always not remembering - an artists' book

Sometimes creating something new feels like fireworks going off in my brain. It had been months since I last did this kind of creative work - I’ve been writing so much, binding some fairly basic books, and that’s it. I wanted to make a new one of a kind artists’ book for the #areyoubookenough bookbinding community challenge that I have been missing so much in my months away from it. Energy levels have been low or directed to poetry and a part of my brain was beginning to feel utterly neglected. The challenge theme this month was ‘shadows’ , which I once again chose to interpret fairly freely. I’m currently translating poems where memory and remembering play a big role, and when I was brainstorming my book of the month, an old project of mine quickly came to mind. The line “I forget I am forgetting you” first came to being in a physical form in March 2017, but I never knew where exactly it was going and so the project ended up abandoned until now. And now everything about it feels just right.

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I’m a big fan of transparent elements in artists’ books (who would've guessed?) and I also enjoy book forms that look nothing like books. Vastness suddenly (2017) was my first cylindrical book and Always not remembering is a play on the same structure. In this book there is text on four see-through layers (the same line printed on both mica and silk organza, the first one being the more visible of the two, the latter almost like the shadow of the first one) as well as on the outer edge of the cylinder. I see the layers acting as the pages of this book and the cylinder as its covers, even though this object is obviously handled in a way that differs from that of a codex.

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I’m of the mind that a good artists’ book needs a container. Soon after I began making mine I realized mine will probably need yet another container for storage - the container took a quick turn for the more delicate when I started adding fragments of mica to it. It’s bordering inappropriate how much I love the way this piece turned out as a whole. The process of making it was so satisfying: I was basically winging it the whole time, never quite knowing what I was going to make next and how to make it work. Yet I ended up with this beautiful cylindrical book and it fits into its custom made container absolutely perfectly. The container is not only pretty, but it also has a very satisfying functionality and a magnetic closure. And I really, really love it when things work just right.

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Always not remembering - an artists’ book by Kaija Rantakari, 2019

paper, board, mica, silk organza, linen, ink, magnets

mere contusions of darkness

+

I forget I am forgetting you

book 5,4cmx3,1cm / 2.1”x1.2”
container 6,1cmx3,8cm / 2.4”x1.5”

I’m posting a video and some more photos to my Paperiaarre Instagram account, so that’s where you should head next. If you’d like to see what everyone else has created for the #areyoubookenough challenge this month, take a look at Instagram posts tagged with #areyoubookenough_shadows (or just click that link…)

vessels for recording a life

Sometimes it takes me a year to fill a journal, sometimes a month. My month in Split, Croatia, made my handwriting tinier and tinier and still made my last journal spill over a bit. Split stole my heart, expanded my lungs, and surrounded me with new a new kind of poetry.

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I already know this is a place I will return to, time and time again. Sometimes you simply feel at home. And sometimes you feel like you’ve found paradise. When the two coincide, it’s not half bad.

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I recorded my life from 9.3.2017 to 13.6.2019 on the pages of these books, with a varying intensity. The greater the urgency, the smaller the letters & more words, I guess. I had fooled myself to think there was still one more blank book waiting for me, but no, no more blank pages were to be found in my signature size and style, so I had to direct a different kind of urgency to binding myself a new stack of journals. Last night I glued the final endpaper and today I can start putting down words I had to hold back.

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If you’d like to have something similar, there’s still some notebooks with bunny endpapers available in my shop! If you’re into bigger blank pages, there’s a couple of larger ones, too! I also have a few new books in the works, so maybe soon I can share some gold+linen beauties with you. Still finding my bearings and balancing bookbinder life with inspired poet life, so do be patient with me my dears. I’ve missed you and I’m glad to say this quick hello after a long quiet period.

Hibernator binds books at last

So I fell off the grid for a while and didn’t even share photos for a few months. An extremely common side effect of depression that comes and goes, so let’s not dwell upon it. Spring is around the corner, and the added number of daylight hours, among other things, has lifted my spirits enough to have me back in the game and binding books. The winter months were reserved for poetry related duties and exultations, but maybe now I’m ready to weave in some paper explorations as well.

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I wanted to start with some very basic bookbinding project so as not to demand too much from myself right away, just do the meditative basic work, and do it well. And with pleasure. A pleasure it was.

The first books were small landscape format notebooks and they were quickly followed by larger books twice their size. You can now find both types in the Paperiaarre shop.

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What next? Not sure at all. Maybe you have a suggestion or two?

joy + joy + some more

Sometimes life simply refuses to go as expected. This week my book Koko meren laajuus won probably the biggest literature award a poetry book can win in this country (some awards are for novels only). The Kalevi Jäntti award has been handed out annually (since 1942!) to the best young authors - this year four authors were awarded and I’m so honoured to be in some amazingly talented company. I’ve never even dared to dream of achieving things like this even though I take writing very seriously, but all of a sudden all that hard work has been noticed and awarded and it’ll take me a little while to wrap my head around it. For the time being I just focus on being happy and extremely grateful to everyone who has ever supported me (in everything I do).

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This week has been a week of wrapping things up in many ways. I finished the last books for the holiday season - most likely I’ll focus on mixed media and artists’ book project for the rest of the month. Today is the last day for North American customers to place their holiday orders, European customers have until the 13th, Finns until the 18th, so take a look at the Paperiaarre shop and see if you could give someone something made by hand with lots and lots of love. Something like a notebook with vintage bunnies, perhaps? I made another lot in new colours after the first ones were almost sold out in a day.

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Now I’m off to think new papery poetry things to do.

Love,
K

untitled - artists' book

Some last minute magic happened last night and I finished my #areyoubookenough project in time. The November theme was ‘Translation’ and this time the theme was something I wanted to take very literally since I work with text all the time as a poet. My poems are usually very long and fragmented, so I chose to work with the one new text I have that is neither, and is in a quite different style all in all. The poem is a love poem for a painted lady who shall remain unnamed - we have a significant age difference of some 100+ years, and she’s accustomed to a far more luxurious lifestyle than I, but we’ll try and make it work…

Translating this poem was a strange experience, especially since I can’t even say the Finnish version of the poem is finished - the text lives and is free to change at least until it finds its way into print. So, you only get to see the translation, as the original is still holding on to its right to turn into something entirely different. Not the way translations usually work, I know!

The book plays on a structure of joined accordions, and it’s housed in a modified vintage compact case.

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case: 6x9x0,9cm / 2.4”x3.5”x0.4”

book: 6,7x4,3cm / 2.6”x1.7”

You can view a video of this book here.