Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Monday, 26 May 2014

Just listed on Etsy

Suddenly I'm past 600 sales and 6000 shop admirers on Etsy! I haven't been able to list new books often enough to keep my shop as well stocked as I'd like to, but now all of the above books are available at

This spring has felt like a very busy one but there's very little concrete evidence of it. I've been hard at work with the finishing touches of my poetry book, which is sort of exhausting in a way that has kept me from my bookbinding ambitions. A lot of thought has been given to the said ambitions but I think I'll elaborate on those later. I also got a plough as a late birthday present from my parents and it's so lovely it too deserves a post of its own, so maybe I'll make up for the blog silence with a great heap of blog posts this week.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Antique lace is back

Coptic binding - pale pink linen, antique lace, waxed linen thread, paper, board, inner covers lined with dusty purple Canson Mi-Teintes paper

64 pages of cream colored heavy weight 140gsm paper suitable for writing and mixed media
15,2x20,2x2,5cm / 6"x8"x1"

Coptic binding - white linen, antique lace, waxed linen thread, paper, board, inner covers lined with cream Canson Mi-Teintes paper
120 pages of recycled brown kraft 100gsm paper suitable for writing and sketching
16,2x23,8x2,5cm / 6.4"x9.4"x1"

Coptic binding - natural linen, antique lace, waxed linen thread, paper, board, inner covers lined with taupe Canson Mi-Teintes paper

160 pages of off-white super smooth 100gsm paper suitable for writing and dry media
12,3x17,2x2,5cm / 4.8"x6.8"x1"

Thank you all for your lovely birthday wishes! I have a very problematic relationship with my birthday but luckily this time my useless and seemingly unavoidable birthday meltdown happened so early in the day I had the chance to recover and spend a lovely evening out with friends and enjoy Jacques Brel's songs performed in Finnish. Regardless of meltdowns, 30 is a good age to be - just old enough to baffle young international students trying to make small talk (which is a big mistake. do not try to make small talk with me. just don't.), just young enough to baffle my amazing (and youthful) hairdresser who thought we were the same age when we're pretty far from it.

My birthday sale went well, considering that even my mother went and bought a matchbox. Thank you! I've now retired some old books from the shop to be sold elsewhere and replaced them with six new journals: the above three embellished with antique lace my mother generously donated from her amazing collection of inherited textiles, and another three with plain linen covers. You can view them all here.

Another place you should visit is my dear friend Shannah's shop; she has some amazing and lovely bunnies available I'm sure you'll fall in love with! I have a large white Fibonacci rabbit by my bed guarding my sleep and it's doing a good job.

Friday, 17 January 2014

4 x antique lace

Coptic binding - antique handwoven cotton, antique lace, waxed linen thread, paper, board,
inner covers lined with handmade deckle edge paper

56 pages of white heavyweight 140gsm drawing paper suitable for mixed media
15x12,3x2,1cm / 5.9"x4.8"x0.8"

case bound book - antique lace, handwoven artisan cotton, paper, board, linen thread,
cream colored Canson Mi-Teintes endpaper, off-white linen endbands

 56 pages of white heavyweight 140gsm paper suitable for mixed media
15,3x12,6x1,5cm / 6"x5"x0.6"

case bound book - antique lace, striped silk wool fabric, board, linen thread,
cream colored Canson Mi-Teintes endpaper, off-white linen endbands

112 pages of off-white 80gsm sketching paper suitable for dry media
10,3x15,4x1,6cm / 4.1"x6.1"x0.6"

 Coptic binding - antique linen, antique lace doily, off-white linen thread, paper, board,
inner covers lined with handmade deckle edge paper

72 pages of bright white fine grain 100gsm drawing paper suitable for mixed media
18,2x14,1x1,8cm / 7.2"x5.6"x0.7"

Just when I thought I'd be in trouble my mother replenished my antique lace collection. These won't be the last lace notebooks for now after all; I already have plans for some of those new-to-me gems.

