), and I find I like the end result more and more as each day passes.

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. The book Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

One of my starting points for designing a binding for Ontto harmaa by Olli-Pekka Tennilä (of which I bound another copy last year) was that I wanted to avoid using the colour grey. The name can be translated as “hollow grey”, and as I didn’t want the book design to illustrate what exact kind of shade of grey the book was talking about – it felt the definition should be left up in the air. But in the end I couldn’t find a more fitting colour linen for the covers (really, really loved the yellow leather I used the first time around, tho) and decided to go with the grey that simply looked the best out of all the options. I haven’t regretted the choice: the typewritten binary code looks perfect on it – just the right contrast, texture, variety.

The numbers 1 and 0 are a recurring element in Ontto harmaa, so the idea of using binary code in the design was the one that I built on right from the start. But since Ontto harmaa is a book full of warmth too, the use of a natural material with an organic feel on the covers balanced things off beautifully.

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. The book Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

One of my favourite parts of the sewn boards binding structure is the point where I get to pick the colour and material for lining the spine and the visible board edges. I usually use either paper or linen, but this time I went with this fantastic pink goat skin and I love it.

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. The book Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

Designer binding by Kaija Rantakari, 2017. A variation of the sewn boards binding with typewritten binary code linen covers and pink leather spine lining. Ontto harmaa is a Finnish poetry book by Olli-Pekka Tennilä.

Now the book is out of my hands. It will be touring the Nordic countries in 2018-2019 and it will be a while before I get to hold it again. It really is a lovely thing to hold. Light and somehow so very compact at the same time.

Finishing this project means the start of my bookbinding hiatus. For the most part of the summer my studio is four hours away and so are my supplies – I hope it will be enough to keep me focused on writing my poetry book. Despite being away from the studio, I will be posting some cut-up poetry pieces here (and tons of other stuff on Instagram) as well as some new posts with bookbinding tips and info about the next Instagram Office Hours session (sorry, thought I could squeeze one in before the end of May, but it’s going to take a while longer still!). So, don’t go anywhere even though my blog updates are more irregular than usual <3

xxx,

K

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

stocking up on journals

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

My Easter plans of making myself a couple small handmade journals turned into me making myself six new journals. I had every intention of adding a couple of them to the shop, but in the end I couldn’t decide which ones to keep. So, I’m keeping them all! (I’ve actually got some for you, too, if you read all the way to the end… and I promise I’ll make some books using that beautiful shimmery gold linen – seen on two book spines above – really, really soon!)

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

When binding books for myself I get to use materials that don’t pass the quality requirements for the books I’m happy to sell my customers. That translates into endpapers made of fancy metallic paper that sheds shimmery bits everywhere and covers made of unevenly dyed linen or book cloth that ends up looking quite distressed within days of use. I don’t mind the imperfections – in fact they can be inspiring – so all kinds of bits and pieces ended up in these books! You wouldn’t believe how scrappy they are by looking at these photos…

Since one of my favourite things is picking out the perfect linen / book cloth / paper combinations, and another favourite thing is taking photos like this of the books I make, let’s all take a peek what happens between the covers of the six books:

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

The shimmer-shedding woodland notebook became my first pick for a new journal. By now it’s got plenty more pages filled with scribbles.

small handmade notebooks by Kaija Rantakari - sewn boards binding with linen / book cloth covers - www.paperiaarre.com

And, as promised, new notebooks for you, too! These aren’t actually new new, since I made them several months ago, but sort of kind of forgot to add them to the shop at the time… Oh well – they’re available now! They all have wonderful 90 gsm drawing paper with a slightly rough grain for pages, and the sewn boards binding structure means the covers are nice and flexible without being flimsy at all. Check out the Paperiaarre Etsy shop to see more photos and to pick your favourite!

hidden flowers sewn boards notebook by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

hidden flowers notebook

hidden flowers sewn boards notebook by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

For the longest time I didn’t keep a journal. I used to write one religiously, but somehow it began to feel like a burden, and the pages so heavy with emotion I decided it best to let it all go. But this March, after some five years of not keeping any type of personal account of the goings on in my life, I found myself drawn back to it. I made myself a small journal that fits even in my smallest purse – quite plain and simple, but with a splash of colourful oversized floral patterns on the endpapers.

hidden flowers sewn boards notebook by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

The pages are 100% recycled paper: rough just the way I like it, and with imperfections that help me get over the imperfections of my handwriting that goes from tiny squiggly ants to messy reeds depending on my mood. The dark teal and sea-foam book cloth are a recent purchase, but I doubt I’ll use either on the books I sell as it seems the starch coat finish of the cloth is pretty prone to both staining and overall wear. I’ve used this journal for a bit under two weeks now and its finish is in pretty rough condition already. I don’t mind it in this case, but the quality isn’t up to par with what I like to offer in my shop, even though there are always people who enjoy the distressed look…

hidden flowers sewn boards notebook by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

Next up on my bookbinding to-do list are some small Coptic bound journals with leather spines, and some new bullet journals, too. On the mixed media front it appears there’s an odd body of work emerging – a bit moody and haunting. I’m curious to see what comes next…

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