Saturday, 13 February 2016

accumulator seriali - part 4

This week everything has been a bit stuck in one way or another. Some passive aggressive glueing took place earlier on the week and that helped a bit. V has graciously shared his cold with me, so I'm currently developing what he described as a horror flu when it first struck him. I'm not at the horror stage yet, but thoughts move slow. Oh, so, slow. I'm glad to take this break from trying to follow plot twists on tv and from wandering aimlessly on Pinterest, and share some more little bits I've planted in the letterpress tray hanging in our hallway. Very little thinking required here, just a little remembering, which I can still manage.

So, the final third of my letterpress tray today (see first and second). Next week I'll share something different! Might be something paper, haven't decided yet! But now, a very freeform left to right - top to bottom approach to these little treasures:

  1. Wood discs, one of them a brooch - gifts from a lovely friend
  2. A wire gauge meter (flat on its side)
  3. Two Christmas photos from my mother's childhood
  4. Old spools of thread from one or another grandmother
  5. An old cinnamon tin, which according to my father has been last used to hold something entirely different, possibly something poisonous, so no sniffing this!
  6. A printer's block featuring a fish, bought from London in 2008
  7. An old frosting tip, found among a heap of vintage buttons
  8. A doll without arms and toes - gift from a friend who had had it in her pocket for a while and sheepishly asked whether or not I'd like to have it. Of course I would!

  9. A paint colour sample book
  10. An English midget dictionary with leather covers, 512 pages
  11. A white pebble from Brighton, collected by me in 2000

  12. A tiny glass perfume bottle with metal deer decoration. I have not opened the bottle; it looks like it could stun me for months.
  13. A tiny plastic deer, probably not from my childhood (though I remember having plastic animals like this), it's more likely it arrived in our home in a mixed lot of vintage materials.
  14. A very worn pocket watch case that refuses to open
  15. A wooden leaf print block, bought from V&A shop a long time ago, maybe in 2008 or 2009
  16. Coins! Old and new: 1 markka (Finland, 1954), 5 kopek (CCCP, 1953), 5 Euro cent (Portugal, 2005), 1 Euro cent (Ireland, 2002), 2x Eurocoin London, 7x 10 penniä (Finland/Russia, 1908-1917)
  17. The old skeleton keys are once again from my father's side of family.
  18. A pebble from my grandfather's rock collection - it has Marea Negra, Eforia, 29.3.1981 written on it. 
So, this is the first collection in its entirety you see when stepping into our home! The only defining feature of items is obviously the size - I'm usually much less random. But small things just happen to usually be good things!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

why did I become a bookbinder? - top 6 reasons

One of the first books I ever made, back in 2002 - a case bound notebook with collaged covers

1. I've always made things by hand. 

I've been making things by hand for longer than I can remember. There was at least one unlucky incident that featured scissors and a woollen jumpsuit, and I'm sure there were other times when my creative endeavours were less than successful. Cutting things you shouldn't runs in the family, so I guess I should be very grateful for my parents letting the very-young-me handle scissors regardless of it.

In school I was very good at everything, apart from sports and music. But having been good at school doesn't mean I'd do well in academia. Tried out university, before and after bookbinding, did not particularly enjoy. Though I did fall more permanently in love with linguistics there. Still, using my hands in co-operation with my brain works much better than just using my brain.

2. It allows me to use my creativity, as well as the engineer part of my brain

To me, the most important thing about bookbinding is: to make things by hand, from scratch, with great attention to detail. I'm a creative person, but I have a problem with creating two dimensional art. It actually terrifies me - I've dropped classes after realising I'd have to draw. Bookbinding provides me with the perfect frame to work within.

Bookbinding is a lot like building, and when I build, I like to build pretty (and well). I enjoy problem solving (as long as the problems are more like puzzles than actual problems in actual life). Bookbinding requires an understanding of cause and effect; with new techniques, materials or structures, there's always a lot to work out. There are endless variations to try and experiment. Bookbinding never ends. You never learn it all.