My wrists are all achy again, so I need to limit the time of detailed and repetitive work for a couple of days at least. Less time typing, less time creating, more time reading, perhaps. Currently working my way through a stack of Oliver Sacks books. As a person with weird brain I find it endlessly fascinating to read about people with even weirder brain. Sacks' true stories often read like fiction but I have enough faith in him to trust that they're real, which allows me to take a tiny break from thinking and analyzing whether or not something works or is possible. So, yeah, I'm going to now go and zone out reading neurology stuff.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014



case bound book with rounded spine - linen fabric / antique embroidered tablecloth, paper, board, thread, handmade endpapers

104 pages of white heavyweight 120gsm paper suitable for mixed media
15,5x14,1x2 / 6.1"x5.6"x0.8"


This is a book that really took its time. Finishing this last week led to a serious bout of reminiscing that's still lingering. In 2005, or thereabouts, when I was doing my bookbinder's apprenticeship, my darling mother gave me this gorgeous (but horribly torn) little tablecloth embroidered with lilac Art Nouveau flowers so I could make a book out of it. At the time I felt I still needed to work on my skills before taking my scissors to this beautiful piece of cloth, and then it only took me about nine years to get a grip and get it done. I have a love/hate relationship with one of a kind materials - it pretty much breaks my heart that I'll never be able to make another book out of this tablecloth. There is of course the other end still left but it's full of holes and other damage (sometimes I think my family goes by the rule that if an item fits into the washer it's machine washable), so I'd have to get pretty creative if I want to find a use for that section. I'll just have to keep my eyes open in the hopes of finding other damaged treasures in need of saving.

Another thing that took its time this year is Winter. -14°C today, and at last that special cold weather winter light is here, too. We had some snow before Christmas but it was soon gone, and it looked like November until a couple of days ago (November look is a bad thing, wouldn't recommend it to anyone). I'm hoping having more light will lift my spirits and result in more new books. There are some already listed on Etsy but there are more on the way any day now. I'll also be blogging more frequently again now that my winter semi-holiday is over, so I hope to see you here, too, soon!

PS. Take a look at Poppytalk Handmade Online Marketplace where I too have set up my stall until Feb 28th. The company there is pretty damn great, so I'd definitely pay the site a visit if I were you. Ok, bye.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

small ones

All these little long-stitch jotters along with some friends have spent months and months on my desk badly neglected, mostly done, before I finally took a morning off just for taking photos and squeezed these into my schedule. It's most certainly winter here; daylight is scarce and sun a rare guest, so it is not often that light and inspiration (inspiration. who am I kidding? it's all about having or not having the energy at the right moment) coincide. Despite these minor difficulties on their way, these notebooks are now listed on Etsy. Some come in pairs, some individually; all beautifully wrapped (and ready to give away as gifts if you can bear to part with them).

I'm feeling a bit surreal today; I've had many good days, creative days, along with a feeling my mind is two inches right from where my head is located. Sometimes that's just how it is and it's alright, but today I just ended up wasting time - precious daylight hours to make things worse - only waking up to action so late I should've gone to bed already but instead I now procrastinate ineffectively (effective procrastination would be too much to ask tonight). Maybe by morning I've had some great revelation and made headway with the newest version of my poetry manuscript. If not, I'll just have to try not to break my printer again tomorrow and spend the day actually writing, making and doing.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


Six new books available in my shop. Also, a variety of long-stitch notebooks from 6-13€ individually or in sets of 2. I'll post about them later in the week, too.

I know many people (myself included) hate how most mass produced notebooks have such stiff spines you have to force them to stay open, and still there's the awkward area you're unable to use. Handmade books (if done right) are naturally much more user-friendly to begin with, still, I wanted to go even further and make a book that allows you to scribble notes super smoothly over the entire page surface. Coptic bound books are a dream when it comes to a book opening flat but they're not for everyone, so I wanted to experiment with the basic case bound style. These differ a bit structurally from my usual style of case bound books. I've left out everything from the spine of the book block I deemed possible, leaving just a some lightweight linen fabric to support the sewing and hinge area. The spine is much more flexible and still solid enough for books this small. The covers are also slightly thinner than usually, so these are lighter as well. These are easy books: easy to take with you because of their size and weight, and, most importantly, easy to use.

