#ALONETOGETHER

I rarely write posts about things I didn't make. But when I do, it's about things that are just too meaningful not to write about. #ALONETOGETHER by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner is definitely one of those things.

#ALONETOGETHER by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. 2017
#ALONETOGETHER by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. 2017

Starting April 12th, 2017, Shia LaBeouf, Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner spend a month in three separate remote cabins somewhere in Finnish Lapland. Their only connection to the outside world is through a video connection to a cabin inside the Kiasma museum of contemporary art in Helsinki. In the cabin there are three screens with live video feed from each artist, and while the artists can see and hear what happens in the cabin in Kiasma, they can only communicate through text without seeing what the other artists are typing. Even if you're not able to visit the museum, you can follow along as there's a live video of the outside of the cabin and of the written communication by the artists on Kiasma's website (the museum is closed today, so check again tomorrow). And there's also a sweet Twitter community pitching in.

Sounds like a crazy chatroom, right? Yeah, it's a bit of a crazy chatroom, too, at times. But #ALONETOGETHER is also weaving a web of genuine and meaningful connections. There's a squad of regulars visiting the Kiasma cabin daily, there have been at least a couple of first dates in the cabin, there's been lots of contact info exchanged - there have been brief hellos, intense arguments, long talks about politics, deeply personal conversations, general silliness, choosing the perfect boxer entrance songs (I chose mine without thinking too much - it's Phenomena by Yeah Yeah Yeahs), reading aloud poetry (mine, too), relaxing group hypnosis, and lots of four-minute life stories and eye-to-eye staring.

#ALONETOGETHER by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. 2017
#ALONETOGETHER by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. 2017

So, yeah, I spent a quite a lot of time (10+ hours of my life extremely well spent) in that tiny hot cabin rebreathing the breath of others during my brief visits to Helsinki these past few weeks. I'm generally not one to easily connect with people and I always worry about misreading situations. The line between brief small talk and revealing yourself in all your damaged glory is a tough one to navigate. #ALONETOGETHER is about connecting. There's no ambiguity about whether or not it's appropriate to be present and vulnerable if you so choose.

The atmosphere and the dynamics inside the cabin change as the visitors inside come and go. Not once was there even a hint of hate speech when I was there, and the cabin was nothing but welcoming to me. Most of the squad of regulars is formed by teenage girls - some probably there because of Shia LaBeouf's acting career, others for other reasons. But their reasons to be there are irrelevant. Their presence and what they bring to the room is relevant. I haven't spent this much time with teenage girls since I was one, and it was a pretty cool experience at the age of 33. The girls were both adorable and super smart, and I have no doubt they will turn into amazing grown-ups. I have a feeling during the days they spend in the cabin they overhear so many life stories and learn about important life lessons this might be a huge deal for them. Their minds like sponges. And mine too. I know this experience was something pretty significant one to me now (and it was heaps of fun, too). I can only imagine how earth-shattering it would've been to me to be welcomed as a part of something like this at the age of 15.

Shia, Nastja, and Luke are three very different personas. It made the #ALONETOGETHER experience all the more interesting. At one point Luke named the cabin the Finding Yourself Cabin. To me that feels pretty accurate: lots of finding oneself seemed to be taking place there. Many people came in to reflect on major (and minor) life events - past, present, or future - and often ended up gaining a new perspective or two by the end of their cabin visit. Having three artists with three distinct approaches and a changing crew of museum visitors in the Kiasma cabin means someone is bound to bring up an aspect you hadn't considered before. Don't get me wrong, the cabin isn't a therapy cabin - it's whatever you make it. But you'll get the most out of it if you let yourself be open to having whatever conversation that may arise.

I admire how the artist trio manages to continuously challenge new people to be present, to take part, to maybe share something quite personal, to see themselves and the world in a slightly new light. There's a certain magic in feeling connected. And this piece wouldn't be as powerful as it is if it weren't for the visitors willing to take that leap and say hello to the camera.

