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).


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.


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



Wow-just-wow. My mood lately, that is. Letting things sink in. The book fair went really well, but of course it’s a bit exhausting to wander in the record-breaking crowds and to be on stage with a million other things competing for the audience’s attention. Before I get deeper into my personal wow stuff, I want to share with you my latest artists’ book I made for the #areyoubookenough bookbinding community challenge.

The October theme for the challenge was ‘Found’ and for some reason I struggled against using just some random found stuff (of which I have more than plenty of even in my own home, so it wasn’t because of any lack of material). In the end I narrowed down my approach by thinking more about items that are lost rather than found. Everyday objects constantly not where you expect them to be. Items that have actually become worthless with time and wear. My father passed onto me a tin filled with random old things put into safe keeping most likely by his parents or grandparents - a few pairs of rusty scissors, keys, buttons, nails, pins, razor blades, and the like. Absolutely worthless and useless stuff for most people these days, but I’m not most people. So, I turned my lost&found&forgotten&found items into a triptych.

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Typewritten title on the case. To me the enclosure of an artists’ book is just as important as the book itself - I want them to really go together. Since my triptych items are small domestic items, I drew inspiration for the case from matchboxes and created a very simple sliding case for my book.

These ornate scissors have long ago been replaced by better ones, but saved just in case, maybe because you just don’t throw away stuff like this. The buttons were saved despite their massive wear and tear. The keys were saved and now no one knows what they once opened - the lock permanently lost in time. All these easily lost items were most likely forgotten as soon as they were stuffed for safe keeping into the tin where I found them. The tin was forgotten. The tin was found. Time had unexpectedly turned these items into something worth something, once again. It’s my turn to keep them safe and celebrate everyday items.

Back to the wow-just-wow: I won the book award I mentioned in my last post! My poetry book Koko meren laajuus was awarded for being the best second book by an author, and I got this beautiful wood and metal award that weighs a ton and is just waiting to be featured as a murder weapon in a novel! I’ve gotten so used to being in the margin as a poet that the win was an absolutely unexpected one for me - the award’s been handed out five times now, and my book was the first book of poetry to win, which makes me even more delighted over the jury’s decision. I’ve been beaming with happiness and will continue to do so for a while longer…

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Photo by  Jasper Kaarna

Photo by Jasper Kaarna

My book has been received so, so wonderfully, I can’t really believe it. It was a risk to write poetry about the sea and love/sex/intimacy/whatever, since those themes have been written about time and time again. I’m glad I dared to do it. I’m glad my readers have found my poetry fresh yet timeless. I actually see a clear connection between my aesthetics in writing and bookbinding. Things seemingly simple have surprising layers and a massive professional dedication behind them. I’m glad I dare to do me in all I do.

these waves - mixed media collage

Last week I made the first mixed media work of 2018. It's nice to be back in the world of old scraps that can be turned into something entirely different.


I'll wear these waves like a silken dress
And you lean your eyes on me

While the sky
           Softly hesitates


The box measures approximately 14x13x1 cm / 5.5"x5.1"x0.4" (open)

You can find this piece in the Paperiaarre shop.

mixed media monday - in the pale nights

in the pale nights - mixed media art by Kaija Rantakari / First off, a big thank you to everyone who took part in my Instagram office hours on Friday! Thanks for asking questions and thanks for stopping by to read my answers! You can check out what went on right here. I'll probably do another office hours day in a month or two, so don't be sad if you missed it this time.

in the pale nights - mixed media art by Kaija Rantakari /

Apart from that busy Friday, last week was a slightly less productive one in terms of getting things done, but c'est la vie - sometimes we need a sluggish week to gather our strength and get on with new projects. This Mixed Media Monday piece was one of the few things I managed to finish last week, but I'm very happy with the creative process of this piece. I often find it difficult to let things be very simple. Not that my mixed media work ever is a cornucopia of embellishments, but letting less be more is still a challenge. In the pale nights was a kind piece to create, a bit slow at times, but never taunting.

in the pale nights - mixed media art by Kaija Rantakari /

I've had these cut up bits of text arranged as these lines for a lot more than a year now. I feel the pale nights of summer somehow amplify all feeling. Sometimes up to the point where you feel so much you could burst, or where you could almost touch the clouds. Summer is an especially great time to be in love and/or to be creative. Here in the North it stays light all through the night during the midsummer weeks, and it's still not very dark even though we've now reached August. As someone who gets to set their alarm clock to whenever (or not set one at all), it's tempting to just enjoy the quiet of the night-time and never go to sleep. I'm always attracted to the ephemeral, and these pale nights are just that. They come every year, but they're so fleeting, and the opposite winter darkness is an entirely different beast.

in the pale nights - mixed media art by Kaija Rantakari /

(vintage photobooth photo, vintage book cover, cut up and rearranged vintage text, linen, silk thread, leather)

14,5x18,7cm / 5.7"x7.4"

in the pale nights - mixed media art by Kaija Rantakari /

Playing with the reverse side again. Dangling silks and recycled leather. The cover paper reveals new tones when the top layer of the paper is removed. I feel creative work has a lot to do with scraping off the top layers.