I've been thinking about my bookbinding a lot lately, and I've come to the conclusion that the structural part of book design is even more important to me than I imagined. Sure I've always thought like an engineer but the importance of it all comes clearer day by day. When I see masses of hand bound books on Etsy or on Pinterest, I cannot but think about the structural issues they have. Making books well, being always aware of how choices in materials or construction affect the durability and functionality of the end result - those are the things I really feel set apart the work of a good bookbinder. I know where I am and where I strive to be with my skills, and I hope the good bookbinders realize how important their skills are, even if the general public fails to see a difference between handmade and crafty. (And crafty is fine too, it's just something entirely different I'm not a big fan of...)

It seems every now and then I need to rant a bit about quality and awareness and all that. Sorry about that. It's just that lately I've had one encounter too many with someone claiming to be a bookbinder with nothing to support that claim. It's the same with cutting your friend's hair with your utility scissors - it does not turn you into a hairdresser. Knowing how to make a book does not a bookbinder make. I don't care about titles or formal education but I care about the books and I care about what sort of image they give to the general public about bookbinders and their work. Maybe it's different out in the big world; here where bookbinding is such a rare profession all publicity counts, and this is one time when all publicity is not good publicity.

I wish I had enough faith to believe that people know better, that they recognize quality when they see it (or maybe they do, they just don't recognize the lack of quality as easily). I'm not worried about someone without talent taking my customers; I'm worried that people don't know what handmade books are supposed to look like, how they're supposed to function and not fall apart.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A glimpse for now

Two hours after taking this photo and feeling perfectly fine I finally caught V's cold. I was getting confident about dodging it this time but you know my luck. More about these books as soon as my other hand isn't occupied by a kleenex anymore.

Monday, 28 October 2013

A treasure of a book, called A Day in the Zoo

A day in the zoo: realistic pictures of the birds, beasts and fishes: a stand up toybook

Last week I made a trip to the annual Helsinki book fair, something I haven't done in a while. Despite all the antiquarian and second-hand book stalls I've roamed eagerly before, I only bought one book, and that was something V. asked me to find for him. He was attending the fair wearing two hats; he's a poet and a translator. Most of his time was spent working at the stall of his poetry co-op, Poesia, or mingling with somebodies (it'd be intolerable to me, I say). So, I was left to my own devices, and had more than enough time to realize I didn't really need or want to buy anything. Not a bad experience at all. 

My unenthusiastic book fair attendance luckily didn't lead to coming home empty handed. We stayed at my urhem (I'm determined to launch this term for the home you grow up in, in separation of the home you make yourself later in life. Home home as an expression just isn't at all practical...) and my mother gave me this gorgeous pop-up book in need of repair. Just seeing it caused palpitations, googling it last night caused tiny squeals and cold feet. Regardless of the fact that I know I know how to make book repairs professionally (still, don't ask me to do it unless it's something as amazing as this), beginning this project scares me. A lot. My mother was under the impression this book was from her mother's childhood, but my initial research revealed it a generation older, published some time between 1890 and 1900. And the only other original copy I could find online is in Toronto. There is also an adaptation published around 1980 (with some text added, at least), but no sign of more of these old ones. So this book isn't just a family treasure, it's also rare. It's terrifying, it's exciting.

Considering its age and purpose, this book is actually in pretty great condition. The front cover is missing and the first page is loose, also some of the pop-up straps are loose because of the old glue drying out, and there's damage to the most delicate details, like the bars on the cages, and some missing bits and pieces (the aquarium is in the worst condition of all). Far from mint condition, obviously, but I think it's not too bad for a childrens' book as old as this. I won't be recreating things that are missing (oh, horror), just simple repairs as invisible as possible, and a case to protect the book from further damage in the future. I'll let you know how it works out, if I have the guts to bite the bullet.

Monday, 5 August 2013

the London book that was never to be finished + giveaway

accordion book - cardstock, vintage illustrations, vellum paper, recycled kraft papers, tissue paper watercolour, ink, pencil, pen, eyelets, vintage ribbon
6,5x15x1cm / 2.6"x5.9"x0.4"

I said I wasn't going to finish this, but here it is. It only took some four, five years for me to finish it. This is my London book. How many things, places, or references can you recognize? I'll send something special (haven't even decided what, but I promise it'll be something pretty) to the reader who spots most (and leaves me a working email address, too) by Thursday morning (GMT+2). I'm holding tight on to your comments until then, just to make it fair game for everyone taking part.