A few weeks ago, my friends Alice, Cathy and Cynthia met up in the center of the state for lunch - halfway for all of us in Leominster (pronounced Lemonster if you live in Massachusetts). It was just what I needed after this really long winter. These friends are kindred creative spirits and when we get together we always share what we are making, gossip about industry and crafting news, and how things are generally going in our lives.
It was sort of like an old-fashioned sewing circle without the sewing because we were tucked into the corner of a busy Panera Restaurant and I doubt they would have liked it if we stayed longer than we did. After lunch, we discovered a huge Jo-Ann's Fabric Store. I'm not a fan of chains but now with the loss of so many indie fabric stores, this chain is one of the last catering to the home sewer and crafter. The one we visited was stocked with all kinds a fantastic products. Seriously, I have never been in a nicer Jo-Ann's. It had an incredible selection of quilting fabrics, all kinds of tools for sewing, embroidery, quilting, scrapbooking supplies, cake decorating, books. The lighting was good and the staff friendly and helpful.
At lunch, there were some knitting projects shared and Cynthia knit while we chatted. She was having a bit of a problem with instructions she didn't understand and Alice had the answer. Alice had on a beautiful guernsey sweater from an old Rowan mag. Cathy smuggled in some of her outrageous homemade brownies that we ate after lunch. I brought a few review copies of some new books, including the one I am writing about today - Bibliocraft by Jessica Pigza.
It is fun when you get to dish with friends about a new book. Of the three books I had with me, this was by far the favorite of all my friends. Here is why - it is extremely useful if you are a designer or crafter making things and being inspired by things of the past. The author Jessica Pigza is a Rare Book Librarian who works at the NY Public Library. Can you imagine that job? Really - to be close to the collections of some of the most amazing things in the world in one of the biggest cities in the world. Seriously - this girl is lucky.
What we all liked about this book is that it had what I call "meat" or maybe you might call substance. In the beginning of Bibliocraft, she explains things about libraries that I didn't know existed. From the library system (branch, research, special collections), to how to find the right library for you (mindblowing info here), to how to plan a library visit (yes - there is a proper way), to how to search. Bibliocraft explains things that I think only librarians know and she does it in a way normal people can understand. Jessica introduces Digital Libraries (with all kinds of links to stumble down that rabbit hole of endless information on the web).
Then there is the chapter on Library Collections - this information for an artist, crafter, and maker is pretty amazing. It is a listing of sources of collections of books - where to go to find inspirational things from craft, home economics, book arts, costume, children's books and more - a lot more.
There is a section on Copyright and what is right and what is wrong to do. There are a lot of people who should read this! She tells her reader what is acceptable and what is not to take and use.
After all this incredibly useful information, there are 20 projects that are designed by "in" crafters, authors, and names in design including but not limited to Jodi Kahn, Mary Corbet , Anna Bondoc, Haley Pierson-Cox, Heather Ross, Natalie Chanin, Grace Bonney, Liesl Gibson, Rebecca Ringquist and more - many are STC authors which should be no surprise since STC/Melanie Falick Crafts published the book. Here is a giant cross-stitch on pegboard by Hailey Pierson-Cox inspired by Illuminated Manuscripts.
Some of the projects are super simple but some more complicated and need more crafting or sewing skills. Each project is followed with a two page spread about the antique "book thing" that inspired it. Here is Rebecca Ringquist's cartouche inspired embroidery....
These are Molly Schnick's Japanese Heraldry Coasters.....
inspired by these beautiful graphics - what we might now call "logos."
Bibliocraft isn't your normal craft book because it is so jam full of useful information. Sure you could find it on the web but this is all in one spot that you can keep on your bookshelf for reference. Maybe if you are a librarian you know all this - and I know there are some of you who are! But if you are like me - this is a very helpful book. If you are a knitter or crocheter, you probably wouldn't look at this book if you heard about it - there are no knit or crochet projects in it. But if you are into other art and crafts and like to dabble in all kinds of projects, this book will be very useful.
Tomorrow I will share with you a project I made inspired by Bibliocraft. For today, I've got a giveaway for one lucky reader.
Answer the following question in the comments section:
Tell me your favorite library or book story. It can be something that happened to you at a library, someone you met at a library or book store who changed your life or a book that means something special to you. Can't wait to hear your stories because I always learn something new about my readers through these giveaways. Thanks for entering and reading.
Contest ends Monday April 21st (Boston Marathon Day!) at 11:59 p.m. As always, please leave an easy way to get a hold of you - email, Rav id, Blogger id. US addresses only!