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931 Sales | On Etsy since 2007

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****This listing is reserved for Deanna, please do not purchase!***

This is a matchbox; it is a letter to you. It is a collage, an assemblage, an arrangement of sorts. It is a piece of art I made for some stranger just like you. It is one piece from a collection of many.

noblesse oblige

- this particular piece consists of: vintage lace, found rusty metal, vintage dictionary text, and paper
- size: 1.5"x2.1"x0.6" (3,8x5,3x1,6cm)

For these little letters of mine I use materials I’ve saved for years for something special; those tiny scraps that are too beautiful to be thrown away but too small to be used for any other project; those tiny scraps that have served as an inspiration for so many things before they finally found the perfect use as a part of a matchbox letter. I truly feel I'm creating something from the very roots of my creativity when I make these little boxes, and I have yet to find a better way to describe them than as letters to you. It is me sharing something private with you, the person experiencing my art. I hide layers of me between layers of paper. I hope you, too, find a piece of yourself from these tiny matchboxes, or know the perfect recipient who appreciates subtle small gestures and beautiful things. This is something completely unique for someone unique.

To me the act of opening a matchbox, the revealing of a treasure or a secret, is very meaningful. Whoever receives my matchbox letter becomes a participant in our correspondence when they open the box. Usually my letters go unanswered, but I believe it’s only fair since I'm not much of a pen pal myself either. This project is me making up for all the times I've failed to say the things I've wanted to say.


I first began my work with matchboxes in spring 2008 when I found myself in a situation where there just wasn't time for my usual book-sized projects, I made a matchbox a day (for 16 days) to keep my creativity in a functioning order amidst some big changes. A year later, in 2009 I did something a bit similar: not a matchbox a day, more like five a day when I felt like it. I wrote letters, in Finnish, to my creative English speaking friends. It was like telling secrets, because even if a dictionary were at hand my handwriting made it near impossible to decipher the messages. The letters were a part of my matchbox sketches, created with materials within arm's reach. With time my process evolved and refined itself but the underlying thought of creating art out of things that are in some way found or saved has remained the backbone of this project.
Now, in 2013, I'm writing letters to strangers (to You!). Four years’ worth of matchboxes – all one of a kind, some include a letter, a poem, or a word. My matchboxes have become more and more focused on the visual side. I no longer write letters by hand, I share secrets by other means. Now I spend a lot of time considering the materials and the visual cohesion, and the matchboxes have become even more personal than they were when I hid letters inside them. Each box has so much of my own personality or even personal history in it that I probably could speak for hours of each and every one of them if the need ever arose. Something you want to know? Just ask.

One thing I know: this is a letter to you.

Kaija / paperiaarre

Frequently asked questions about paperiaarre

I don’t currently make any custom order books, and it’s not really something I expect to change any time in the near future. My Aspergers has the most effect on my time and stress management skills (and sadly I find all sorts of negotiation extremely stressfull, even if it’s with nice people about nice matters), and I’ve simply found it’s best for my health to work at my own pace. This way I can always guarantee the high quality of my work I hold so important. Nothing is designed or finished in a rush, so you can trust you’re always getting the best product possible.
Free gift wrapping!

Your order will always arrive gift wrapped in a nice, minimalistic manner, all ready for gifting, or for treating yourself to something special. I also include in my orders a mini bio, as well as a small info about the history of Coptic bindings if your order includes one.

If your order is a gift to someone, I'm happy to include a small note from you to the recipient at no extra cost! Just leave me a message about it during checkout, and I'll take care of it.



  • Handmade item
  • Materials: matchbox, paper, found rusty metal, vintage lace, vintage dictionary text
  • Ships worldwide from Finland
  • Feedback: 433 reviews
  • Favorited by: 88 people