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‘The biggest thing for me is making something beautiful’

Here’s your chance to tear up some books ... with a librarian’s help

GREENFIELD (May 7, 2014) — Sisters Halle and Hannah Fjeld pose with flowers they made from the pages of books and other materials. Hannah's flower is made from the pages of a 2013 1040 tax form. "Cathartic," Fjeld said. The Fjelds will be leading a book crafts workshop at the Greenfield Public Library on Monday, June 9th. Recorder/Trish Crapo

GREENFIELD (May 7, 2014) — Sisters Halle and Hannah Fjeld pose with flowers they made from the pages of books and other materials. Hannah's flower is made from the pages of a 2013 1040 tax form. "Cathartic," Fjeld said. The Fjelds will be leading a book crafts workshop at the Greenfield Public Library on Monday, June 9th. Recorder/Trish Crapo

One snowy day, during a blizzard back in February, sisters Hannah and Kalle Fjeld went downstairs in the Greenfield Public Library and came back up with armloads of books. As snow piled up outside, the sisters sat in the nearly empty library and cut the books apart, transforming them into flowers.

By layering rolled pages into “petals” seven or eight rows deep, Kalle fashioned a dahlia nearly a foot and a half across. Hannah created a variety of small, delicate flowers that looked like daffodils, roses, carnations, and a wispy blossom that she likened to Indian paintbrush.

“Once you get the basic shapes and the basic techniques for attaching them to a stem of some sort, you can invent lots of flowers,” Hannah Fjeld said. Petals can be curled by rolling the pages of the books around a pencil, “like curling a ribbon.”

Energized by their creations, the sisters searched online for other ideas and projects. Hannah created pedestals by removing a book from its spine and folding sections of pages in toward the center. Halle experimented with cutting circles from the pages of a colorfully-illustrated children’s book and rolling them into flared tubes that she glued together into wreath.

Lest this all seem somehow disrespectful to the printed word, let it be known that Hannah Fjeld is a reference librarian at the library. She and her sister live together in Greenfield. Kalle Fjeld works as a baker at Wood Star Café in Northampton, and comes to the library once or twice a week “to hang out with the librarians,” she said.

Hannah Fjeld said that the blizzard provided the perfect opportunity to experiment with what she called “book crafts.” But the idea had come up earlier, in discussions with fellow librarian Marjorie Curtis about craft workshops the library could host.

“We started talking about all of the books that are donated to the library and are weeded out of the library’s collection that nobody wants,” Fjeld said. Even after the library donates books to organizations and the Friends of the Library holds book sales, there are remainder books that sit on the shelves downstairs for as many as three to five years, she added.

“So, what to do with those books, other than just recycle them?”

“I got really excited the day we went down to the basement and opened up the recycling bin and dived into it,” Halle Fjeld said, smiling. At first, it was a little hard to cut up a book, she added, especially the children’s book with its charming illustrations.

“But no one was appreciating it. I wasn’t going to take it home and appreciate it. And now I’m appreciating it like this,” she said, lifting the wreath from the table.

“The biggest thing for me is making something beautiful out of something that was going to be trash,” Hannah Fjeld said.

The library has acquired many of the books that the Fjeld sisters discovered that snowy day and will be making them available to check out, and for use during a book crafts workshop that Hannah and Halle Fjeld will be leading along with Marjorie Curtis and Marilyn Hartman. The workshop will be held at the library on Monday, June 9, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Since most of the projects involve scissors, precision knives and/or hot glue, the class is intended for adults or for children 11 and up who already have some dexterity with the tools.

The workshop can accommodate roughly 25 people but interest has already been high, Fjeld said. Sign up at the library at 402 Main St., Greenfield, or call 413-772-1544. You can also leave a message on the Friends of the Greenfield Public Library Facebook page to reserve a spot in the class.

Trish Crapo is a writer and photographer who lives in Leyden. She is always looking for Franklin County poets with recent publications or interesting projects to interview for her column. She can be reached at tcrapo@me.com.

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