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Posts by Jessica Pigza

Lacework from 1598.

These three images are all from an 1891 facsimile of a lacework pattern book first printed in 1598 called Nouveaux pourtraicts de pointe coupé et dantelles en petite, moyenne et grande forme.

I can imagine these lovely and elegant geometric patterns re-used in many ways: embossed on card stock, made into sunprints, and perhaps even stitched onto paper using the pierced and embroidered technique that we’ll be learning at

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All About Next Week’s Handmade: Crafternoon.

On Saturday, September 12th, Maura Madden (author of Crafternoon) and I will kick off our Handmade: Crafternoon series, and we hope that you can join us. This crafty gathering is free, and there’s no advance registration required. Here’s what’s in store for you that day: Two special guests will join us and share their approaches to crafting with unusual and alternative materials. Jessica Vitkus (author of

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A Wise Old Owl.

I’m often amazed by how paper sculptors--working with a practically two-dimensional material, and one that is treated as quite ephemeral--can create inventive and elegant sculptural forms. Artists whose work in paper I’ve been admiring quite a bit lately include Su Blackwell, who conjures complex literary scenes from book pages, and Yuken Teruya, whose tiny forest worlds created from discarded paper bags and rolls invite us to reconsider habits of consumption.

Would 

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Mark Your Calendar for Handmade: Crafternoons!

Calling all craft-loving, library-loving readers! Please join me and my co-host Maura Madden (author of the amazing guide to crafty gatherings, Crafternoon) for a new FREE monthly series called Handmade: Crafternoons! Each day we'll focus on a different handmaking theme, and I'll post details about them here on the blog in advance of the date. What's in store for you at a Handmade: Crafternoon? Each event will include an inspiring spread of books and magazines (especially vintage books 

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The Craft of the Book: Reading List.

This past Saturday I taught The Craft of the Book and, as usual, I had a great time meeting attendees and learning what brings them to the Library. My classes always include a little spread of books from the Library’s collection to give people a peek at what we offer. And below, as requested by a few of the students, I have listed the books shown that day (with links to the Catalog records for each). Thanks for coming! 

Paper cutting by Annye Allison

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The Craft of the Book: Saturday the 25th, 2:00pm.

It might be summer, but at the Library class is in session--craft of the book class, that is. If you would like to learn more about hand-press era bookmaking, come to the Library Saturday afternoon for an illustrated talk on the craftsmanship of paper making, printing, and bookbinding.

And I'll have some books from the collection to share too. It's a free class, and you don't need to register. And attendees get to take home a handy guide to the subject (pictured above, atop a great wood type specimen book that I'll have to share too!). This 

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The Craft of the Book--TONIGHT!

Interested in learning how books were made during the hand-press era? If so, please join me at the Library this evening for an illustrated history of the craftsmanship of paper making, printing, and bookbinding. I’ll be gathering some how-to books on book arts from our collections to share with you too, to help you get started making books.

There's no need to register, and it’s a free class—here are the details:

Wednesday June 10th, 6:00 to 7:00pm (classroom will open at 5:45pm) New York Public Library

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DIY for the Kindergarten Set.

Last weekend, as I sat and ate my lunch in Bryant Park, I had the unexpected treat of listening to Geoffrey Hayes read from his children’s comic book Benny and Penny in Just Pretend. The day’s readings and activities were linked to Children’s Book Week, which runs all this week. And I left the park thinking about children’s books that I loved when I was little—books that encouraged me to make, create, and 

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Lawyers for the Arts at NYPL.

Many New York artists and makers will at some point face the befuddling legal issues of intellectual property, copyright, and more. To help to answer your questions and set you on the path to being legal-savvy in your own creative work, NYPL’s Mid-Manhattan Library will present Ask the Lawyer: An Artist Career Development Lecture on Monday May 11th, at 6:30pm. This event, hosted by the Art Collection, is one in a series addressing the growing needs and concerns of New York City's independent creative workforce.

Presented in 

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Meet the Makers!

We're pretty excited at the Library today, because tonight is the debut screening of a documentary short of Design by the Book at the Brooklyn Arts Council Film Festival!