People often say to me about bookbinding that it must be very meticulous, that I must measure everything by the millimetre. Usually I respond by saying I measure things by the tenth of a millimetre, which is a slight hyperbole, but if I measured things by the millimetre, they'd be absolutely screwed. Precision, also something I love.

unelmia maailmasta - dreams of a world

3. Books are functional items, there is a purpose for their being other than just beauty

For the longest time I struggled with the thought of creating Art. You know the thing, Art, with no other particular purpose than to be and to affect people while being. Nowadays it's not that terrifying anymore, but I do like how books are items you use, items that have a purpose. And also, that purpose is to be on the receiving end of somebody's creative process or brain dump or some other intimate act of mark making or memorising. Always happy to help out a friend trying to get an idea on paper!

4. For a writer, it's pretty nice to be able to make your own notebooks designed to fit your specific needs.

I'm really picky about notebooks. There's so much to be picky about! I also have a picky poet husband, and I provide him perfect notebooks and journals without complaints from either side.

5. I like sewing...

...but I really don't like talking with strangers, and I most certainly don't like touching strangers. So, becoming a seamstress wasn't a sensible option, and any assembly line type of work is just too uncreative for me. Bookbinding features a nice amount of work with a needle and thread. I also like paper, more than any other material. It's easier to sew books than to make garments out of paper. I've done that, too, obviously.

6. I really, really don't like talking business with strangers

Bookbinding is a lonesome job in most cases (and that's good!). I don't have colleagues, I have a quiet husband, and I'm in the privileged position of a bookbinder on a disability pension where I can say no to custom orders due to health reasons. I don't say no just because I find all sorts of negotiation difficult - it's a complex combination of Aspergers, the worst stress management skills, and my wrists trying to bail on me every time I work too much.

I adore my customers and I thoroughly enjoy the correspondence I get to have with my readers here, but I'd never manage all this social interaction face to face for more than a few months. Selling my work online and blogging to the nicest audience on earth is just perfect. No talk, lots of love. While I don't currently make a living as a bookbinder, in many ways bookbinding makes a life for me.


Monday, 8 February 2016

a trio - vintage photo collage art

I'm trying to make it a habit to have a new mixed media piece to show you every Monday, or at least a glimpse of one in progress if I'm working on a larger piece. This week's treat is a new small piece, one that made me think I should also make collages that are easily framed and not just boxes. Boxes always have a special place in my heart, can't help it.

The collage here is made out of vintage photos sewn together and embellished with a bit of bookbinding mull and some tarnished vintage metal sequins my grandmother gave me when I was not yet a teenager. The dotted edges and the reverse side are from vintage book directory pages. Reverse sides fascinate me - I try to pay attention to finishing the backsides of my boxes in a way that complements the front (sometimes a bit obsessively); in this collage I've used the reverse sides of vintage photos as a substantial element. Old photos often have many markings and stains that are interesting on their own. These bits I've used are scraps left over from jewelry and collage projects, so the front sides have sort of lost their interestingness, but their shapes and the marks on the other side are still valuable raw materials for art.

(vintage photos, vintage book pages, vintage sequins, mull, thread, board)

9,7x10,8x0,6cm  /  3.8"x4.3"x0.2"

A clear link can be found between my relationship with art materials and my general collector-ness! Nothing should be thrown away! There's a cool stain there; I like the edge there; that's a perfect frame for something circular! I should probably begin preparations for old age and let go a bit more, but I have no idea how I'd create anything then, since it's often the uselessness of an item that functions as the instigator for my projects. Are you the same? Are your materials trash in almost everyone else's opinion?

Sunday, 7 February 2016

wedding post - at last!

Paperiaarre wedding - photo by Kirsi Salo
We're trying to behave here - most of the photos taken had me giggling with my eyes closed, because smile=eyes closed.

This is my favourite. It's quiet in a nice way.

It's our 6 month anniversary today! (No, we're not actually celebrating monthly anniversaries - we've been together for six years, so we try to be nice every day.) Anyway, I thought this semi-anniversary would be a good motivator for me to finally share a couple more glimpses of our wedding. Back in October I blogged about the bookish elements I created for our wedding.

Paperiaarre wedding - photo by Kirsi Salo

We had a friends only evening wedding at our local haunt, and it was absolutely wonderful. Everything was as relaxed as possible - there was good music (a Spotify playlist!), good food (appetizers and cake only), a quiz (because the best parties seem to always have a theme quiz) and dear friends from near and far. I'm not very good with crowds, but apparently I can make an exception on my wedding day. Both V and I had a silly grin for the longest time after the wedding. Marriage seems to suite us quite well even if I say so myself.

