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Blog Posts by Subject: Design

Book Arts at Handmade Crafternoon.

This weekend we launch our spring 2010 series of Handmade Crafternoons--free hands-on salons that allow you to learn from inspiring working artists, try your hand at making something new, and browse selections from the Library's research collections. I hope that you'll join us this Saturday afternoon as book artist Esther K. Smith, author of How to Make Books,

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Mark Your Calendars for Spring 2010 Handmade Crafternoons!

Happy 2010, curious crafters!  It's time to mark your calendars for the next round of Handmade Crafternoons, the Library's free series of DIY days co-hosted by yours truly and Crafternoon author Maura Madden.  Here's the line-up:

Saturday, February 20, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Esther K. Smith, author of How to Make Books, Magic Books & Paper Toys, and The Paper Bride, will wow us 

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A Train Ride Through Time: An Exhibit of New Year's Greetings from the Picture Collection

Journey through Time with the Picture CollectionEnter the doors of the Schwarzman Building from Fifth Avenue this week and you will find yourself, as usual at this time of year, in a jolly space with a giant Christmas tree adorned with all the trimmings of the season. But that's not the only marvel to behold.

A few weeks ago I happened to be wandering through the halls when the holiday decorations were being installed, and the festive spirit of the place, with its red ribbon and wreaths and pine and reflective gold and 

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Liar: A Review

I'm not even sure where to start this review there's so much going on with this book. The plot in Justine Larbelestier's

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New York's Early Gravestone Imagery - Program at the Mid-Manhattan Library on Tuesday, Oct 20th at 6:30 PM

In the Rossville section of Staten Island there is a small little graveyard. It is hidden away, on the side of a two-lane road. This tiny graveyard seems out of place in an area that is dotted with light industry and that’s about it. The smattering of houses that probably once existed, as well as a store or two are long gone. Perhaps there was a ferry crossing here and a depot too, but whatever was here long ago is only represented by an early 19th century graveyard. The graveyard sits on a bit of land that is on the water, near the infamous

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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.


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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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Bibliographies (not biographies)

 As a librarian, I am a list maker, and lately I have been lucky enough to review the bibliography titles in the Mid-Manhattan Library Art Collection. Bibliographies are elaborate lists that contain citations, and sometimes abstracts, of other books, journal articles, etc., that relate to a focused subject. If you have ever written a research paper, you probably created a bibliography at the end, listing the publication information of the materials you used in your research process.


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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.


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Double Take

It seems that my idea of Richard Bruce Cheney as a two dimensional nefarious character was hardly original, but this manifestation of others’ lack of imagination is mind boggling. Exhibit A, the cover for Charlie Savage’s Takeover:

Exhibit B, the cover for Barton Gellman’s Angler:

Hat-tip to the Bernstein selection committee 

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Alvin Lustig

A few days ago, I remembered that I liked Design Observer—a collective blog that occasionally includes posts from the great Steven Heller. Anyway, there was a post or a link or some other worm hole a few months ago that led to a Flickr page of book covers designed by Alvin Lustig for New Directions in the late 1940’s. 

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