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Blog Posts by Subject: Crafts

Earth-Friendly Crafting, Then and Now.

If you like to make stuff, chances are that when Earth Day arrives each year "green" handicrafts come to mind.  Perhaps you make new items from materials that others would consider wornout or trash; or maybe you seek out all-natural materials for your crafts.  If crafting of this kind  interests you, you might want to look back in time at how crafters from decades past approached "green" crafting. 

Here are some vintage books from the Library worth browsing both for entertainment and information:

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Crafternoon Favorites, Old and New

This weekend's Handmade Crafternoon was full of industrious, creative attendees—I never fail to be wowed by the skills, enthusiasms, and interests each member of our community brings to Handmade Crafternoons. 

Thanks so much for joining us!  My thanks also go out to Maura Madden for making us laugh while introducing us to some of her favorite books, both old and new, from the Library's collections. 

Here are the books we browsed with her on Saturday:

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Share the Fun at April 17th's Handmade Crafternoon

Get ready, because you are the star at this Saturday's Handmade Crafternoon!  We invite you, our attendees, to bring your own craft projects to work on in the company of friends.

Maura Madden, my favorite expert at creating crafty social gatherings, will lead the afternoon and will share some of her favorite projects and craft books. Don't want to BYOC (that is, bring your own craft)?  Between crafty things? No worries—we'll have craft 

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Hand-Stitched Mice at Handmade Crafternoon.

Don't worry! Our felt mice won't be frightening-- unless you want yours to be!Our next Handmade Crafternoon is in just two days, and my co-host Maura Madden and I hope that you will join us.  We've lined up a sweet special guest, Kata Golda, who makes extraordinary little toys and creatures out of felt  (and whose book Hand-Stitched Felt is a great guide to making your 

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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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December 12th's Handmade: Crafternoon.

Interested in quilts, handmade clothes, and what goes into the work of fabric and pattern design? Then mark your calendars to come to December’s Handmade: Crafternoon and meet some modern women of craft who work wonders with textiles.

Heather Ross, author of Weekend Sewing; Denyse Schmidt, author of Denyse Schmidt Quilts; and 

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November 14th's Handmade: Crafternoon.

November’s Handmade: Crafternoon will be all about paper and books! And really, is there anything better?

If you’d like to try your hand at some basic book making (both sewn bindings and not), origami, or other paper-based creations, please come along! Our special guest will be artist and maker Mike Perry, who will share his creative expertise on this fun afternoon. We’ll have lots of supplies on hand to share so that you can make your own handmade book!

Here are the details: Date and time: Saturday, November 14th, 

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October 10th’s Handmade: Crafternoon.

Maura and I hope that you had as much fun as we did at our inaugural Handmade: Crafternoon last weekend! If you would like another chance to meet fellow crafty library-goers, see books and magazines from the Library’s collection, and try out new creative skills, please join us for our next Handmade: Crafternoon in October.

On Saturday, October 10th, Sabrina Gschwandtner, author of KnitKnit, and

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Crafters, Time Is On Your Side.

Today's big news around the Library? Our newly expanded hours at a number of locations across the city, including my own home base, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, and the Mid-Manhattan Library right across the street. (Check out this announcement for all of the details.)

What does this mean for 

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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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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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Kids' Crafts at the Mulberry Street Library

At the Mulberry Street Library, we host a monthly craft program in the Children’s Room called Kids’ Crafts. Children ages 5 years and up are invited to come to the library to work on simple seasonal crafts, from paper plate turkeys in November to St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun puppets in March.

This summer we made all kinds of bug crafts in honor of the Summer Reading Program’s theme, “Catch the Reading Bug." In June, we made bouncy paper caterpillars with colorful construction paper. In July, we made clothespin butterflies with tissue paper 

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Craftsmen of 1950s Paris.

Bastille Day is just around the corner, and its arrival has led me to think more about the Paris depicted in a book that I recently read. Nancy Mitford's Don't Tell Alfred is set in mid-20th century Paris. This tale follows the misadventures of an unseasoned English ambassadress and her awful and entertaining relatives--from her Teddy Boy sons to her swooning niece/secretary, and from her mother (known as The Bolter) to her uncle Davey (a voracious consumer of medical 

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Craft Therapy, Then and Now.

Staten Island's Halloran General Hospital, home of crafty recovering soldiers during World War II.

A few weeks ago at a Handmade Then and Now class (I'll teach this class next on July 16th at 2:15pm), I met a number of creative people, including a knitter named Maxine Levinson. Maxine works at the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department of the Kravis Children's Hospital at Mount Sinai, where she teaches young patients and their families how to knit. I learned from Maxine how knitting, 

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Get your craft on at the Library.

Mark your calendars for May's round of classes!

I was just browsing the Library's May events schedule and am happy to report that Library branches across the city will be offering lots of craft classes for a variety of ages this month. Search the calendar for these keywords--knitting, needlecraft, craft, origami, jewelry, crochet--and you'll find knitting circles, children's needlecraft lessons, my own HandMade Then and Now, origami classes, jewelry making instruction, and more. So come to the Library and join our community of handmakers.

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Church of Craft.

Quakers gather to quilt.

While standing in line waiting for the doors to open for the Craftacular last Sunday morning, I overheard this snippet of conversation:

Lady A: Where are ---? Weren't they coming? Lady B: They're at church. They'll come here after and meet us. Lady A: Church? This is MY church!

And Lady A has, indeed, hit upon a truth. Creative acts have a role in spirituality that goes far beyond singing in church choirs. Anyone who knows of the meditative nature of knitting, or the way that focusing one's physical and mental 

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