‘Jessica Pigza’

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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Hello Dolly! with Oliver and S

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

On a glorious spring day, we had a fabulous turnout of eager crafters ready to make paper dolls with Liesl Gibson of Oliver and S.

Liesl has such great energy! She just makes everyone feel warm and at home right from the start. We were so glad to welcome her back to the NYPL.

That’s Liesl showing Lindsy, one of our unofficial volunteers, how to make a magnetic paper doll.

Our attendees dove right in and made a wonderful variety of dolls. Most of them were created from the Oliver and S paper dolls and templates, and many of them were dressed in the gorgeous Oliver and S fabrics or the fabrics from Liesl’s new collection of patterns and fabric for women called Lisette.

Some people made dolls from images Jessica Pigza had printed from the library’s collection. The Victorian lady on the left is one example.

Others just made their own templates and designs.

At our raffle, we had a plethora of generous donations: brand new patterns from Oliver and S (so new they aren’t available anywhere except to our lucky patrons!), a goodie bag from Pins and Needles sewing shop, some fashion kits for kids from West Side Kids and of course, Liesl’s book Little Things to Sew, donated by STC Crafts.

And here’s a fun post-script: I was happy to go home with a treat from an attendee named Janice.

Janice decorates these gorgeous little chocolate bars, which would make lovely favors for any party. I told her I’d spread the good word, so email Janice at Tante23@msn.com if you want to order some!

Of note: Janice heard about Handmade Crafternoon because she was in the audience the day we did the Martha Stewart Show. It’s nice to know our attendees find us in so many different ways.

Enjoy your sunny, crafty Sunday!

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Crafting with Kata

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

This Saturday’s Handmade Crafternoon at the New York Public Library was a total joy. On the warmest, sunniest day of the year, I was thrilled that we had a turnout of nearly 50 people to learn felt crafting from the lovely and talented Kata Golda.

We made adorable finger puppets like these samples that Kata brought with her.


We had a lovely pile of gorgeous felt donated by Kata and the woman who hand dyes all of Kata’s felt, Sorcha of OhMa Felt. We have lots of leftovers, so we’ll be able to do many felty crafts in their future thanks to their generosity. I like this shot of one of the felt piles, drenched by the sun on a big library windowsill.


The finger puppets are very simple to make, and Kata was a very clear and warm instructor, making sure that everyone felt comfortable doing the craft, no matter what their skill set. She’s precisely the sort of teacher I adore! Here she is showing us how to split threads for embroidery floss. Turns out you should split from the middle to avoid tangles. You learn a new thing at every Crafternoon.


These are just three of the puppets made by our gifted attendees.


Kata also brought a lovely selection of her other felt work, like this incredibly sweet group of creatures.


Everything she makes has a magical charm to it.


Every finger puppet family needs a bed, and Kata made sure that hers have a very cozy one.


Kata’s darling daughter Odette and their dear friend Amy are along for Kata’s trip and were wonderful assistant teachers. Here are the three Pacific Northwesterners with my kind co-host, Jessica Pigza, and the finger puppets they crafted.


And I managed to get a picture with the Golda girls and Jessica. I’m holding the felt toy that I just finished making for a baby shower. It was easy to make because I followed the clear and fun instructions and templates from Kata’s book, Hand-Stitched Felt. I’m thrilled with how it turned out, which is a testament to Kata’s great writing and illustrations.


I’m so thankful that Kata was able to make the long journey cross country to share her time with us. Even on a perfect sunny day, I always have an amazing time crafting at the library. I even had time to whip up a little bunny puppet.


Our great guests and lovely space make Handmade Crafternoon the perfect place to spend the day. If I do say so myself.

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See You this Saturday at the Library

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

The next afternoon of craftiness is nearly upon us, and I can hardly wait. Last Crafternoon we had the talented Esther K. Smith on hand to share her collection of letterpress art and to show us some of paper works from her latest book, The Paper Bride.


Esther taught us how to make a garland guest book.


Using the basic folds she taught us, you could also get creative and make other shapes and objects, like the gorgeous crown my brother’s lovely girlfriend Emmy made, pictured below.


As always, we had a tremendous turnout and it was a great day.


