a city, from memory - artists' book

There's something intriguing about maps and our tendency to map every possible thing. This month the #areyoubookenough artists' book challenge had the theme 'Mapped', which gave me the perfect opportunity to further delve into an idea I've had for almost ten years now. The starting point was that I wanted to draw a street map of a city based on my memory of those streets. And now I've got this artists' book called A City, from Memory. It has three parts housed in a latched case - a scroll of nine hand drawn maps and two kaleidoscopes.

a-city-from-memory-artists-book-kaija-rantakari-4.jpg
a-city-from-memory-artists-book-kaija-rantakari-5.jpg
a-city-from-memory-artists-book-kaija-rantakari-6.jpg

The city I chose for my memory maps is London. I've been to London over the past 11 years so many times I've actually lost count. It's a city I dearly love and where I feel at home, yet have currently absolutely no desire to live in. It's a city I love so much I've even made another artists' book about it before.

The maps were drawn using a variety of maps in London tourist guide books with some overlap: sometimes the same place was drawn several times, and the result was never the same. With the first of the nine maps I only drew the streets I remember having walked - everything else was left out, even when I knew I must have walked a certain route to get from point A to point B. If I don't remember the street, the street does not excist on my map. Later on I found my memories changed, or I remembered more streets, and added those streets to the map I was working on, but let the earlier maps stay as they were. I find this to be the very nature of remembering; memories come and go, and I like how the differences in my memory maps reflect the fickleness of my mind.

This method resulted in maps that in certain parts of the city were fairly complete, or at least look like they could be an accurate representation of a neighbourhood, but then there are lesser walked parts of the city were there's only a street here and there and they may not connect to one another at all because I have no recollection of the walk between.

a-city-from-memory-artists-book-kaija-rantakari-13.jpg
a-city-from-memory-artists-book-kaija-rantakari-16.jpg
a-city-from-memory-artists-book-kaija-rantakari-19.jpg

The kaleidoscopes worked their way into all this as I thought about the tools commonly used with maps, and how they relate to my approach to mapping out memories. I couldn't figure out a compass that would reflect how I remember, but a telescope turned into a kaleidoscope quite easily! A kaleidoscope shows mere fragments, multiplied.

One of the kaleidoscopes I built is a traditional one, the kind that has colourful bits that form a series of different patterns forever changing as you turn the kaleidoscope. These fleeting colourful fragments describe my visual memories of London quite fittingly. The other kaleidoscope lets you view your actual surroundings in a new way - it's just mirrors that leave the majority of the world outside your field of vision and turn a fragment of your reality into surreality, which is something I feel is also a part of the process of remembering a thing over and over again.

The memory can grow or transform with time as it bounces back and forth in your head, and you may even start to consciously question the reality of your memory. After all, it's not really the original experience we remember at any given time but the memory we have of remembering it the previous time we were reminiscing. How much of a memory is just hopeful thinking, our own decorations added on a remnant of a memory? And how much of our experiences we forget immediately after? How do we decide what we deem irrelevant right from the start?

a-city-from-memory-artists-book-kaija-rantakari-12.jpg

Some technical details of A City, from Memory: The largest of the nine maps measure 19x23cm / 7.5"x9.1". The case measures 13,5x24,5x5,3cm / 5.3"x9.6"x2.1". Materials: tracing film, handmade paper, gold metal leaf, cardboard, paper, acrylic mirror, acrylic, glass beads, book cloth, box latch.

You can find more photos on Instagram.

soft cover bullet journals

I have made books. Still miles away from feeling 100%, but I have made books. Sewn boards binding paired with dotted grid pages makes for some elegant and totally one of a kind bullet journals. If you're interested in giving one of these a home, or just like to see all the details, check them out in the Paperiaarre shop.

large-softcover-bullet-journal-1.jpg
large-softcover-bullet-journal-11.jpg

I like to make the dotted grid pattern pretty light compared to any of the commercially made dotted grid notebooks I've seen - just like the lines on a lined paper the dotted grid is supposed to act as a guide for whatever you put on the page, not take the center stage. This light gray dot grid lets your work stand out and doesn't distract you visually.

