‘Handmade Crafternoon’

Skull Party

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

We had another fantastic Handmade Crafternoon at the New York Public Library last Saturday, April 14th. Noah Scalin, artist/graphic designer/author/speaker/artistic guru, came up from Virginia to share with us some exercises to inspire creativity. He is the creator of the immensely popular Skull a Day project and the book Skulls, and he has written two books on jumpstarting the creative process, 365: A Daily Creativity Journal and Unstuck.

He brought several cool projects for our crafters to enjoy, including paper skulls to decorate as each individual desired. The ingenious design includes an element that allows the jaw to move.

The resulting skulls were humorous and marked with a variety of techniques. This cool skull incorporates elements of Noah’s Dadaist and found poetry exercises.

I love the colors the artist used for this one – I’ve named it “That ’70s Skull”.

This one is simple and hilarious – a skull topped with a little bow.

The glitter glue that was donated by Martha Stewart last year was very popular with our skull makers – we had loads of glittering skulls.

And this one really put skulls on the map.

Noah’s poetry exercises prompted several interesting poems. My NYPL librarian co-host Jessica Pigza lead groups to the main reading room to find materials for the Bookworm poetry exercise. A young poet named wrote a lovely piece, and even read it for the group.

She inspired other poets (including her mom) to share their pieces with the group as well. Check out her mom’s sweet blog post about the day here. Others played with the Censored poetry exercise, where a poem is created by selecting words from an existing piece of writing and using them to create a new work. The piece below incorporates design elements as well (more glitter!).

It was a very galvanizing afternoon. I’m very thankful to Noah for sharing all of his eye-opening ideas, and as always, thankful to Jessica and the New York Public Library for hosting Handmade Crafternoon.

I was also thrilled to see my dear friend Myra Greene‘s incredible work as part of the library’s Photography and Ruin exhibit. It’s open through May 6th and well worth seeing.

Please join us for the last Handmade Crafternoon of the season on May 12th. We are very excited to welcome Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom fabrics. We’ll be making party garlands. It feels like the perfect way to kick off summer, the season of outdoor parties!

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Soaking up the Design*Sponge

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Last month we had a fantastic kick off to our fall season of Handmade Crafternoons at the NYPL.

To celebrate the launch of her new and totally swoon-worthy book, Design*Sponge at Home, Grace Bonney (pictured above chatting with a lady in red) showed our guests how to make handmade stamps for printing on fabric.

She and her Design*Sponge colleague Amy Azzarito donated tons of amazing supplies to the event, from the foam for making the sponges to gorgeous colors of fabric paint. They also brought a bunch of lovely templates for guests to use when creating their masterpieces.

It was a totally packed house, and as always, our amazing crafters created an inspiring variety of designs.

These pretty pachyderms were drawn by a guest.

Another clever attendee created this pastoral scene with stamps from the design*sponge templates.

This sweet tote used the same stamp first with white fabric paint, then with yellow, creating a very subtle effect.

I want these napkins!!!

Below is another example of same stamp, different color effect. I love the way it looks, especially with those fresh colors.

It was a group of very happy crafters. Many thanks to Grace and Amy to kicking off their book tour at Handmade Crafternoon.

This Saturday from 2-4pm, we’re having our second Handmade Crafternoon of the Fall. We will welcome knit and crochet designer Lisa Daehlin who will show us some simple techniques for making knitted and crocheted lace.

We’ll have some supplies, but if you have the following please bring: DK or heavier weight yarn, a size G or H crochet hook, size 50 knitting needles, and a hairpin loom.  And my wonderful co-host Jessica Pigza will bring a fabulous selection of books on lace from the New York Public Library‘s collection. The event is free as always, but reservations are welcome. To reserve your spot, please write to handmade@nypl.org with your name and the date of this event. Hope to see you at the Library!

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Q & A with Kata Golda

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Our Handmade Crafternoon at the New York Public Library last Saturday was a fantastic event. Almost 80 people turned out to learn some new paper-folding skills from the talented Esther K. Smith and browse the wonderful selection of library books pulled by Jessica Pigza. Jessica was kind enough to make a list of the books she pulled for the event, and it’s a fantastic resource for all of your future book arts projects. Thanks to the NYPL, Jessica, Esther and all of the eager crafters who came out and created.