Design by the Book began life as a series here at NYPL, co-produced by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge. It follows the experiences of five 

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American Textiledom.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been doing so much sewing at home in recent weeks (and therefore spending lots of time shopping for fabrics), but I’ve been feeling awfully textile-centric as of late. Or perhaps it’s because I’ve been I’ve been spending time getting to know a textile industry periodical called American Fabrics at the Library.

American Fabrics (and its successor,

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Easter Egg Dyeing, Inspired by the WPA Era.

I’ve been spending some time as of late with a 1945 book called Creative Hands: An Introduction to Craft Techniques, written by Doris Cox and Barbara Warren Weismann, who worked closely with the WPA Handicraft Projects of Minneapolis and Milwaukee in bringing the book together. Their book covers a broad range of crafts, from block printing to needlepoint, from soldering to button making. But the section that caught my eye last week was called Eggs in One Basket, in which Cox and Weismann offer egg-decorating techniques from 

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Cards for Easter.

Are you thinking about making some Easter cards this year? If you are, and if you are hungry for ideas, look no further than the Digital Gallery and its hundreds of inspiring vintage Easter cards. Here are a few of my favorites of the moment: Play ball, rabbits! 

Chicks who have wrecked their car!  And hens, doing what they do 

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An Artist Dialogue with Deirdre Donohue.

 Monday March 16th might just be the best day to visit Deirdre Donohue's art installation, Sevdah, at the Mid-Manhattan Library, because on that evening the artist herself will be there, in conversation with Bernard Yenelouis, curator and educator at the School of the International Center of Photography. This event begins at 6:30pm, Monday 3/16/09. I'm drawn into Donohue's work because of the intensity of the details that she creates using a traditional medium, embroidery, on a large scale. When I 

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What's Your Inspiration? Design by the Book Flickr Group!

Did you enjoy following the adventures of our Design by the Book artists as they found inspiration at NYPL? Do you want to dig in to the Library's collections too, to find materials to fuel your own creativity? If so, then check out my User's Guide to NYPL for DIY Designers and Artisans--it will get you up to speed on the treasures and the quirks of the entire Library system. And with it in hand you can start your own hunt for inspiring stuff.

Once 

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Design by the Book--The Big Reveal.

It's been grand working with our Design by the Book artists Lorena Barrezueta, Rebecca Kutys, Mike Perry, John Pomp, and Julia Rothman. They never failed to surprise me in their interests and their unexpected uses of what they found at the Library. In this, the last episode, they share their Library-inspired 

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Make Handmade Nation Your Valentine.

This week's a big one for the craft-conscious of New York City, because Handmade Nation--which is both a film AND a book available at the Library--comes to town!

This long-awaited documentary of the indie craft movement will have its New York premiere at the Museum of Arts and Design on Thursday evening. In addition to the screening, director Faythe Levine will be there to talk with artists Mandy Greer,

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Handmade Class Book List.

I had a such a great time meeting those of you who came to my class on Friday--thanks for being there and for contributing so much to the discussion. I hope that you'll come back to dig into our collections in the future. In the meantime, as suggested by one attendee, I've put together the following list of magazines and books that I had in the classroom, for your reference:

Bernat's Handicrafter

Embroidery: The Journal of the Embroiderers' Guild 

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Class Is in Session.

 It's time for all you would-be crafters and makers to come to the library! This Friday afternoon I'll be offering a free one-hour introduction to the Library's resources--both vintage publications and online sources--that I hope will inform and inspire you in your own DIY endeavors. I'll also bring along a stack of books and magazines to share, to give you a taste of what's waiting for you in the stacks. The classroom opens at 3:00, and class starts at 3:15. There’s no registration and the class is free; just come on in and grab a seat! Here are the 

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Embroidery--Decades and Decades of it.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about embroidery lately. It all started when I read all about the Bard Graduate Center’s exhibition ‘Twixt Art and Nature. I admit that I’ve not seen the exhibition yet, but that won’t stop me from recommending it based on what friends have reported to me—so go see it before it closes on April 12th. I’m also pretty excited about the Bard’s exhibition-related 

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