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!
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!
On the flight home, I settled in with Vanity Fair’s 2014 holiday gift guide, featuring our signed variorum edition of Yeats.Honey & Wax: standing by, for all your seasonal poetry needs.
Why am I formatting show cards and updating the Honey & Wax blog at 3:25 AM? There can be only one reason: the Boston Shadow Show, officially known as the Boston Book, Print, and Ephemera Show, is happening this Saturday, November 15, from 8 AM to 4 PM at the Back Bay Events Center. Come say hello! I’ll be drinking coffee in Booth D42.
Boston Shadow Show, 2014.
Or: What I Did On My Summer Vacation.
Coming to a mailbox near you.
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:
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:
This summer at Honey & Wax is all about the fall catalog, as usual, with a detour to Virginia for David Whitesell’s Descriptive Bibliography class at Rare Book School. Occasionally, we take a break from the collational formulary and hit the common press.
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).
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 (London, 1732).
Manuscript embroidery pattern book by Mary Smith Clark (Devonshire, circa 1812-1820).
The Martha Washington Doll Book (1945).
This or That? (Edinburgh, 1947).
Thank You — You’re Welcome (New York, 1957).
Jessica at the helm!
Bibliocrafters at work on their embroidery.
Bibliocrafters at work on their pie.
The finer points of the backstitch.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
We ran out of crates and boxes and had to turn to promotional tote bags.
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.
No books on the floor! A first.