Saturday, February 5, 2011

Crafternoon at the NY Public Library

I, along with what seemed like 200 other New Yorkers, discovered "Crafternoons" at the New York Public Library today.  Rather, we experienced it today.  Most of us discovered it through the February 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine or her show which was taped February 1st (see my prior post on Martha Stewart) and premiered on Hallmark Channel on February 3rd.  Crafternoons have been going on for about a year and a half at the New York Public Library, hosted by librarian Jessica Pigza of the Rare Book Division and Crafternoon author Maura Madden.  They bring crafters together with inspirational items from the New York Public Library and host afternoons of enthusiastic crafting about once a month (for more information, please see and

I wondered if the grey weather and rain would dissuade folks from attending, but when you combine a Saturday afternoon with free crafts sponsored by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc., there is no keeping back the hoards in New York City.  No reservations were necessary, but the line for entry started forming about 30 minutes before the event was scheduled to start.

The Editor in Chief of the magazine, Vanessa Holden, as well as the Crafts Editor, Athena Preston, were in attendance.  They brought loads and loads of crafting materials to be used during this session (and future sessions), raffled away Martha Stewart prizes of books and crafting goodies, and provided all attendees with a copy of the February issue of the magazine.  Supplies were plentiful, and thanks to the reusable donated supplies as well as the monies raised through the raffle, I imagine that future Crafternoons will also be well-provided for.

I am not sure if past or future sessions will be as ad hoc in terms of the actual crafting, but I was a little surprised by the complete lack of instruction and the chaotic scramble for crafting papers.  I avoided the fray in general, but was reminded of holiday shopping frenzies.  The crafters raced to the papers area, then fought and complained about the lack of access to the papers they wanted.  We were told to make Valentine's Day cards and provided some inspirational examples, but no "how-to" instructions or templates.

The hosts were fun and charming, and crafting en masse in NYC was an unexpected enjoyable activity.  I will also say that I liked the cards I crafted for the occasion (see pictures in this post), and I plan to attend the next session on March 5th.  Fingers crossed that the event remains successful, but personally, I hope that the group size becomes a little more manageable.  Maura Madden had said that past Crafternoons had attracted under 20 people (last month it was 8), so I'm hoping somewhere between 20 and 200 would result a better experience.

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