Thursday, 21 August 2014

My London Favourites

I simply love London, though I can't say London was perfect this time around as over half of the trip was spent in the throes of an infuriating cold. We made do and focused on the essentials within the limits of daily energy levels, which meant short trips to our favourite museums and places, very little pottering about and very little of feelin'-oh-so-amazing-now-that-I'm-finally-here-again. Regardless of feeling rather bummed out, we did go to some really lovely places I'd like to share with you. So, here's a list of my London favourites in no specific order:

Signs and Wonders, installation by Edmund de Waal, in a gorgeous grey room
V&A - Always amazing. Such a vast collection of so many different things you always find something you've never seen before and even the things you've seen are endlessly fascinating. I spent a lovely morning at the 6th floor ceramics collection with C (who sent a link to a video of the above installation by Edmund de Waal when I asked for London recommendations here in my blog earlier, and I had just happened to have read de Waal's book about his netsuke collection, and I happen to have a habit of greeting netsukes whenever I visit a museum that has them and V&A happens to have plenty) while my V explored the ground floor sculptures and Asian collections.

The Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

Greenwich - all of it: the park, the architecture, the museums, the market. The Painted Hall is quite breath-taking and it alone is worth the short trip from the city center (I recommend taking a river boat even if it makes your knees wobble once your back on dry land but the scenery from a DLR train isn't boring either).

Old Spitalfields Market - Thursday's Antique Market
Old Spitalfields Market -  especially on Thursdays when there's an antique market. This is the one place I must get to visit when in London. Everything from furniture to clothes to dishes to taxidermy to old photos and bits and bobs. Some things have crazy prices (but then again worth vs. value, so who am I to say what's crazy), but there's always affordable treasures to be found. This time I was looking for materials for my assemblages and was rewarded with some amazing pieces. V found a beautiful African brass statue from 1930's that's now guarding our bookshelf while it still has room for items other than books. I also got a free elephant that's smaller than the tip of my pinkie.

Casa Tomada, by Rafael Gómezbarros

Saatchi Gallery - It's free and it has a new high quality exhibition every time I get to visit. I really, really like free things, especially free museums and galleries since traveling in itself is far from being free. (Also worth noting: most exhibitions that aren't free seem to have a discounted price for students even if it's not on the ticket price list, and no one cared we didn't have official international student cards.) My Saatchi visit this time was a slightly feverish and weird one but I did love the giant ants with tree branches for legs.

Study of Mme Gautreau, by John Singer Sargent, c.1884

Tate Britain - I've maybe grown a bit tired with the permanent exhibitions at Tate Modern but Tate Britain was a pleasant surprise. They've spruced things up a bit since our last visit and I was having a not-so-ill-anymore day, which made the experience something to savour. I love the pre-Raphaelites they've got and the Turner collection is an absolute gem (had to skip it this time, though).

Palm house, Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens - This was my first time at Kew Gardens and it really deserves a blog post of its own as well as a permanent spot on the list of places to see every possible occasion. Next week, me thinks. Also, Botanical gardens = heaven. I'll be more wordy later.

I hope you've enjoyed this brief listing of my favourites. Before the trip I was worried I'd end up with a mile-long list but the cold took care of narrowing it down. Bare essentials it is, then. If you find yourself in London, do yourself a favour and go see these things!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

This is my garden. These are my trees.

This is my garden.
These are my trees.

mixed media assemblage - vintage photo, antique letter, antique envelope, antique book pages, vintage artificial silk thread, board, paper, glue
11,3x20,5x0,5cm  /  4.4"x8.1"x0.2"

Last blog post before I fly away for a while. So many wonderful things to look forward to in London! I promise I'll take photos and share my favourite things when I get back.

There's something about this assemblage that feels very British to me. According to my best knowledge the people (and the dog) in this photo are British, but this is more about feeling than it is about knowing. The Brits tend to have excellent children's books, so maybe this photo reminds me of those stories I read as a child. Maybe the dog reminds me of the crazy Peter Pan human-dog, I don't know. I ought to be in bed instead of here blogging - travel day tomorrow! Listing this piece has to wait until I get back home or things will go totally incomprehensible, but I still wanted to share this one more assemblage before my break. The guest books featured in my previous blog post are now listed in my shop with two other Coptic bound journals, and the shop remains open during my trip, though there's obviously a bit of a delay in shipping.

Good night (or morning), you all! I'll see you in two weeks!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Golden guest books

19,4x21,2x1,7cm  /  7.6"x8.3"x0.7"

The purple linen guest book has 48 and the white one has 40 pages of extra white fine grain 120gsm drawing paper sewn with waxed linen thread. Hand gilt front covers and the white book also has a thin gold line at the bottom of inner back cover. 