#ALONETOGETHER by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. 2017
#ALONETOGETHER by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner. 2017

Until Friday the 12th of May you too can visit the cabin in Kiasma or follow the live web stream. I highly recommend both. It can even change your life, at least a bit. If you do go to the cabin, please say a huge hello from Kaija and play the song Just Dancing by Sylvan Esso on your phone. I'm sure Shia at least will appreciate it.

The images in this post are from screenshots of the live stream. See how skillfully I've blurred people's faces? I didn't take a single selfie inside the cabin. I know I was there and that's enough. And the other photos I have of the things that went on in the cabin are just for me. But if you want a peek of the cabin and myself, take a look at this story. I was visiting the cabin with V and got ambushed by a journalist.

RikArt artists' book collection

Erkki Mäkiö - Kirjakerä, keräkirja, 2012  

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

 

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.

Michele Takala - Kirjasiipi, 2007

 

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 Wallin - Uni kaukoputkesta ja hevosesta, 2004

 

Alexander Reichstein - The Boring Book: No 1, 2006

 

Alexander Reichstein - The Boring Book: No 1, 2006

 

Marianne Laimer - Inside my head, 2013 / Adam Broomberg, Oliver Chanarin - Holy Bible, 2013 / Yoko Ono - The Other Rooms, 2010

 

Raphaël Decoster - Avant d’être découp, 2011

 

Raphaël Decoster - Avant d’être découp, 2011

 

Raphaël Decoster - Avant d’être découp, 2011

origami star ornaments

origami star ornaments by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com One of my favourite things about the holiday season is that I get to fold tons of origami stars. It's absolutely addictive - even my dear V wants to help make them!

origami star ornaments by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

Even if you don't plan to have a Christmas tree, you can get all Christmassy by hanging some origami star ornaments on an ilex branch.

origami star ornaments by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

This year I added a new origami star ornament design to the Paperiaarre shop. These 8-pointed stars also come in packs of three - either with or without text. The ones without have page numbers or other minimal markings. For some reason I'm partial to the ones with page numbers.

origami star ornaments by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

See how nice they look in their vellum paper packages! They also happen to fit into any envelope, so why not surprise a faraway friend with a special holiday treat!

origami star ornaments by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

While on a roll, I also made some really big stars for a local holiday market. The regular sized version of this star is available in my shop. And just because I could, I also made some tiny stars (below).

origami star ornaments by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

Also just back in stock: large long stitch sketchbooks for mixed media. They are now slightly larger and have more pages (32!) than before, but they're still perfect for painting, drawing, collage, etc. The covers are made out of heavy weight watercolour paper, so you can treat the book as your blank canvas from cover to cover.

large long stitch sketchbook for mixed media by Kaija Rantakari / www.paperiaarre.com

Later this week I'll be adding to my shop some small landscape format sketchbooks with watercolour paper pages and book cloth covers. I'm forecasting a lovely Christmas for you artsy people!

quilt news

A quilt for a darling baby - www.paperiaarre.com I can't wait for one special girl to arrive in the world. She's almost here and I'm so happy she's coming. So I made her a quilt...

A quilt for a darling baby - www.paperiaarre.com

A quilt for a darling baby - www.paperiaarre.com

A quilt for a darling baby - www.paperiaarre.com

A quilt for a darling baby - www.paperiaarre.com

and some gauze muslin cloths...

Gauze muslin cloths for a darling baby - www.paperiaarre.com

Gauze muslin cloths for a darling baby - www.paperiaarre.com

Another friend crafting for this baby put it well: "Some babies are too rock for basic baby blankets". Somehow I know this baby is going to grow up awesome (like all my friends' babies, of course). The contrasting colours on this quilt should be fun for the baby even when she's still tiny, and I doubt the parents mind my colour choices either!

PS. In case you're interested, the fabrics I used on the quilt are mostly from the following collections (and bought with my own money - no paid ads here):

Black+White 2016 by various designers for Cotton+Steel

Cat Lady by Sarah Watts for Cotton+Steel

Just a Speck by Jen Kingwell Designs for Moda Fabrics

The panda and arrow gauze fabrics are by Kokka