‘new york public library’

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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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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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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Exciting Crafternews & Crafternoon in Brooklyn on Sunday!

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Exciting newsflash: this fall I will be hosting Crafternoons at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library! These are going to be really exciting Crafternoons, free as always and open to everyone, but this time they’ll be in that big, beautiful building with the lions on the steps! I adore libraries and I’ve got chills just thinking about how exciting it will be to get crafty in those hallowed halls this fall.

Join me and crafty librarian Jessica Pigza (aka The Handmade Librarian) for a series of DIY days at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (aka The Ghostbusters Library at 42nd and Fifth Avenue).

Busting Makes Me Feel Good!

Though I cannot promise you Venkman and the rest of the Ghostbusters crew, I can promise that each Crafternoon will include a hands-on project, an inspiring spread of vintage books and magazines from the Library’s collections, and appearances by special guest makers and DIY authors.

I will post details on the craft projects and special guests for each date right here and Jessica will post them on the Handmade at NYPL Blog this fall, so check back for more information. But in the meantime, put these dates on hold. You won’t want to miss these crafty times!

Crafternoons at the NYPL
Saturday, September 12, 2:00 – 4:00pm

Saturday, October 10, 2:00 – 4:00pm

Saturday, November 14, 2:00 – 4:00pm

Saturday, December 12, 2:00 – 4:00pm

But summer’s not over yet, and thank goodness for that. Summer is kind of the best, don’t you think? And with all the fun that summer provides, don’t you want to say thank you? Join me on Sunday in Brooklyn for a papercraft Crafternoon focused on creating handmade thank you notes. We’ll cut, stamp and collage our way to making unique expressions of gratitude.

Some materials and snacks will be provided, but feel free to bring some of your own to share. Hope to get crafty with you soon!

Papercraft Crafternoon at Word
When: Sunday, 8/2, from 3-6pm
Where: Word, 126 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY


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Love in the Crafternoon (and in the Library)

Friday, February 6th, 2009

In just nine short days, hearts will be all aflutter in the name of love. And you can count my heart among them, ’cause I am all about the valentines. Even during my single-est days, I still dug the sweetest of all holidays, since it’s a great excuse to make cards for all of your loved ones, not just your kissing buddies. In fact, Crafternoon was born from a valentine-making party I threw for my momma back in 2002, so of course I’ve got a soft spot for the 14th of February.

And this Sunday I’m going to be hosting my annual Love in the Crafternoon at my friend Samara’s beautiful children’s art center, The Painted Cloud. I absolutely cannot wait to get crazy with some gluesticks. But I’ve got some prep work to do! Saturday is baking-and-paper-mining day. Yes, I have to go through my stacks of delightful craft items and pull out a pile big enough to excite the crafty masses, but small enough to transport to Williamsburg. And I’ve got to make a sweet treat or two to feed my crafters. I’m thinking lemon squares might be a bright and cheery addition to a wintery weekend.

I promise to take lots of pictures, like the one at the top of this post. That’s a sweet something that my friend David made last year. I couldn’t agree with the sentiment more. Valentine’s Day is definitely not for clones, and hosting your own Crafternoon guarantees your day will be a totally unique celebration.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for inspiration, why not head to your local library and ask a librarian to pull a few cool craft books from the stacks? Last night I had the good fortune to attend the finale party for Design by the Book, a collaboration between Design Sponge and The New York Public Library. The concept of Design by the Book is this:

Step One: Bring a group of designers to the New York Public Library to have them meet with a librarian and discuss their areas of interest.

Step Two: Send the librarian off to do some research.

Step Three: Have the designers return to the library to review the books that were pulled for them.

Step Four: Send the designers off to embark on a new project using something they found in the library as their inspiration.

The results are fantastic. The collaboration was documented on video and the episodes can be seen by clicking the link above or heading to the NYPL youtube channel. Who knew the library had a youtube channel? My talented friend Rebecca Kutys of Moontree Letterpress was one of designers involved with the project, as well as the person who came up with the idea in the first place. She and the other designers came up with such incredible projects. It makes me want to go spend this whole weekend in the library, but that will have to wait. I’ve got a lot of love notes to craft.

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