Today is the fourth anniversary of the day that Sean and I adopted Maisie, with the help of my colleague Ted and his fellow shelter volunteers who brought her north from Paris, Kentucky, so that we could take her home to Brooklyn. Maisie has eaten shoes and blankets, and she has shredded entire skeins of yarn as well. She’s been known to carry Sean’s e-reader around in her teeth, delicately and triumphantly. In short, she can be trouble. But she’s feisty and happy and is wonderful company. And when she’s asleep she smells like cornchips. So today is a day to celebrate M.
My new book will be out this very month! While I’m pretty excited about forthcoming trips (Denver! Madison! San Francisco! more!) to share BiblioCraft at libraries and organizations, I’m also planning some gatherings here on my home turf too. Today I wanted to share the details on the official book launch party in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. If you’re localish, I hope you can come and join in any of the following activities:
- eat homemade cookies rolled in pink sugar (made by me!), or Peter Pan doughnuts (provided by my Mom & Dad!)
- make a toast to all the library-loving, nerdy+cool, bookishly crafty friends in your life
- get crafty–make a BiblioCraft inspired project!
- explore Brett Bara’s cool new class and event studio, Brooklyn Craft Company
- buy BiblioCraft as well as my amazing contributors’ books too, thanks to my friends at WORD
WHEN: Wednesday, March 19th, 7:00-8:30pm
WHERE: Brooklyn Craft Company, 61 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222 (just 1.5 blocks west of the Greenpoint Avenue stop of the G train)
PLEASE RSVP: on Facebook or send me a message so I know how many cookies to bake!
This past weekend I was invited to help out at a Greenpoint Hand Skills program at my local Brooklyn Public Library branch, hosted by Julie Schneider and Kim Konen. We made stamped cards inspired by 19th c. wood type specimen books, and for design inspiration I brought along some printed-out page images from an 1892 Hamilton Wood Type specimen book that’s part of the Rare Book Division collection at NYPL, where I work. I love all type specimen books, really, because they let you glimpse specific worlds–places and times–of type design. But the Hamilton volume is a particular favorite because it was one of the books that inspired Julie to create two projects for BiblioCraft. So, just a few followup notes and links for you from this event:
- I’ve shared all the Hamilton page images I took for the event on tumblr, if you want to check them out.
- The documentary a few of us talked about, which is all about the legacy of Hamilton wood type reborn as a Museum of printing and design is called Typeface, and it’s worth checking out.
- The banana-oat-white chocolate-walnut cookie bars I made were based on this recipe. I made just two little changes: I used white chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate because that’s what I had on hand, and I pressed the dough into a 9×13″ pan lined with parchment. Otherwise, it’s all there just as Martha wrote it.
- The sweater I wore was Cecily Glowik’s Idlewood design, which I knitted up in Sweet Georgia’s Botanical green.
- And, without further ado, a single Hamilton type specimen (in real life this page is about two feet tall!).
It’s a book! (You can read more about it, and see a list of amazing contributors, here!)
Even though BiblioCraft‘s not even really out yet–it officially launches on March 18th–my publisher got a couple of boxes of early finished copies just in time for me to do a talk, share a watermark whale bookmark project, and sign copies at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting. As you might imagine, I was VERY nervous, and pretty excited as well, to share my new book with bunches and bunches of smart and tough (and I mean tough in the best way possible) librarians of all kinds. My thanks to everyone I met–the conversations we had reminded me why I wanted to write this book in the first place: because libraries and their librarians are like inspiration engines.
While I wait for the books to arrive in warehouses, I’ve gotten started with a skeleton schedule of events to help spread the word about how libraries+crafts=design inspiration. I’m excited about the mix of venues: libraries, museums (the Smithsonian!), bookshops, and organizations (the American Craft Council!). You can keep an eye on my calendar to see where I’ll be. And if you’d like me to be part of your library’s programming, let me know! I’d love to see what we might come up with.
My friend Jenny has been encouraging me to start playing around with quilting and patchwork. She’s a talented quilter herself, and she successfully taught me how to make my first whole cloth quilt (I’ll share more soon about that particular quilt’s supporting role in my forthcoming book). Jenny’s efforts have paid off: this year I joined a quilting guild, attended QuiltCon, and became a collector of fat quarters. Basically, I’ve gone from being a quilt lurker–reading about quilts, collecting books about quilts, and admiring exhibitions of quilts–to trying my hand at making my own.
And with her encouragement, I entered the Double Wedding Ring Challenge hosted by my guild. Because I was pretty confident I’d not enjoy the curved piecing (wow, was I right), and because I’m already fully immersed in what will be a rather large hand pieced hexagon quilt, I chose to make the small single ring option. I pieced it on my machine and then quilted it by hand, adding cross stitch arches to complete the “pickle dish” forms along two sides. Here’s one pickle dish that’s patchwork on both sides, in progress:
In making my little XOXO quilt (O for the circle shape and X for the cross stitches), I learned the following: I prefer hand piecing and hand quilting to using a machine; I really need my own design wall; and I enjoy color play more than I expected. Here are the fabrics from my stash of fat quarters that came into play, early on:
I also learned that I prefer to make finished objects that have a functional purpose. This little round guy is nice, but I’m itching to turn it into a pillow cover or something purposeful. We’ll see what XOXO becomes!
It’s hard for me to believe it sometimes, but Handmade Crafternoons at New York Public Library have been going strong since 2009. I first joined up with Maura Madden four years ago to launch a DIY salon for adults that would draw creative inspiration from the library’s collections while drawing in a community of artists and crafters. The fall 2013 series is about to get underway!
Yesterday was a perfect creative escape. Craft Camp was everything I thought that it would be–a full day of creative classes, yummy food, and craft inspiration. But it was more, because of the chance to hang out and talk with crafty ladies all day long. I connected with some people I already know–like Craft Camp teachers Julie Schneider, Sarah Goldschadt, Jessica Marquez, and Cal Patch, crafty writers Haley Pierson-Cox and Megan Nicolay, and the savvy and fabulous agent Kate McKean–but I also met lots of new people who I’ll hope to run into again, either online or in person. From jewelry designers to journalists, and from an oyster expert to a mathematician, the day was stimulating, social, and full of surprises. It was also impeccably organized (congrats for making it all run like clockwork, Brett!) and lovely all around.
There’s been a whole lot happening in my craft brain over recent months, and it’s all exciting and stimulating (and stressful too!). It’s mostly details about my book project, and I’ll be ready to start sharing bits of news about that a little later this spring. But while trying to balance demands of the book-to-be with the rest of my life, I’ve found tiny bits of time around the edges to work on a few of my own creative exploits.
I have lived in New York for over seven years, and by now I feel at home. But on many days I still haul myself home, exhausted by the unexpected and unexplainable weight of daily life here. And after too many days in a row like that, it can take a grand gesture on the part of city life to offer me needed perspective. My attendance at Lotta Jansdotter‘s surface printing workshop this past weekend did the trick to remind me of one of the reasons I do love New York: the easy proximity and friendly accessibility of so many talented designers and makers.
It all started with potato carving.
I’m currently working on a book, a crafter’s library companion. It’s going to have a bunch of library collection-inspired projects by a cast of talented contributors, and it’ll also include heaps of guidance to help you learn how to find and use library collections both in person and online for your own creative inspiration and information. I’m working on the guidance section right now, and I wanted to ask fellow crafters for help.