This Saturday, March 20th, Kata Golda, author of Hand-Stitched Felt, is coming all the way from Washington state to share her process of making some of the sweetest felt creations to ever roam the earth. So get out your sewing kit and plan to whip up some stitches with us. She’ll be teaching us how to make these darling little mouse finger puppets.


We’ll have some supplies, but if you want to bring your own, Kata suggests that you “bring any scissors that will cut felt and needle with an eye big enough for 6 strands of embroidery floss” (and a sharp point). You could also bring some felt and embroidery floss if you like.

This event is FREE and held from 2-4pm at the main branch of the New York Public Library:

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Margaret Liebman Berger Forum (Room #227, located in the northeast corner of the second floor)

My delightful librarian co-host Jessica Pigza will pull a wonderful selection of books from the library’s vaults for added inspiration. Kata and I will both be available to sign books at the event, which are for sale at The Library Shop.  We hope to see you there!

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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.


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).


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.


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.


(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?


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?


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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Saturday, February 20th – Esther K. Smith at NYPL

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010


This Saturday from 2-4pm, we kick off our 2010 Handmade Crafternoons at the New York Public Library with the delightful, super-talented Esther K. Smith. Esther will demo a few projects from her books and share her paper folding and book making wisdom with our group. Esther is the author of  How to Make Books, Magic Books and Paper Toys and The Paper Bride. She and her husband, Dikko Faust run Purgatory Pie Press, a fine letterpress company.

We will have lots of supplies on hand, but if you want to play it super safe you can bring your own glue stick, scissors, favorite rubber stamps, paper and bone folder. Have glue stick, will travel – that’s my motto.

As always, my wonderful co-host Jessica Pigza will have a wonderful selection of amazing books from the library’s collection to delight and amaze you.


And speaking of books, if you’re feeling Facebookish, RSVP for the event here. And The Library Shop now carries Crafternoon,  as well as all of Esther’s books, so you can pick up copies for your own craft libraries and we’ll be happy to sign them on the spot!

The fun times will take place at the New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building , 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, Margaret Liebman Berger Forum (Room #227). Follow me on Twitter for updates on these events and general microblogging good times. Hope to see you Saturday at the library!

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Next Crafternoon – February 20th at the NYPL

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Saturday, February 20, 2:00 – 4:00pm – Esther K. Smith!
For our first Crafternoon of 2010, we will welcome the absolutely wonderful Esther K. Smith. Esther is the author of the beloved How to Make Books,


as well as the delightful Magic Books and Paper Toys and the just-released, utterly lovely bridal DIY guide The Paper Bride. Esther will demo a few projects from her books and share her paper folding and book making wisdom with our group. As always, my wonderful co-host Jessica Pigza will pull an incredible selection of books related to all things paper, letterpress, and more.

My husband Rufus and I were lucky enough to get a tour of Purgatory Pie Press, the letterpress company Esther runs with her husband, Dikko Faust. We shot some video with them, which Rufus is diligently editing as we speak, so check back here in mid-February for a behind-the-scenes tour of an amazing crafty place.

In the meantime, go make some valentines! The big day of love is right around the corner.

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2010 Handmade Crafternoons at the New York Public Library

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Handmade Crafternoons at the New York Public Library are returning in February, so mark your calendars for more amazing days of FREE crafting and inspiration in one of my favorite places in the world. If you came out this fall, thanks for making our inaugural series such a complete success. Every single Crafternoon was packed with crafters eager to learn from each other and the library. We raised money for the library, we gave away amazing raffle prizes, we made crafts, and we made new friends. And if you missed it, don’t be jealous! Just be sure to join us in February, March, April or May for some amazing crafty days.

My crafty librarian co-host, the remarkable, adorable and wildly knowledgeable Jessica Pigza will continue to pull stacks of jaw-droppingly cool books from the library’s collection to share with you. And we will continue to welcome incredible special guests who are traveling from all over the Crafternoon Nation to spend a little QT will us at the NYPL.