Paperiaarre wedding - photo by Kirsi Salo

Dear Huhu sent us a gorgeous embroidered decorative fan as a wedding present. We put it to real use, as our wedding day was the warmest we'd had last summer, and the space always gets really hot when a large crowd gathers there. 

Instead of an engagement photo shoot or anything of the sort, we asked an illustrator friend to draw a portrait of us. It's much easier to pose for a drawing than for a photo, anyway, I think. I'm sure everyone disagrees with me here, though. A portrait just felt like a much more special memento than a photo, as we're constantly surrounded by photography.

The invite was obviously a very important thing for me, because if I can't get crafty with my own wedding stuff, then when? We ended up going with a simple postcard invite with a wax sealed printed navy wrapper and a pale pink envelope. The invite and wrapper were professionally printed. Most of the practical info (including a rsvp form, a map and a gift registry, where we had listed honeymoon wishes like exhibition tickets and small treats, so we could mostly avoid material gifts and also make things easy and affordable for our friends) was on a website, which we later converted into a thank you page with galleries of both wedding photos and photos of us enjoying the wedding gifts on our honeymoon.

Six months later, would I do something different? Maybe, if the hive mind were a thing I could really use to spread information, but no, not really. Actually, I would now have my wisdom tooth removed when it first began to hurt so I wouldn't have had to take so many painkillers I couldn't enjoy the leftovers due to a killer heartburn. Apart from that everything was really sweet.

Invite illustration by Sirpa, major technical assistance with the invite from Pauliina <3, all wedding photos by Kirsi Salo

Saturday, 6 February 2016

accumulator seriali - part 3

letterpress tray used for displaying a variety of vintage finds -

This Saturday, more little things from my hallway - to view the first third of this letterpress tray in detail, click your way here.

letterpress tray used for displaying a variety of vintage finds -

Again, I'm taking a very freeform left to right - top to bottom approach to these little treasures.

  1. A small rusty pulley wheel
  2. Vintage darning threads (maybe my paternal grandmother's, but I may remember wrong)
  3. A set of absolutely lovely Little Reminders - 20 Helpful Cards for the Tongue-Tied - purchased from Field and Sea in 2008
  4. Kusudama flowers I've made from old book pages (instructions here)
  5. A white pottery shard found in a field
  6. A snail shell - a gift from a friend
  7. As previously, all the wooden spools here come from either of my grandmothers, who may or may not be their first owners

    vintage finds -
  8. The skeleton keys come from my father's side of family
  9. A folding metal ruler and pencil - also from my father's side
  10. An orange painted bird made out of wood and cardstock, losing its tail - quite likely a Christmas tree ornament originally, but I've never seen it anywhere but hanging from the ridge of the roof of my dollhouse (held in place by a thumb tack) and later from a doorframe in my room. I'm not sure if it came with the dollhouse that was on loan from my older cousin (for like 25 years, until she wanted her own daughters to have it) or not, but I kept it in any case. For some reason this is one of the few items from my childhood I really love. I can't remember caring much for cuddly toys at any stage, though I had plenty.

    vintage finds -

  11. A stone from my maternal Grandfather's collection, it has Marea Negra, Eforia 29.3.81 written on it. I'm sure things looked a lot different there in 1981.
  12. A pocket knife - belonged to my paternal grandmother
  13. Another one of Grandfather's stones. Island 2.7.1988.
  14. Below it - an amethyst crystal - gift from V's mother
  15. An odd Q-shaped piece of metal, found in a field, I think. I love it. I have no idea what it is.
  16. A horse carved from a piece of wood by the rock-collector Grandfather. He was very talented, in many ways.

    lovely handpainted gift from a friend in 2000 -
  17. A matchbox full of handpainted and drawn illustrations from a penpal, 2000.
  18. Two coins: one token marked Eurocoin London (with an eagle, worth absolutely nothing), one a real 5 pfennig coin (German, 1993, also worth nothing)
  19. A pewter rabbit cardholder not holding a card -  from squirrelnuts
  20. A photo of a place unknown
  21. A loupe - Achromatic Lens 10x + case - from my ex-father-in-law
  22. A handcarved and burned wood sculpture - from my ex himself
  23. A floral victorian scrap - most likely belonged to my maternal grandmother
The rest we'll save for next week!