At Alabama Chanin, we believe DIY projects are integral to sharing creativity and promoting sustainable heirloom-worthy pieces. Bibliocraft: A Modern Crafter’s Guide to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects is a great guide to DIY crafts that utilize a range of library resources for inspiration. Written by rare book librarian Jessica Pigza, this book contains over 20 unique projects and crafts for your home, including the Cyanotype Throw, designed by the Alabama Chanin team.
Pigza walks readers through different types of libraries, collections, and other resources that can foster motivation and provide ideas for the curious and creative. The book shows you how to find the right library for you and also provides information on digital libraries and an array of library catalogs. To get you started on your project, there are lists of recommended library collections from general visual resources to performing arts and film. The book is an informative and inspiring guide for learning about new resources and turning to libraries for discovery. There is something different and special about holding an actual, physical book in your hand that continues to draw me toward libraries. As a designer I find escape within library walls, and as a business owner I find critical information that has helped me grow into who I am as an entrepreneur.
When I began thinking about research topics to explore in library collections, botany and poetry made up my reading list. Each of these elements informed our design of a stenciled, embroidered throw worked Alabama-Chanin style, using organic cotton jersey. The piece features a stencil portraying a hovering moth, which arose from my study of illustrations from pages of Letters from Alabama by English traveler Philip Henry Gosse. Color choices were drawn from Photographs of British Algae, in which Atkins, a botanist in England who learned about the cyanotype photography process from its inventor – Sir John Herschel – used the process to create vivid images of sea plants. Along with these design elements, we added words in the form of a poem by Cecily Parks, entitled “Luna Moth.”
Pale green and pressed against the window screen,
shot through with field, you watch nighttime’s corners
curl with four white eyes, your under-self unfurled
to my one room of world
-excerpt from “Luna Moth”