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.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

A sampling of new books & a change of course for a while

All these and many others are now listed in my Etsy shop.

The word may have leaked that I'm having a small exhibition of my mixed media pieces in February (more info closer to the date), and I thought I'd give you a heads up: I will most likely focus on my non-book things for a while, and I'm not sure I'll be listing more books before the holidays. So, if you're thinking of giving someone a special book, this is the moment you have most books to choose from. Also, new assemblages and other things I'm making for the exhibition won't be for sale until March (or February, if you stop by at the exhibition in person). Occasionally there may be new items for Etsy, too, if I suddenly find myself in need of making books for a change, and I'll make sure to keep you updated if that happens.

Relating to this change I've got a question to ask - what would interest you most while I create my exhibition? Do you want poorly lit photos of works in progress at 2am and ramblings of me thinking out loud about how to finish a particular piece or whether or not something is finished? Do you simply want photos of finished pieces (with or without ramblings)? Other suggestions are welcome, as always.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

And there I found myself more truly and more strange

vintage tin bottom, vintage photo, cut up vintage text, pin, lacquer, glue
(diameter 3,3cm/1.3")

And there I found myself more truly and more strange.

You would think that after the Anthropologie issue was so quickly resolved I would be able to breathe easy and feel the anxiety leave my body. Instead I've felt like a giant chewing gum collecting dirt and debris in the pocket that is world. Not that I put used chewing gum in my pocket but you get the picture. I've had the most Asperger week in, like, forever, and it got to the point yesterday where V. asked whether I was high on something since I was acting like a miffed sleepwalker. Today was better but I still feel like my filters are off kilter (how could I resist, huh?) and I'm having much more tics than usual (and that makes for one sore neck). I'd love to fix all this by simply being alone in a quiet room but it's just not working this time. Too many things on the to-do list and creative ideas on the brink of emerging. I'm kind of hyper and exhausted at the same time. I'd really appreciate a personal assistant who could list my books on Etsy and write better and more polite messages to people requesting custom books I don't have the energy to make. Alternatively a pair of mega comfortable and lightweight hearing protectors combined with a break from everyone but friends could work, too.

I'll get back to you guys once I've ticked off some major jobs from my list and decided whether or not I'm catching this cold that hangs in the close vicinity. I won't be gone for long - there are loads of new books to share with you!