Holiday Gifts, Part Two

And in happy local news: this Saturday, December 6, jump-start your holiday shopping at the Third Annual Brooklyn Holiday Book Fair, featuring rare, vintage and out-of-print books from independent booksellers all over Brooklyn.

Cara Schlesinger of Faenwyl Bindery will run an all-ages bookmaking demonstration at 12 PM. And at 2 PM, the brilliant Maira Kalman will be on hand to sign her new book, My Favorite Things, a tribute to the power of special objects, and the ideal holiday gift for the collector (or hoarder) on your list.

Hope to see you all Saturday!

MairaPoster

Holiday Gifts, Part One

Just home from a packed, rushed expatriate Thanksgiving in London, where I spent 72 hours shopping for holiday gifts (yours, mine, everyone’s) and restocking the Honey & Wax shelves. Keep an eye on the website as the new books arrive!

VF CoverOn the flight home, I settled in with Vanity Fair’s 2014 holiday gift guide, featuring our signed variorum edition of Yeats.IMG_2276Honey & Wax: standing by, for all your seasonal poetry needs.

Following Honey & Wax

One of my new year’s resolutions has come to pass, a mere eight months into 2014. You can now follow Honey & Wax on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram:

Facebook: facebook.com/honeyandwax

Twitter: @honeyandwaxbks

Pinterest: pinterest.com/honeyandwax

Instagram: honeyandwaxbks

All Honey & Wax, all the time, on these four platforms.

No kids or cats will be posted, unless they are bookish and/or for sale.

Instagram’s probably the best. Seriously. Check it out:

IMG_9995

'Night Matchibako

 

Bibliocraft!

If you work with rare books in New York City, chances are you’ve crossed paths with Jessica Pigza, dedicated rare book librarian at the New York Public Library and DIY style icon. Jessica just published a terrific new book, Bibliocraft: A Modern Crafter’s Guide to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects (Abrams, 2014).BiblioCraft-Cover

When Jessica asked Honey & Wax to partner on a bibliocraft night in Brooklyn, there was no way I could say no.

We mined the Honey & Wax shelves for images that would inspire a simple, striking craft: hand-embroidered notecards. Park Slope’s Community Bookstore provided the space, Jessica provided the materials, and everybody got to work:

Bernard Picart's New Drawing Book of Modes (1732).

Bernard Picart’s New Drawing Book of Modes (London, 1732).

Manuscript embroidery pattern book by Mary Clark, circa 1812.

Manuscript embroidery pattern book by Mary Smith Clark (Devonshire, circa 1812-1820).

The Martha Washington Doll Book (1945).

The Martha Washington Doll Book (1945).

 

This or That? (Edinburgh, 1947).

This or That? (Edinburgh, 1947).

Louis Slobodkin's Thank You -- You're Welcome (New York, 1957).

Thank You — You’re Welcome (New York, 1957).

Jessica at the helm!

Jessica at the helm!

Bibliocrafters at work on their embroidery.

Bibliocrafters at work on their embroidery.

Bibliocrafters at work on their pie.

Bibliocrafters at work on their pie.

Jessica

The finer points of the backstitch.

Two Heathers, two embroidered cards featuring 18th-century French hand gestures.

Two Heathers, two embroidered cards featuring 18th-century French hand gestures.

How to pass a note, Versailles-style. Which of you will be the lucky recipient? Visit Jessica Pigza at handmadelibrarian.com to learn more!

How to pass a note, Versailles-style. Which of you will be the lucky recipient? Visit Jessica Pigza at handmadelibrarian.com to learn more!

Telegrams: “Bookman,” Edinburgh

Found inside a secondhand book over Easter weekend: a mid-century bookmark from James Thin, Edinburgh bookseller and stationer. Muriel Spark wrote all her novels in 72-page notebooks from James Thin. If you remind me, this comes free with your next Muriel Spark order from Honey & Wax. Telegrams: “Bookman,” Edinburgh — boom. Thin2

Sweetness and Light

Last night, I had a question about Jonathan Swift, and pulled down my college copy of The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, bought during my first week at Columbia in 1989. (Parenthetical note: why was a teenager with a sketchy command of English history allowed to take Augustan literature before Middle English and the Renaissance? Where was my advisor? Did I even have an advisor? “Absalom and Achitophel”? Anyhow. I guess it worked out.)

Browsing through Swift, I came across the heavily-highlighted, vaguely-recalled Spider and Bee episode from “The Battle of the Books,” in which the arrogant Modern Spider (scientific, self-reliant, predatory) argues with the serene Ancient Bee (philosophical, collaborative, beneficial). Swift’s sympathies, in 1704, lay squarely with the Bee, who “with long search, much study, true judgment, and distinction of things, brings home honey and wax.” Aesop gets the last word: “As for us the Ancients, we are content with the Bee to pretend to nothing of our own beyond our wings and our voice, that is to say, our flights and our language. For the rest, whatever we have got, has been by infinite labour and search and ranging through every corner of nature; the difference is that, instead of dirt and poison, we have rather chosen to fill our hives with honey and wax, thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light.”

Not the quote I was after, but I’m glad it’s the one I found.

Swift

Honey & Wax 2.0

It’s on! After two years, Honey & Wax has moved into a proper office. I no longer have to contemplate the fate of the Collyer brothers every time I return from a book fair. Come visit, by chance or appointment: Honey & Wax Booksellers, 540 President Street at the Brooklyn Creative League. The office with the yellow door!

Our apartment was like a clown car. More and more books kept pouring out of it.

The apartment was like a clown car. More and more books kept pouring out of it.

This photograph was obscured by stacks of uncatalogued books for two years. We forgot it was up there.

This photograph was obscured by stacks of uncatalogued books for two years. We forgot it was up there.

I ran out of crates and boxes and had to turn to promotional tote bags.

We ran out of crates and boxes and had to turn to promotional tote bags.

Ryan from Dynamite Van, being a good sport.

Ryan from Dynamite Van, a good sport even after his rare book thumb injury.

Meanwhile, over at the Creative League, Guillermo and Anton were laying the rug and assembling the cases.

Meanwhile, over at the Creative League, Guillermo and Anton were laying the rug and assembling the cases.

No books on the floor!

No books on the floor! A first.

Come visit! By chance or appointment: 540 President Street in Brooklyn.

Onward.