Saturday, February 20, 2:00 – 4:00pm


Esther K. Smith, author of How to Make Books, Magic Books & Paper Toys, and The Paper Bride, will join us for some paper folding and book making good times. Esther is a completely amazing artist and a very cool person, so you will definitely want to join us to learn the ways of the paper from the master herself.


Saturday, March 20, 2:00 – 4:00pm


Hand-Stitched Felt author Kata Golda is coming all the way from Washington state to share her process of making some of the sweetest felt creations to ever roam the earth. Kata is another very cool lady that you’ll most definitely want to meet, so get out your sewing kit and plan to whip out some stitches with us in March.

Saturday, April 17, 2:00 – 4:00pm


I will be leading us in DIY fun while also sharing tips on how to host your very own inspiring Crafternoons. Right now, I’m learning towards doing a decoupage theme, but Jessica is going to help me get some inspiration by helping me do some research in the library, so I might be psyched to craft something completely by the time April rolls around.

Saturday, May 15, 2:00 – 4:00pm

alabama studio style
Natalie Chanin, creative director of Alabama Chanin and author of Alabama Stitch Book and Alabama Studio Style, is paying us a visit from Alabama to show us some of her favorite crafting techniques and talk about the inspiration behind her work. And I think it goes without saying that Natalie is a super cool lady. I haven’t had the chance to meet her yet, so I’m doubly excited to shake her hand and have her share her wisdom in May.


Location for All Events:

New York Public Library

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

Check back here and at Jessica’s NYPL blog: http://www.nypl.org/blog_series/47887 for more details as each event approaches. See you at the library!

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November/December Crafternooniness

Monday, November 9th, 2009

November and December are gearing up to be the Crafternoon-iest months of the year. I’ve got two ‘noons each month in NYC, each with a completely different theme, and all of the delightful details are below.

Saturday, November 14th – Handmade : Crafternoon at the New York Public Library
Time:  2:00 to 4:00pm
November’s Handmade: Crafternoon will be all about basic book making (both sewn bindings and not). Along with my co-host, Jessica Pigza,  our special guest will be the amazing, prolific artist Mike Perry. He will share his book arts expertise, and we’ll have lots of supplies on hand to share so that you can make your own handmade book!
Location: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building , 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, Margaret Liebman Berger Forum (Room #227, located in the northeast corner of the second floor)
Admission: FREE
Links:  http://handmadelibrarian.com/
Sunday, November 22nd: Second Annual Charitable Crafternoon at WORD
Time: 2-4pm
Join me for an afternoon of crafting for a good cause. Crafters of all ages are welcome to help us make Thanksgiving cards and decorations for the food pantry at the Greenpoint Reformed Church.
Want to do some crafty homework? Donate a handknit or crocheted hat, scarf, or pair of mittens. And we’ll have some yarn and knitting needles on hand if you need to add a few rows to a scarf or a pompom to a hat.
Location: Word, 126 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY
Admission: Please bring two cans of food or a handmade winter accessory to the event. And feel free to bring other snacks and beverages to share with your fellow crafters.
Links:  http://greenpointchurch.org/ministries/emergency-needs
Saturday, December 5th: Holiday Ornament Extravaganza at SpaceCraft in Brooklyn
Time: 1:30 to 3:30
Join me for an afternoon making ornaments for all the things in your life that need festive decorations. We’ll be crafting up some clothespin ornaments and adorable Christmas bagels, too, in the warm and cozy Spacecraft space.
Location: Spacecraft, 355 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Admission: $5
Link: http://spacecraftbrooklyn.com/
Saturday, December 12th – Handmade: Crafternoon at the New York Public Library
Time: 2:00 to 4:00pm
Join us as we welcome Heather Ross, author of Weekend Sewing and two other textile mavens: Denyse Schmidt, author of Denyse Schmidt Quilts; and Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S, will all be on hand to talk about their creative work. And as usual, we’ll have lots of Library books to look at, as well as a spread of materials on hand so you can get started stitching if you wish.
2:00 to 4:00pm
Location:Stephen A. Schwarzman Building , 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, Margaret Liebman Berger Forum (Room #227, located in the northeast corner of the second floor)
Admission: Free
Links: http://www.nypl.org/blogs/2009/09/18/december-12ths-handmade-crafternoon

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