Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Embroidery 101: It's Not Just For Pillowcases Anymore!

The first Saturday of each month from February through June, the Art, Music and Recreation Center will present a series of hands-on craft events called Good Crafternoon.

Our March 2nd Crafternoon program will be “Embroidery 101: It’s Not Just for Pillowcases Anymore!” in the Sycip Conference room on the 4th floor of the Main Library.

Samples of embroidery go back to ancient times -- some date back to the 3rd century BCE.  Yet this craft is more popular today than ever. Freeform embroidery makes the plain and practical into something creative and colorful.   Embroidery is a fun, inexpensive, portable craft. It is easy to learn, but offers an infinite variety of projects and skill levels. From covering a hole in your favorite jeans to reproducing the Bayeux Tapestries, embroidery is a wonderful way to express your creativity.

In class you will learn how to choose the right tools and materials, where to find designs and inspiration, and how to transfer your designs to your fabric. We will practice the seven most commonly used stitches and apply them in class. You will be able to choose one individual project to take home. The projects are a framable sampler of the stitches you’ve learned, an embroidered covered button, a bookmark or a coffee cup cozy. The fabrics are white cotton, natural linen, or navy blue wool felt. You may also bring a project from home.

All of our Crafternoon programs are limited to 12 participants, so that everyone can get plenty of hands-on attention. In order to guarantee a spot please register ahead of time by calling (415) 557-4525 or emailing our department at

SFPL also has a great collection of embroidery books with thousands of inspiring projects. You will find them on the Fourth Floor in call numbers 746.44 – 746.446.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


The idea behind the Zentangle phenomenon was created accidentally. In 2005, a calligrapher named Maria Thomas was working on designs for the background of a manuscript. She found the work relaxing and gave her a sense of focus. In a discussion with her partner, Rick Roberts, a former Buddhist monk, she expressed how the process felt. He identified this type of drawing as a form of meditation. Together they worked on creating a system that could be taught to others.

Zentangle Untangled, written by Kass Hall, is a good introduction to the practice. The book is divided into two parts. The first part introduces the concept of Zentangle and allays the fears of future Zentanglers about not being creative enough. This meditative approach to drawing works because the focus is not on making a likeness of something in the world, it is on making many lines or circles or squares, building a decorative work. Calm comes with this repetition. The author also mentions how it has helped her keep centered when she was dealing with severe health problems.

To strictly adhere to the Zentangle creed, it is recommended that followers use Fabriano Tiepolo printmaking paper. It is 100% cotton, mold-made and then cut to the dimension of a Zentangle tile. In addition, Zentangle made an agreement with Sakura, a Japanese pen maker so that the pigma micron pen would be its official pen. That being said, this doodler used a sketchpad and a regular writing pen and it seemed to work fine. (Though the pigma micron pens are great to use.)

The second chapter gives instruction on making specific tangles. The tangles that are shown look quite complex, but Hall introduces them from the beginning, showing the progress at six different stages. She also gives the original artist’s name and a bit of history about any inspiration that was used in the design. On the accompanying page are examples of the tangle incorporated into larger works.

The second part of the book deals with different applications of Zentangle. Chapter three goes into rudimentary color theory. In chapter four Hall delves into the pros and cons of using different media to decorate Zentangles, including acrylic, water color and colored pencils. Chapter five discusses journaling, using photographs and digital applications. While it's pleasurable to expand one's Zentangle vocabulary, the author admits that when working in the digital realm one completely loses the meditative benefits.

Below are other books about Zentangle.

741.2 K856o
One zentangle a day : a 6-week course in creative drawing for relaxation, inspiration, and fun by Beckah Krahula (Quarry Books, 2012).

745.4 B2837t
Totally tangled : zentangle and beyond by Sandy Steen Bartholomew.
(Design Originals, 2010).

The subject heading used in the last title above is doodles. Here is the other book in the collection with that heading.

741.3 B3289d
Doodles unleashed : mixed-media techniques for doodling, mark-making & lettering by Traci Bautista
(North Light Books 2012).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Know Your SFPL Call Numbers - 708

According to the Dewey Decimal System, the call number 708 generally consists of works about galleries, museums, and private collections of Fine Arts.

