Making is a Gift for Everyone

One year, when we were young and before we had kids, my husband and I decided to make a large journal/album for my parents for Christmas.  Since this was before the Internet (I know!!), we had to rely on library books and my husband's aesthetic and ability to make anything to make the paper covers and bind it together.  It weighed a ton and was so large it was a bit unwieldy;  the paper covers we made extremely fragile.  But my parents, being who they are, decided to use it to record observations at their cabin in the woods, and soon the pages were filled with animals spotted, weather patterns, and whatever else struck them as interesting.  Reading it some twenty years later, I'm struck by what a gift it is to see their thoughts and observations from that time.

When we started the Craftstitute, one class I knew we had to have on the curriculum was bookbinding.  Being a bit obsessed with the possibilities an empty book offers, and always feeling like the money to purchase one is well spent, I figured it couldn't just be me who felt that way.  To no one's surprise I'm sure, it's rather hard to find someone who knows the art well enough to teach it, so it was somewhat ironic that Maude's name fell into my lap as easily as it did.

I had contacted her husband Gary Rith, an immensely talented potter (the elephant mugs make my heart sing!), and successful artisan.  Someone had told me that he might be willing to teach a workshop, and when I contacted him he mentioned in his reply that his wife was a bookbinder.

Could it be that easy?

Turns out, yes, it could.  Maude Rith is one of those calm, unhurried teachers who knows her craft and skillfully guides you through the steps of putting a book together.  Her first class for us was an introductory class using the simple pamphlet binding to create a sweet journal of archival acid-free paper, meant to last.  Maude brought with her loads of her beautiful handmade paper to use as a cover, and we were given free reign to play with buttons and collage to create a unique gift.


This Saturday, she's teaching us how to use the Japanese stitched binding, which gives you even more freedom creating covers and will make a remarkable gift for an upcoming special event.  I wish I had thought to keep a journal when my husband and I were planning our wedding years ago, and I'm really annoyed that I didn't keep better track of the day to day of my pregnancies, so there are two perfect gift ideas.  If I had known when I was a teen that I could make my own journals, I would have been in heaven.  This is a great class for a teenager looking for a creative outlet.

If you are looking for gifts, either for yourself or those people you love, in Draya's metalsmith class on Sunday students will be making three pairs of earrings, learning a variety of techniques along the way, and using tools that are easy to obtain for the casual DIY'er.  Draya is all kinds of groovy and I LOVE her aesthetic.  Her new shop ThriveNY, a women's wear spin off of Bloom, is everything we could hope to find in the maker community, local artisans working as a collective to make and sell their beautiful products.  Come make earrings with Draya and learn about her new endeavor!

Right after Draya's class, Jesse Harriot of Copper Horse Coffee will be holding his brew methods tasting class.  With four different single-cup brew methods to review and taste, this class is sure to help you identify the best method for your morning routine.  You might even convince Jesse to sell you some freshly roasted coffee.  Just saying.

This week, we started our Open Studio schedule - you can find the link on the bottom of our home page.  We wanted people to have a place where they can go and spread out and create, and hang out with like-minded folks, so we came up with this idea of opening up the school space a couple of times a week for a small fee.  IF you have signed up for a class within the current month, the open studio time fee is waived for the entire month.  All tools at the school will be available to you to use, including the sewing machines, and we'll be around to lend assistance.  Please be sure to check the calendar regularly, as the schedule could change based on class needs.  We'll never change it the day of unless there is an unforeseen emergency.  

Bring a friend or two, a bottle of wine if that's your thing, whatever you're working on at the moment (we have lots of books to inspire if you're casting around for a project), and plan to hang out for a while with other like-minded folks.

Finally, we're looking for instructors for calligraphy and pattern drafting, so if you know of someone drop us a line or give them our contact info!