return to bookbinding

Things have been awfully quiet here for many months now, with just the occasional artists’ book post every now and then. My world has revolved around poetry in the months surrounding the publication of my second poetry book Koko meren laajuus in August. I spent September in Visby, Gotland, Sweden, writing new poems as well as an article about artists’ books (in Finnish only, sorry!), but now it’s finally time to make room for bookbinding again. Today I’m sharing with you a book I finished just before I left for Visby, and some of my favourite photos I took during my stay at the writers’ and translators’ residence. New books are drying in the press as I’m typing this, so new treats are here sooner than you’d think.


You can find this beauty in the Paperiaarre shop. I love this pairing of teal blue linen and the teal/green leafy print paper I used for endpapers. Coming next: smaller notebooks with print endpapers, but first, let’s take a look at the beautiful Hanseatic city of Visby and the island of Gotland.


Knowing my home would be taken over by a crew of workmen, I applied for a writers’ residency in Visby for September. Gotland is much farther down South than Helsinki and the weather was brilliant apart from a storm or two, so I actually managed to extend my summer by a month with this trip.

Visby is a very small city (I’d call it a town, but it’s not my business to correct how others describe their home) and the most idyllic part of it is located inside medieval city walls. The residency is inside the walls, on a high cliff, right next to the Visby Cathedral - a location beyond amazing. I enjoyed the views, the sunsets, the smell of apples and pears everywhere, the walks around the city walls and by the sea. Once I got back home it took me a while to adjust to a skyline without a seemingly endless sky playing a big part of the view.


This is a colour combinations that will definitely show up in my work soon!


Gotland being mostly limestone, there were fossils everywhere. You could sit down on the pebble beach and pick up dozens of them within your arm’s reach. Even though I spent hours of my “thinking time” sitting on the windy beach, I limited my personal collection to a small handful…

I also got to go on an island excursion with some really nice writers and translators. Met a bunch cows at När Lighthouse (and around some impressive bronze age gravesites, too). Our excursion took place on what felt like the last day of summer, and the island really showed its best to us.

Even more important than the gorgeous surroundings and fantastic sunsets was the community of writers and translators with whom I got to spend my four weeks (and some magnificent dinners). During those weeks some lovely people left and some lovely new people arrived. There was this bittersweet sense of temporariness in the air, which by the way, was unbelievably fresh. All these things feed my creativity and I can’t wait to go back some day (soon, I hope)!


Cloudy days in Helsinki. Perfect for some poetry stuff, lots of bookbinding, and lots of other creative work, I hope. See you soon.

london - part 2

London - part 2 / "Let's adore and endure each other" - so far my relationship with London has been mostly an adoring one, so maybe London takes the brunt of it by enduring me... I adore the markets, the museums, the old intermingling with the newer than new, the way I'm never lost for a long time, the extremely nice people I keep meeting, and not unimportantly: the massive variety of vegetarian allergen-free superfood salads available. Today I'm fighting off a cold that's trying to catch me (so far I'm winning), so not much words in this post today, just lots of photos:

London - part 2 /

I believe the Spitalfields Antique Market is my favourite place in all of London. It's not worth traveling to London unless at least one Thursday fits into the trip. More about my vintage finds later this month, but here's a glimpse of the October 2016 Spitalfields hoard:

London antique market finds /

London - part 2 /

While often crowded (and overpriced) the Portobello Road Market is usually on my list, too. The best junk is at the very far end of the market, where there's less touristy stuff and considerably lower prices. I had a strict self-imposed no-shopping-for-clothes rule on this trip, so I just walked past all the vintage clothing, but I could tell there were some real gems in there.

And speaking of gems: I forgot to show in my mudlarking post what C gave me! A beautiful cigarette case with some super old pins and nails C picked up from the muddy parts of the beach (she wore wellies, I wore sparkly sneakers). I also doubt I would've spotted these things with my untrained eyes - everything on the foreshore is exotic to me, even the pebbles are of foreign colours.

London mudlarking finds, October 2016 -

The next photo would've fit right in with the bookish London post I wrote last week, but better late than never! Alison Stockmarr's book art spotted at Liberty, where I spent forever waiting for a downpour to end. Could have ended somewhere far worse to wait it out!

Book art by Alison Stockmarr

The wallpaper in my hotel room made it feel much more luxurious than it perhaps really was. In any case, it was nice to get up with the sun and have this wallpaper be the first thing I see when I open my eyes.


