Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Working on the calendar boxes

Some sneak peeks from different pieces under construction. As you can see, I'm not a neat crafter - my desk is fairly big but the available surface keeps getting smaller and smaller as tools and material remnants gain ground - I'm so glad I'm working on these tiny things at the moment! I try to tidy up between pieces but it's unbelievable how much stuff one small collage can generate around itself. (I've given up on the floor for the time being, since it feels pointless to move my piles of paper into drawers only to take them out some hours later.)

The last photo reveals my secret weapon: I use pages from old photo albums (the type with sticky pages and clear protective films, in which I used to keep my massive Victorian scraps collection when I was a child) to store my text snippets. I've taken the album apart, not only because the covers featured most likely some cheezy kitten photo, but because it's easy to spread the loose pages about and see all available snippets (I use the reverse sides to store finished cut-up poems and snippets already reserved for some project or another). I have separate pages for Finnish and English texts, and some pages I've cut in half, so I have tiny portable projects that I can work on on the go, so to speak. At some stage I tried using tweezers in organizing the texts, but I've found my fingers nimble enough to do the job quicker without. The most important thing is not to breathe in the general direction of workdesk while creating a text from multiple snippets on a non-stick surface (the second most important thing is not to show unstuck text to spouse, who will surely send them flying with his untrained breath).

Monday, 10 November 2014

Black and white

mixed media collage - vintage photo, vintage fabric, freshwater pearls, thread, paper, board, glue
19,5x25,5x1,7cm  /  7.7"x10"x0.7"

And again I've returned to the theme of swimmers (see here & here). Maybe I'm particularly fond of old photos featuring swimmers because they always seem to be such happy photos, with innocence we've clearly lost. No-one in these old photos seems awkward in their own skin, no matter how much, or little, they're wearing. I wish it were possible to unmanipulate one's perception of beauty...

The process of creating an advent calendar has begun so smoothly I'm expecting some truly major problems any moment now. One third, eight boxes, that is, is already finished, but the real problem with creating a series is avoiding repetition. I have a set size for the boxes and a black-and-white photo in each box, so they're necessarily going to be quite similar, and I hardly ever steer away from my not-very-colourful colour scheme (and have absolutely no wish to do that), so each box I make is more work than the previous because I've already used certain techniques/layouts/materials and need to come up with all new combinations. Eight boxes is actually very, very little when you're working on a series of 24 (let alone when making a matchbox calendar year after year while also making art matchboxes not included in the calendars, so that's one more reason why I'm increasing the size this year). Anyway, work in progress photos appear on Twitter, and at some point here in the blog, too.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Surprise news!

I must be more insane than I thought, since I'm seriously planning to bring back the traditional Paperiaarre advent calendar after taking a break last year (though I did create one for V). I'm not insane enough to try creating a fifth matchbox art calendar (things that small are way more challenging than one imagines), so I'm increasing the size of my daily creations quite a bit. I've already cut 125 pieces of board, put them together into 24 boxes, tried out a selection of old photos and cut-up poetry, and sorted through piles and piles of paper in pleasing colours and textures. Basically, what I'm currently working on is 24 mixed media boxes at the same time. I'm not entirely confident I'll manage, but I will definitely try. Support and inspiration from my dear readers is much appreciated <3

The roundups of my previous advent calendars can be viewed here:

2009 (no photo of all boxes together, unfortunately, you have to click through the numbered posts individually)

Like I said, a crazy undertaking, but I plan to make the most of it!

Another bit of news for you, my dears, the lovely Laura of Bugs and Fishes invited me to be a part of her Crafty Ladies interview series, and today is the big day! Laura was one of my first Etsy customers (back in 2007!), and I've been following her blog ever since. Hop over to her blog, read my interview and immerse yourself into a crafty world much more colourful than mine!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

He wanted his heart to stop beating and his mind to rest

mixed media assemblage - vintage photo, vintage book text, vintage book cover, a stack of vintage photo album pages, twine, tissue paper, paper, board, glue

49x35x1,5cm  /  19.3"x13.8"x0.6"

He wanted his heart to stop beating and his mind to rest

The light is not the kindest today, but these shots are still better than the ones I snapped last night. I've stopped waiting for days with good light; they may not come until spring, and I can't wait until spring to share this one. I'm really happy with how this stubborn one turned out. I managed to create/save/leave the space I wanted for this quote and photo after all. There were many plans with recesses, rolled book pages, lumps of gesso and layered textiles; fortunately this simple stack of old album pages caught my eye and they were just the right colour, too (love the darker coloured pages peeking out in the corners). They're empty pages from the first Emil's album, more or less damaged by removing photos; the top one is slightly torn (actually, a lot more than slightly, but that part is hidden by the book cover) and it has some marks where adhesive was once torn off (which, for me at least, only adds interest). I prefer imperfections in my mixed media work, and perfection in my bookbinding.

Today I leave you with two new works in progress, both in Finnish, and without translations for the time being. The texts are still loose clippings, and I have yet to decide the general design of both pieces, too. Early stages.

Friday, 31 October 2014

A stubborn one

This pairing of text and photo has become a bit of an obsession to me. I so desperately want to turn them into an exceptional piece of work that it's become infuriatingly difficult to decide what to do with them. I've finally turned the photo&text duo into a trio by adding the old book cover you see above for a background of sorts, but the surrounding space is still a complete mystery to me, and I feel this piece needs a lot of space. Having space that has a purpose is surprisingly difficult: I want to avoid boring, and I want to avoid busy; I want to add to the feeling this core I already have has, not distract from it...

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


mixed media assemblage - vintage letter and envelope, vintage photo, vintage text cut-ups, vintage artificial silk thread, freshwater pearls, paper, board, glue

30,6x24,8x2,5cm  /  12"x9.8"x1"

The silken weavings of our afternoons,
sense without sense of time

we are where we began.

The grayest of all gray days here today. No sign of silken weavings or cuddles in a hammock. Lots of cooking, though. And naps.

Sunday, 26 October 2014


Thanks to a crafty movie night last night, I've already listed the new books of good things on Etsy. If you're not feeling confident about your luck (or feel giveaways are the lamest thing on Earth and want nothing to do with fun), you can go and buy yourself one (or ten) of these right now! If you wan't the chance to win one of these instead, do head over to my previous blog post!