Monthly Archives: December 2014

Holiday Crafting with Library Manifesto


Today being Christmas Eve, it seems an apt time to share some festive literary tree ornaments. I made them using a neat catalog of rare books from the wonderful Honey & Wax Booksellers. The images of first edition book covers, with beautifully designed lettering, ornate borders, and darling details, inspired different variations of a DIY tree decoration. (I also used them as gift tags.)

I like simple crafts and this idea, if you couldn’t already tell, is the simplest. All it took was a circle cutter, scissors, and a little glue. I also used ribbon and baker’s twine for hangers. First, using a circle paper cutter I made a front and back circle, then I glued the ribbon or twine on the inside of the back circle and fastened the top circle over it with glue. For a bit of decoration, I used needle and thread to secure the hanger. I let it dry for a moment, and voila! My tree looked infinitely smarter.


I saw the cover of this first American edition of Ulysses on display in an exhibit of Ernst Reichl‘s work at Columbia University last year. I love how the title spans the height of the book, with lines stretching up, down and across the cover. A nerdy detail: Including the book’s spine, I found, added dimension.

This two sided ornament is my favorite. Mitsou is a wordless story of a runaway cat, the picture book was created by the artist Balthus when he was 13 years old. It’s a wonderful reminder of the imagination of young creative minds.




An even simpler method: Choose a page with compelling books on both sides and a hole punch. This John Keats title page is as immaculate as any traditional tree ornament!


Wishing you the best holiday season. Thank you for reading. Next week, I’ll have an end of year reading list.

Weaving an online textile archive


This fall the Andrea Aranow Textile Design Collection launched Textile Hive, an interactive database and window into its digitized collection. The Andrea Aranow collection includes some 40,000 pieces from complete garments to fabric swatches, sourced from 50 different countries. Textile Hive was designed by Andrea Aranow’s son, Caleb Sayan, who started the project five years ago. With the application, Sayan hopes to broaden the audience of the archive to anyone with an internet connection. (You’ll also have to pay a membership fee.)

Aranow got her start in clothing in New York in 1967 when she opened Dakota Transit. There, her handmade leather and snakeskin garments gained the attention of high profile clients like Jimi Hendrix and Betty Davis. When Aranow lived in Peru, doing cultural research for a museum in the 1970s, she became interested in collecting handwoven and industrial fabrics. She traveled in South America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia, often with her two young sons, acquiring fabrics for museums and her own collection. That work grew into what is now one of the largest private textile archives in the world.


While Aranow is still consulting in New York, Sayan moved the collection to Portland, OR and started building Textile Hive.

When Sayan began digitizing the archives, he had little knowledge about building an online research tool of this scope and size. Sayan tried finding examples of archival terms and taxonomies to work from. He looked at the cataloging system used at The Textile Museum in Washington D.C., but it wasn’t a good match. Sayan and his team landed on a taxonomy with over 19 categories, like culture, era, embellishments, and luminescence, and over 2300 terms.



Sayan built custom software to create the experience he had in mind. “I view the application itself as an augmented tool for interacting with the collection,” Sayan said.

Users have different access points into the collection including by place of origin on a map or by cultural aesthetic. Another search tool pins textiles side by side for comparison (shown above). One cool feature brings researchers into the space, where they can browse virtual drawers and shelves that correspond to the physical archive.

Textile Hive was created for art historians and fabric lovers, but would delight anyone with an appreciation for beautiful objects. “I wanted to show how this collection is different from a museum collection, in that it had a point of view and was personal,” said Sayan.

The finished product is a multi-layered application, as unique as the archive it was born from.

Watch a short video about Andrea Aranow and the digital collection here.

Images courtesy of Andrea Aranow Collection/Textile Hive.

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