London - part 2 /

London - part 2 /

One pigeon per arch, max. I'm a big fan of the Tube and its old stations.

London - part 2 /

But some things you miss if you spend most of your time indoors or on the Tube.

London - part 2 /

I adore London. Day and night. (So much so that I made an artists' book about the city some years ago.)

London - part 2 /

You can check out an earlier blog post about my favourite London spots if you're still yearning for more!


accumulator seriali - part 29

London mudlark - One of the highlights of my trip to London was the chance to go mudlarking with my friend C - twice, at two very different Thames locations! So, this Accumulator Seriali blog post is also a London - part 1½, in a way.

I brought home loads and loads of finds, knowing I'd both use them in my mixed media work and that it's going to be a while before I get to go back to a tidal foreshore filled with treasures. Broken clay pipes, especially bits of their stems, are among the most common finds, but I ended picking up a ton of those "boring" stems as I immediately knew what I'd do with them if only I had a ton at hand (a miniature preview coming on Monday). In addition to the stems, I felt really lucky to find an intact pipe bowl by Tate Modern - if this illustration is anything to go by, I think it might be from 1690-1750. Later in the week, while we were at her regular mudlarking spot, C found a decorated piece of pipe and kindly gave it (among many other lovely things) to me - can you see the grapes on the bowl? And that little horizontal heart at the heel of the bottommost stem? The white clay has been beautifully stained by the mud!

Thames has a lot more to offer than bits of old pipes:

London mudlark -

London mudlark -

London mudlark -

London mudlark -

As you can see, I like all kinds of junk! Pottery, bits of bone, glass, buttons, shells, and other entirely random things. Some of these finds are from our honeymoon trip to London last year, like that mysterious white swirly cone at the bottom right of the above photo. It feels like marble, but I'm no expert. C's knowledge of pottery, on the other hand, is truly impressive! She can tell so much from a tiny shard of pottery! I obviously can't - I'd tell you all about the above stuff...

London mudlark -

London mudlark -

It was so worth getting up before sunrise to catch the early low tide on Saturday. Both the beach and the river were so calm and quiet.

London mudlark -

Afterwards we had brunch at a yurt café (!!!) with C's family and C let me pick some of her finds, too! (I left the teeth - I feel weird about traveling with lots of teeth in my suitcase...)

London mudlark -

At home I cleaned up the finds, spending a loooong time getting the mud out of the pipe stems so I could get a needle go through. But it's worth it, I hope.

London mudlark -

As a hoarder-arranger I couldn't avoid arranging the pipe stems into pleasing groupings as I planned Monday's mixed media piece. The photo above really shows off the variety of colours the river has given these plain white clay pipes. Buried possibly for centuries, eventually revealed, now picked up by me. Somehow it's all a bit baffling for someone who doesn't run into such history in their daily life...

london - part 1

the wonderful bookartbookshop in London - I had the most wonderful time in London, looking for materials and inspiration. My suitcase weighed 14 kg more coming back, so I obviously found what I was looking for. While the weather in London was much warmer than it had been back home, it was still not ideal for slowly strolling around enjoying the utterly unaffordable neighbourhoods. Instead I spent my time at (antique) markets, bookshops, book art bookshops, bookbinding shops, museums, and also mudlarking on the Thames foreshore. Today I'm going to share some of the more book-related things.

the wonderful bookartbookshop in London -

Be warned, this post is a very photo heavy one... but full of treats!

the wonderful bookartbookshop in London -

First off, I can't recommend the bookartbookshop highly enough! I was blown away by the sheer number of books they have, but what really won me over was the customer service. I had a wonderful time chatting with Chiara, who was super sweet showing me gorgeous books when I couldn't decide where to begin my exploration, and who also happened to have surprising connections to my home town. If money weren't an issue, my suitcase would've gone over all weight limits just from stopping by the bookartbookshop. Alas, I do not swim in money, so my finds of the day are as follow:

Illustrations by Franciszka Themerson - cards from the bookartbookshop - London

Some cards based on the illustrations of Franciszka Themerson. As a poet, as a poets wife, and as a friend to several more poets, I'm sure to find a proper use for these.

bookartbookshop finds -

Days and Nights in W12 by Jack Robinson (actually Charles Boyle) was a must have, especially since I was staying in Shepherd's Bush this time, but also because I like how fiction weaves into reality. Kurt Johannessen's Exercises was also an easy pick - I know just the girl to send it to...