Works about the business aspects of running a gallery are also included in this section (How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery.)  There are books about individual collectors - for instance books about Peter Selz, Charles Saatchi and the Rockefellers all get the call number 708.0092 (the .0092 refering to biographies of Americans).

The call numbers 708.1 through 708.9 are all about museums and museum collections according to their geographical location.  They use the same numbering system as 759 series (paintings and painters), or the 784.49 series (folk songs) to designate each location.

708.1 American museums
708.2 British museums
708.3 German museums
708.4 French museums
708.5 Italian museums
708.6 Spanish museums
708.7 Russian museums
708.8 Scandinavian museums
708.9 Dutch, Belgian and Balkan Museums and Museums outside of America and Europe

There are finer subdivisions within these numbers as well.  For example, 708.1471 is the call number for New York City museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of Modern Art.  More importantly for us, 708.1946 is the call number for San Francisco museums like the Legion of Honor, De Young and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  Remember that the books in this section are about the institution and its permanent collections.  Traveling exhibitions will be cataloged according to their subject matter of the exhibition.

Browse both the circulating, oversize and reference sections of collection.  You can also browse this collection through the online catalog.

Reading list

708.0068 W7291h
How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery by Edward Winkleman (Allworth Press, 2009).

708.0092 R5909L
America's Medicis: The Rockefellers and Their Astonishing Cultural Legacy by Suzanne Loebl (Harper, 2010).  

708.0092 Sa12m
My Name is Charles Saatchi and I Am an Artoholic: Everything You Need to Know About Art, Ads, Life, God and Other Mysteries, and Weren't Afraid to Ask... (New York : Phaidon, 2009).  

708.0092 Se499k
Peter Selz: Sketches of a Life in Art by Paul J. Karlstrom with Ann Heath Karlstrom (University of California Press, 2012).

708.1471 M521m
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012).  

708.1946 Am68m
Museums of San Francisco: A Guide for Residents and Visitors by Margaret C. Amorella (Westholme, 2007).  

708.1946 L5246d
Legion of Honor: Selected Works by Renée Dreyfus (Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, 2007).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New Sports Books for the New Year

Here are a few of the titles we have just arrived on our shelves in the subjects of sports and recreation.  These include histories, appreciations, and instruction guides.  Follow the links below for location information.  Place a hold on title you want to have sent to your branch.

The Last Boys Picked: Helping Boys Who Don't Play Sports Survive Bullies and Boyhood by Janet Sasson Edgette with Beth Margolis Rupp (Berkley Books, 2012) - this title for parents is to help boys for whom the masculine and competitive world of sports and physical education is not a good fit.

Football Skills and Drills by Tom Bass (Human Kinetics, 2012) - has 114 drills to teach the fundamentals of football.

The National Forgotten League: Entertaining Stories and Observations from Pro Football's First Fifty Years by Dan Daly (University of Nebraska Press, 2012) - traces the early history of the National Football in its earlier less professionalized and more idiosyncratic days.

Ajax, The Dutch, The War: The Strange Tale of Soccer During Europe's Darkest Hour by Simon Kuper (Nation Books, 2012) - a weaving together of soccer, World War II, the Dutch, and Nazi persecution of the Jews into a unique history.

The New Rules of Lifting Supercharged: Ten All-New Programs for Men and Women by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove (Avery, 2012) - the latest installment in the New Rules of Lifting fitness and bodybuilding series.

Running for Women by Jason R. Karp and Carolyn S. Smith (Human Kinetics, 2012) - incorporates factors like physiology, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause into a training manual for women runners.

Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith by Gabrielle Douglas with Michelle Burford (Zondervan, 2012) - written by the inspirational teen gymnast from the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Classic Hikes of North America: 25 Breathtaking Treks in the United States and Canada by Peter Potterfield (W.W. Norton and Co., 2012) - a richly illustrated guide to some of the most remarkable hiking experiences in our country and Canada (includes chapters on Yosemite and Kings Canyon in California).

Tom Danielson's Core Advantage: Core Strength for Cycling's Winning Edge by Tom Danielson and Allison Westfahl (VeloPress, 2013) - exercises and workouts to build strength and endurance for the bicycle racer.

How to Fish: An Angler's Meditation by Chris Yates (Overlook Press, 2012) - an extended musing on the joys of fishing.