Saturday, 25 October 2014

Giveaway - a book of good things, always a good thing

What better way to spend a Saturday night than in the splendid company of a stack of papers to be folded! Tonight I'm refreshing the old favourite, my book of good things. This is the third (and all new) English version since I began making these English ones in 2007; the first Finnish books of good things were made over ten years ago (can't quite believe it myself), in a slighly different book format, though. Like all things, these books need a little updating every now and then, even if it's just to keep me from getting bored with making them. I knew it was high time to raise the prise or streamline the process, and I opted for the latter to keep everyone happy. I hope to share a finished book of good things in a day or two!

I just realized this is my 500th blog post over here, and I'm all for celebrating round numbers. So, I'm giving away one of these new (and still a bit mysterious) books of good things! Leave a comment below and you've got a chance to win one. I'll pick a winner at random on Thursday evening (Oct 30th, around 9pm GMT-2) and announce the winner here. Please make sure to leave your e-mail address in the comment form (or the actual comment), so I can contact you if luck favours you!

PS. There are still a few books of good things with the old design and content available in my shop! Once they're gone, there won't be more!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A perfectly good place to work

I'm pairing photos with cut up text and my poetry (also enjoying my usual ginger ale), V is writing an essay on David Foster Wallace

It's not often that it's possible for me to work in a place other than my home studio. Glueing in coffee shops is pretty impractical, and my design work usually requires a huge stash of potential materials scattered around me. On the occasions when I have a idea that needs a lot of sketching, or I can grab with me a lot of old photos, or a book to be cut up, bar Vakiopaine is my number one place I like to go (this also happens to be the venue of my upcoming exhibition). In the afternoon it's quiet there (unless there's opera or some other really random music playing), and later, when I'm not there to work anymore, it's loud and cozy. The old and battered school room chairs are bound to ruin your tights, though.

Last night's realisation: it's time for me make (and you to buy?) loads of new origami star ornaments. This never feels like a chore, even though I sold way over 100 stars last year. Other things do feel a bit tedious as I'm also struggling with a new case of someone copying my work. I'm hoping this, too, will be quickly solved. As someone who finds nearly all communication quite taxing, this kind of hassle is the last thing I like having on my hands. It always ends up eating away at creative energy and taking apart half-formed ideas.

Monday, 20 October 2014

how V's elephant box came to be

 a small, sad elephant, all alone in the night...
 ...eventually found a metal ruler to keep him company (an unlikely couple, I'd say)
 weeks later, just finished, very late at night, as usual
daylight, at last

mixed media assemblage - vintage china elephant, vintage metal ruler, vintage photo, vintage optical lense, cut-up encyclopedia text, vintage book pages, silk thread, tissue paper, paper, board, gesso, glue

I can't even remember when I first noticed V's interest in elephant statues, but they're always something he points out when we visit an antique market or the like, and he's written about elephants in his poetry books, too. So, when I spotted this broken china elephant on Etsy, I knew it was something I could afford to buy for V (unlike the others we've seen so far), and I wanted to build a big assemblage around it. Most of my boxes are pretty small, whereas this one felt gigantic at about 33x32x3,5cm (13"x12.6"x1.4").

Once I knew I'd like to pair the elephant with the ruler I decided I'd make a little niche for the elephant and keep everything pretty light and minimalistic. After building the core of the box I basically just kept layering things like gesso and woven strips of book pages and tissue paper and more gesso until I had a surface that was textured without being too busy or colourful. Before each layer I thought it would be the last one but it didn't look right until many layers later. My clear visions really are pretty clear but reaching the goal is always a journey. Before deciding upon the optical lense I tried a whole bunch of other small items I could hang, but it was the most pleasing option being transparent and round and, in theory, functional. The text was built from cut-up excerpts of encyclopedia entries, again, by testing different options around a couple of key phrases. Guess which ones were set from the start?

kaikista omituisuuksista eräät kauneimmat ovat jo sukupuuttoon häviämässä,
jään reuna liikkuu, tähti katoaa näkyvistä

korvalehdet. kahden,
irtonaisina ajelehtivat jäälautat


out of all peculiarities some of the most beautiful ones are already on the brink of extinction,
the edge of ice is moving, a star disappears from sight

auricles. tete a tete,
ice floes freely drifting

I find I end up tweeting most of my work in progress photos and forget all about blogging, since I blog from my laptop and take photos with my ipad, and sometimes I forget to take any in-between-photos and I end up with random sets like today's. So, if you'd like to see what I'm making when I'm making it and not, worst case scenario, weeks later, I recommend following me on Twitter. In general, I'm probably the most antisocial user of social media, but if that's not a problem, Twitter is the place to visit for most recent creations.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Found inklings

mixed media assemblage - vintage photo, vintage brass degree ruler, vintage book pages and notes, pyrite nuggets, lokta paper, thread, board, glue

approx. 9,5x22x1,2cm  /  3.7"x8.7"x0.5"

Found inklings
most victorious
fictive things

I just finished this one last night and already it's one of my favourites (I know I say this just about every time I finish a piece). I like blurry old photos, and I like old brass tools of all sorts, measuring tools above all. 

I planned to take photos of the process while making this, but I was in a particularly deep flow state of mind and forgot all about it. Usually I tend to finish a piece on one go, or at least with minimal breaks (for sleep or waiting for glue to dry) since I often have a clear vision (or obsession) from the start. This time I had to take long breaks because of a weekend filled with live music (first the lovely Maritta Kuula, then the loud Höstfest) and little time to get fully immersed in making. I felt I would ruin these found inklings if I tried to finish this without having the time to find the flow, even though I already knew nearly all details before I properly got started. Maybe the end result would've looked exactly the same even if I had added fragments every time I had a little bit of time to focus, but I wouldn't have liked this piece as much that way. For me it's important to spend time with my work and get to know it. Having this design wander in and out of my thoughts during the weekend, before I got around to making something more demanding than rolling book pages, was definitely a good thing. It was a bit like I knew there was a friend waiting for me at home.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Reversible pendants - work in a progress of sorts

mixed media pendants/necklaces - vintage 38mm coin holder, linen, artificial silk thread, mica, freshwater pearls, vintage chain

pidän sinua pitelemässä minua / I hold you holding me
mitä tahansa muuta / whatever else

The white one is still missing a chain or some other type of necklace to hang from; at the moment it feels like the red one is finished. I may still change my mind, I often do.

These pendants are the first in a series of jewelry inspired by my upcoming poetry book. The text here is simple fragments, nothing much, since there really isn't a narrative or anything other than a jumble of fragments in the original context. But it's the same with my poetry and mixed media pieces - simple fragments make something quite complex when put together. Still, I enjoy these little fragments on their own, too.

Currently I feel like adding freshwater pearls to everything I make; must learn to control this need. For these pendants the tiny pink pearls were perfect, though. The pendants are quite petal-like on their own, so adding something as romantic as pearls wasn't a disaster at all. The non-text side has an embroidered disc of mica, one has silver-tone mica, the other a more warm gold-toned disc. I'm actually pretty fond of these necklaces, and have a hard time deciding which side I prefer. Luckily it's not a decision I really have to make.