My very own bullet journal is still a work in progress. Lying in bed for almost a week doesn't help when you've got tons of ideas and things to do. I'm still hopeful I can finish my artists' book of the month in time, even though I'm very quickly running out of days - it only needs a case and then it's ready for photos. But as usual, I'm not going for the simplest solution...

maps in progress

My #areyoubookenough project is coming together slow and steady. A cold put a stop to my other bookbinding plans this week, but maybe that means I’ll have more to show next week if I manage to finish all that is currently on hold. Today I’m staying in bed watching bad TV and sketching whatever maps my artists’ book is still missing. Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been up to so far - the rest will have to wait until the end of the month (which is, like, almost tomorrow but not quite).

IMG_0459.JPG

Memories of a city and its maps + reflections. 

IMG_0460.JPG

Nordic Bookbinding 2018 exhibition

I can finally reveal a book I made was selected as one of the books that received an honorary mention in the Nordic Bookbinding 2018 exhibition! Yay!

Way back in 2017 I made this binding of Ontto harmaa by Olli-Pekka Tennilä. It's a sewn boards binding with typewritten linen covers and leather details. The inspiration for using binary code on the covers came from a repeating theme of ones and zeros in the poems. You can see and read more in this blog post I wrote just after I finished this binding.

designer-binding-ontto-harmaa-binary-linen-4.jpg
designer-binding-ontto-harmaa-binary-linen-11.jpg

The exhibition will tour the Nordic countries in 2018-2019 and it opened at the National Library of Finland a couple of weeks ago, along with an exhibition of beautiful old books from the library's collection. Last week I took my girlfriends to see the exhibition and took a bunch of photos to share with you guys.

nordicbookbinding2018-1.jpg

Photographing things inside display cases is always a pain, but I did my best. Today I'm sharing some of my favourites - still, it's always a better idea to go see the exhibition in person and see also the pieces I liked a lot, but couldn't get a decent photo of.

nordicbookbinding2018-3.jpg

Erik Haagensen, Norway

Erik Haagensen: VINDUER
Quarter bound case binding

nordicbookbinding2018-4.jpg

Gert Hansen, Denmark

Soeur Claire-Elisabeth, Bruno Rotival: RELIER. ART ET SPIRITUALITÉ
Full leather binding, open joint

nordicbookbinding2018-5.jpg
nordicbookbinding2018-6.jpg

Malene Lerager, Denmark

Malene Lerager: MODERMÆRKER
Cowork with writer Lene Harbo and goldsmith Janne Krooh Hansen
Full leather binding, closed joint, blind tooling and golden nugget

nordicbookbinding2018-7.jpg

Elina Lundahl, Finland

Elina Lundahl: LOPUTON VAIKEUS
Artist book

nordicbookbinding2018-9.jpg

Lone Gertz, Denmark

Wiik Hansen: WIIG HANSEN 25 TEGNINGER
Full leather binding, closed joint

nordicbookbinding2018-10.jpg

If you're in the vicinity, do make your way to the National Library cellar gallery! The Nordic Bookbinding 2018 exhibition will be on show until mid-May.

so many colours!

Apparently I'm still keeping things tiny! Or at least pocket-size!

mini-notebook-1.jpg
mini-notebook-6.jpg

This week I finished 18 tiny notebooks while watching the Oscars (fyi, Call Me by Your Name was my favourite film of the year). I didn't think I'd have bookcloth in 18 different colours, but somewhat surprisingly I do. And a bunch of browns, greys and pinks that come in even more shades than the ones I used, too. I don't buy large quantities of bookcloth, so I can have both variety and room to walk around in my home, but I was still slightly shocked what emerged as I started to unroll my stash of bookcloth...

mini-notebook-8.jpg
mini-notebook-12.jpg

This dark purple is one of my personal favourites (just got some more from Zelluloos), but I do like them all, especially when they're all together. Still, I'm glad when they soon start making their way to different corners of the world. If you want one, they're now in the shop just waiting for you to pick your favourite(s).

Next week I'll be hard at work with my poetry book, so instead of binding new books and sharing them here I'm going to show you a little peek of the Nordic Bookbinding 2018 exhibition currently on show at the National Library of Finland. It really is worth a visit if you're close by!