Days and Nights in W12 by Jack Robinson

Days and Nights in W12 by Jack Robinson

artists' book Exercises by Kurt Johannessen

Shepherds bookbinding retail shop got my head spinning so hard I forgot to take any photos of their beautiful shop, but trust me: it's worth a visit, or two. From Shepherds I got some book cloth for my bullet journals as well as some gorgeous papers:

part of my London paper hoard -

The tiny flowers would be perfect for some mini books... The beautiful waxed lokta (below) is something I'll most likely save for some artists' book project.

part of my London paper hoard -

Finally I stopped by Paperchase and picked out some wrapping paper. I haven't the slightest idea where I'm going to use these (maybe for wrapping gifts... *gasp*), but they were calling my name nonetheless.

part of my London paper hoard -

Now I need to dash off to finish doing the dot dot dot on my fine binding:


Florence - Florence treated us kindly. I'd felt a little stressed and down towards the end of this summer, so the vacation was a much needed one. I'm not sure if it managed to cure the blues, but while there everything was nothing short of lovely, and the stress is definitely gone. I'll now write myself a prescription of museum after museum for the next time I feel super stressed.

In Florence we went to lots of tiny museums (in addition to the big ones), like the Museum of Mineralogy, where there was no one else there, or had just a tiny handful of people wandering around in different parts of the museum. Florence was filled to the brim with tourists, even when the locals were away vacationing, and many shops closed, so stepping away from the crowds was always a good idea.

Mineralogy Museum, Florence -

We got to enjoy great weather all week. Hot, but windy enough for it not to feel stifling, and the light was just gorgeous throughout our visit no matter what the time of the day was. I now understand why many of the late 19th century Finnish artists traveled to southern Europe for inspiration. The light is quite unlike the light we have here. At times it felt like we had completely stepped away from reality.

Florence -

Il Torchio, Florence -

Before heading off to the airport we managed to squeeze in a visit to Il Torchio, where we met Erin, who had coincidentally just returned from her vacation to Finland/northern Europe. I could have admired her books and workshop for longer, but time quickly ran out as we chatted. I did buy a few sheets of paper - more on my Florence paper finds at a later date. Talking with Erin was a much needed grounding moment; it really was the first time in a week that I had a connection to everyday life. Such an absurd idea, but there was nothing in Florence that looked or felt like home. Talking about bookbinding always feels like home.

I don't want to bore you with travel stories, but I still wanted to share photos and bits with you guys. I know this is a photo heavy post, but I'd rather have it all out there at once instead of turning this blog into a travel blog for the next month, so I hope you accept my excuse this one time and click ahead to read more.

We spent lots of time wandering on the side streets and kept finding wonderful street art everywhere we went.

Florence - Florence - Florence -

I don't know enough Italian to understand what these poems say, but as a poet I'm still delighted to run into poetry on the streets. I'd actually rather not know what these say - it'd be a real downer if I hated them.

The Boboli Garden was gorgeous, but on that day the weather soon got the best of us. We escaped the heat to the Costume Gallery, which was the best part of Pitti Palace for us both. I think it says a lot when a grumpy guy enjoys 20th century women's clothing more than the Gallery of Modern Art, although the Costume Gallery had better air conditioning.

Boboli Gardens, Florence - Boboli Gardens, Florence - Boboli Gardens, Florence -

I could have taken photos non-stop - the city was full of amazing details. The architecture is just fascinating, especially to a Finn like me.

Florence - Florence - Florence -

One mandatory sunset at Ponte Vecchio photo. In reality Ponte Vecchio was our least favourite place. We lived in Oltrarno and had to cross the crowded Ponte Vecchio at least a few times a day.

Sunset at Ponte Vecchio, Florence -

Another thing we did a few times a day was eat gelato! We tried out a number of the best rated gelato shops, and My Sugar is our clear winner. I believe words like orgasmic and heaven were used by V. At the time I focused more on eating than finding any words.

My Sugar - the best gelato in Florence -

My last nerdy tip for visiting Florence: go to Museo Galileo! It was awesome! So many beautiful astrolabes and other gorgeous tools...

Galileo Museum, Florence -

That's all for now. I came home with more paper than I left with, but more on the papers later. I hope you enjoyed this little peek of Florence!