Monday, 15 September 2014

Kew Gardens

You thought I'd forgotten, didn't you? Well I didn't, I just had more urgent blog posts to write. Today I'm finally sharing some photos from our excursion to Kew Gardens. It's been a month since we got back from London, so it's nice to look at the photos again and feel a smidge of the magic I felt while there.

I love botanic gardens and I love large glasshouses. I was a bit disappointed to learn the largest one is closed for restoration until 2018, but I suspect I will go back to London after the Temperate House is reopened, too. And the other glasshouses at Kew did a great job wiping away my disappointment; the Palm House was really gorgeous, and so were the waterlilies. In general I was drawn to leafy green things instead of bright flowers on this visit - beautiful shapes, lights, shadows and reflections. (I had to add the word 'leafy', since there were a couple of green guys at the glasshouses that gave me quite a fright. I've got nothing against lizards - oh fine, I don't particularly like lizards, they have a creepy stare - I was simply not expecting to meet them here, and I began obsessing over the possibility of a lizard tickling my ankle and scaring me to death. And I knew very well they were much more scared of me than I was of them, but the thought just wouldn't leave my head...)

V enjoyed the Japanese landscape (I did, too, but I was very tired by the time we got that far) and the yarn graffiti was something I wanted to show my mother, who has shown particular interest on the subject herself. Kew Palace was more attractive from the outside than inside, still, worth a quick walk-through. I'm sure this botanic garden, like all, is best enjoyed without a cold, but even with one, it was a really lovely place to visit. It's massive and there's so much to see we barely scratched the surface. Must get to go back some day.

Friday, 12 September 2014

the mother of beauty

mixed media assemblage box  - vintage photo, cut up vintage text, mica, feathers, linen thread, paper, board, glue

21,4x14,5x5cm  /  8.4"x5.7"x2"

I feel like introverting a bit, sorry. Half-formed thoughts may never take form if I rush now. Nothing grandiose, fear not.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Noiselessly, like

mixed media assemblage - vintage photo, vintage book cover (with writing in pencil) and endpaper, cut up vintage text, mica, linen thread, paper, board, glue

19,8x25,9x0,9cm  /  7.8"x10.2"x0.4"

I feel like holding onto this one for a while, so, it won't be for sale, at least not right away. This one was a stubborn one to make, and I made several boxes before settling for this plain dark brown one that allowed the collage to stand out on its own. Often the simplest things end up having the impact I look for.

Monotonous glueing tasks for the past days, but I'm almost done with it now. Casing in books and covering boards are possibly my least favourite parts of the bookbinding process; maybe spreading glue on larger areas simply lacks a certain finesse I generally appreciate. I really look forward to getting back to assemblage making once I've finished the large lot of books I'm currently working on. Still many Coptic bound notebooks and guest books left to sew but luckily very few messy glueing jobs left. I feel like I'm buying time for my favourite creative jobs by braving through so many hours of endlessly glueing paper. Lots of fiddly, nice things await for me in the coming days.

Tonight I've thought about creating larger assemblages and other mixed media pieces, and perhaps putting together a small exhibition, too. Baby steps, still.

Friday, 29 August 2014

One more wave (coloured by many waves)

mixed media art box - vintage photo, vintage book pages and papers, ink, bookcloth, board, glue

size closed 6,3x6,5x2,1cm / 2.5"x2.6"x0.8
size open 6,3x13x1cm / 2.5"x5.1"x0.4"

This is actually some sort of a pair for the Swimmers piece I made earlier this year as they feature two halves of the same photo. Otherwise they have a fairly different mood, or at least to me they have. I'm quite drawn to old photos of the sea as well as to found poetry about the old sea. I can't even swim myself, and I've never spent much time by the sea (just lakes, and they're a completely different thing), so maybe the sea is just something so exotic and symbolic it tickles my imagination and creativity.

It's been raining so much it feels like I see everything through a foggy lense now. Very tired, muscles aching from all the bookmaking. Somehow I keep forgetting a lot but nothing specific.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Friends with big smiles and even bigger hats

 vintage photo, vintage ledger paper, pleated wax paper, recycled paper, linen thread, board, glue
6,5x7,6x1,5cm  /  2.6"x3"x0.6" 

This is a small collage box I made for C, who in return surprised me with a collection of tiny treasures she had collected from Thames:

The Meloids this tin used to hold would've probably done wonders for my rather mellow voice the following day, too. Luckily these bits and shards will delight me for a much longer time than any sweet. This is such a perfect collection I don't know if I'll ever be able to separate these things from each other; it's simply a very lovely pocket museum just as it is. (And indeed, what you see on the background is Liberty's fabric, not from a trip to London, though - it's just a simple cosy I made to keep my iPad safer in my handbag.) I've been yearning to go mudlarking myself but somehow my sensible travel shoes are never sensible enough for river mud and we don't have tides in Finland (or anything interesting to find even if we had), so it's yet to happen. I have a feeling it might be too addicting for me, though. Best steer clear from mudlarking, computer games and smoking.

Ever since we got back from London I've been craving scones, and I even baked a batch myself but it's not something I should turn into a habit. Why are unhealthy things always the most elegant ones? Ok, maybe scones aren't all that elegant, but to me they're an extremely rare treat. What is elegant is having your tea in the garden/woods like my great grandaunt Saima and her father, my great great grandfather, who most definitely looks like an artist:

For more +/- 100-year-old photos of Saima, other people and other places, do stop by at my other blog, Emil's album

This has been a very productive week, against all expectations. There's a huge lot of books in the works as I'm trying to prepare for the holiday season in time, for once, and there's also a handful of mixed media pieces waiting for blogging and listing on Etsy, so I can fairly safely promise a steady blog existence for the time being. It's probably foolish to be this proud about blogging regularly again but this is something I've really missed (and never realized I was missing until I got back to sharing my creations and thoughts with you). So, I promise I'll be here. It'd be great if you were, too, but no pressure, you know.

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!