I'll be adding these among a few others to my shop later in the weekend. Tonight I need to escape to the movies because our neighbourhood has been taken over by a excruciatingly loud evening rally race. The race cars aren't even the worst part, it's the helicopters circling above (or the poorly behaving audience; having a hard time deciding which).

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


mixed media assemblage - vintage photo, lokta paper, self-made paper, vintage grid paper, gold leaf, linen and silk threads, board, glue

12,1x14,1x1,2cm  /  4.8"x5.6"x0.5"

I wish I, too, could go boating looking all amazing and wearing a massive but gorgeous hat. There are some problems though: 1) I can't swim and bodies larger than a stream generally freak me out a bit (nowadays plenty of things have that effect), 2) it's too hot to look all amazing (I know it's probably hotter where you are, but I'm still going to complain), 3) my normal-looking head is secretly too big for the hats available (except for the one I have that belonged to my grandmother, but that's for cooler weather and much too big even for me in a non-massive way).

I'll be on my way to London next Tuesday, but I promise you to update the shop with new books before that. My break from bookbinding wasn't luckily as long as I expected and I have a feeling returning to making books doesn't mean I won't be making mixed media pieces. A little bit of everything.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Very blue - Päijänne

An unexpected break from my newly established frequent blogging routine occured when I jumped in the car with my parents after they visited me so I could pay them an unplanned visit in return of their well-planned one, and my absence from the online world got prolonged a bit. My father took us home via a scenic route along the Lake Päijänne and we got to enjoy perfect Finnish summer scenery from the comfort of an airconditioned car (the heatwave is simply dreadful; I'm not built for temperatures exceeding +23C, let alone +30). I'm not great at taking landscape photos from a moving vehicle, so I didn't even bother trying and I can only share these photos I took when we stopped to stretch our legs a bit. Lovely, isn't it?

My parents brought us extra shelves for our bookshelf. I managed to fit in 8,8 meters of them and immediately filled well over 7m of them with books and movies that were previously double-shelved, stacked and/or in hiding. I have a feeling we'll have trouble making it into 2015 without running out of space, again. Our trip to London doesn't help as we tend to return from there with masses of books every time.

I'll get back to sharing my assemblages in a day or two. Meanwhile you might enjoy the photos my mother took of the crafty part of Jyväskylä while visiting me.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Though he was sorry, he was not angry

mixed media assemblage - vintage photo, vintage watch crystal, antique book pages, antique album pages, millimeter vellum paper, bookcloth, magnet, board, paper, glue
size closed 8,4x11x1,7cm  /  3.3"x4.3"x0.7"
size open 16,9x11x1,1cm  /  6.7"x4.3"x0.4"
for sale here

I just listed this one on Etsy and went too deep in thought when I tried to find words to describe the feeling this line evokes. The words weren't quite found, and I now feel almost exhausted by, I don't know what, maybe empathy, and I'm not really up to blogging anymore.

Things are good here, regardless my weird emotional weariness that'll soon pass. A trip to London looms in near future, and it's impossible to brood when I know I'll soon get to visit the lovely antique market in Spitalfields. So, once again, if you have suggestions of things to see or do in London, please share in the comments section. I look forward to seeing the London still unfamiliar to me. I ought to write a post about my favourite places/things in London some time soon.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Yet you persist with anecdotal bliss

Yet you persist with anecdotal bliss (Prince Lynar and Aimée)

mixed media assemblage - antique photo, vintage book text, self-made paper, handmade papers, linen threads, antique photo album page, board, gesso, glue

20,3x15,2x1cm  /  8"x6"x0.4"

Persisting with anecdotal bliss sounds pretty amazing, as does persisting with any type of bliss, actually. Usually I have no idea who the people in my vintage photos are, but this photo was in an album with the names Prince Lynar and Aimée written above the photo. I wanted to include that piece of information so it's now a part of the backside of this box.

These mixed media pieces come so easily I'm almost worried I'm doing something wrong. It's important to me to not overdo things and accidentally coat my assemblages with junk (and it's not because I don't have assemblage-y junk at hand, I do, trust me) just because that's the type of assemblage art I'm used to seeing. I try to live by the rule less is more, even if just through my art... 

The fact that there's not an awful lot of stuff in my boxes sort of leads to the issue of pricing (not that I think materials are what you're paying for when you pay for art). I'm used to pricing books, not really art, and I feel I may be undercutting with my current prices. Browsing Etsy's assemblage/collage art tells very little about what's reasonable, so any input is much appreciated. I'd like to keep my art creations affordable, but I may still need to up the prices a bit. For now things are as they are, so if you've fallen in love with an assemblage or two, now is a very good time to go and buy it.