On March 20th, we are thrilled to welcome the wonderful Kata Golda, who will be joining us all the way from Washington state.  Kata is the author of Hand Stitched Felt, a charming book full of sweet patterns and ideas for all sorts of lovely felt projects, as well as wonderful advice on crafting. She was kind enough to answer some of my questions about her life and her craft, and take some delightful photos to illustrate.

What is a day in the life of Kata Golda like?

i try hard to make sure that each day holds a very quiet early morning. this is when i 1. organize my sewing basket with the days projects, even if these projects are not priorities they are usually easy things to pick up and work on when i am interrupted all day long.

sewingbasket

2. make a list of what i have to do (return phone calls) and what i want to do (work on an illustration for a project).

desk_am

3. i like to do my written correspondence in the early morning and all of my writing…..no interruptions. as the darkness becomes light getting outdoors is essential….a run, a walk in the woods, the garden. it has taken me years to recognize that this time spent lessens the stress and makes me see the joy in what i do. i am reminded that i love what i do but because i make a list for the day that i could not possibly finish in a week i will always feel unsuccessful….so i rethink my priorities with thorough completion of one or a few things being the goal. i am a homeschooling parent, a gardener, a lover of the sunshine and the outdoors and a cook. as i shift gears from project to project i always put things back in their place, otherwise i become overwhelmed by the chaos. at the end of the day it is essential to leave enough time to clean up so i can start the next day with every tool back where it belongs and freshly sharpened pencils.

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You work with a group of women in your town to make the creations you sell all around the world. Does everyone work on their own projects at home, or do you all gather in one place to work, more like a quilting bee or a Crafternoon?

i work solitary and so do the few people that i work with. we all have different and specific things we do. we also live in oregon, washington and california.

You talk about the fact that your grandmother was a crafter and your mother is one as well. Does your daughter love crafting as much as you do? If so, how are your crafting styles different from one another?

i come from a crafty background..grandmother to mother (joy, to whom my book is dedicated). my daughter although good with fine motor skills, understanding and explaining, at this stage in her life, would rather be roller skating, playing basketball or exploring on her bicycle. that said she will be my enthusiastic and skilled helper at crafternoon.

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(Per Kata, pictured above is the darling project we’ll be making at the March Crafternoon!)

In the introduction to Hand Stitched Felt you describe how your stitching style underwent a dramatic change as you started working with felt, transforming from perfect stitches used for quilting to “larger, more irregular stitches”. You say, “I fancied the way the ‘imperfections’ in my stitches showed the presence of my hand in the work.” I am also a firm believer in wabi-sabi, which is the Japanese concept of the beauty in imperfection. Do you ever revisit those “perfect” stitches of your past, or have you found that once you embraced imperfection, perfection lost its appeal?

kata golda stitch

i don’t really think about perfect and imperfect stitches. i just stitch the way i do. writing the book made me consider this and that was part of the great joy in working on Hand -Stitched Felt…to think about what i do and the way i do things…life just moves so quickly forward, i am grateful for this experience to reflect.

I’m a huge fan of your felt maker, Oh Ma Felt. How did you meet Sorcha and how did the partnership come to be?

ohmafelt

my felt is made by OhMa Felt. Sorcha, my dear friend, started dying felt for me when i was having trouble with color consistency and safety issues with the plant dyed felt (i make things for children and need to pass safety tests). she came up with formulas for fabulous colors and child safe and consistent color! she dyes all of the felt that i use.

What is it like to be a small craft business owner? What is the biggest headache and what is the greatest reward?

i absolutely love what i do although it does present its set of challenges. i often feel overwhelmed and have a difficult time stopping working…that said i am so lucky to spend my days doing what i love to do. there are of course logistics of running a business that i don’t enjoy…dealing with past due invoices, worrying that i will run out of ideas and worrying that i will fail as it is all up to me to keep it rolling….sometimes at these moments i see the real appeal of a job that you leave at 5pm.

What is your next big project?

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Next big project…i’ve got quite a few things brewing….they include working on another craft book and constructing large, movable characters (similar to the stuffed animal family in my book) for a stop motion and still photography project.

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