Last night, I ventured into north Brooklyn (just a few blocks from where I lived a few years ago, but a bit of a trek from my current south-of-the-park neighborhood) for the release party of Jessica Pigza’s fabulous new book, BiblioCraft. Jessica is a rare-books librarian at NYPL and a life-long crafter and her book combines these interests in an innovative way, offering dozens of ideas for ways to use library holdings for inspiration. She got a rock-star list of contributors (Natalie Chanin, Grace Bonney, Liesl Gisbon, Gretchn Hirsch…) to offer their own beautiful library-inspired crafts, but also writes a lot about using online image sources and how to effectively and efficiently deploy your local resources, library or otherwise.
I had the pleasure of visiting her at work a few months ago when I was interviewing her for Library Journal. She had pulled out some of her favorite items for us to look at. That’s a hand-drawn book of fern specimens open in front of her.
It’s a little hard to tell, but all of the motifs in the example below (a marketing tool for a man offering his penmanship services) are drawn in a single line without the pen being picked up—ideal for embroidery. Apparently I didn’t photograph them, but the NYPL has a number of books of watermarks that would make exceptional embroidery motifs since they’re necessarily so simple and graphic.
And this wasn’t precisely craft related, but it was fun: a card game to learn semaphore, hand flag, and morse code signals.We think this spells out Klose. Many of the signals were very similar; it’s a little difficult to imagine transmitting a message this way to someone on a far-away ship.