It was a lovely Saturday afternoon when I arrived at the Rowan County Public Library in downtown Salisbury. Outside, the community Touch-A-Truck event was just finishing up. Children walked with their parents, having fulfilled their dreams of being in contact with various trucks. Inside, one of the librarians was hosting a seminar called "Get Crafty!" about crafting with used books. You could probably guess that I was there to rip up books, rather than to touch trucks.
The librarian is a friend of mine who did me a favor and took pictures at the wedding. She thought that members of her community might be interested in making some paper flowers. After the wedding, I shipped her a box of flowers and butterflies that hadn't been taken home by guests. She set them up in the library to advertise the crafting class. People thought they were neat, and some of them came to learn, including a troop of girl scouts.
Is it just me, or is it slightly subversive for the librarian to be teaching crafts made from destroyed books?
She printed out diagrams and instructions for three different crafts: rolled roses, kusudama flowers, and birds. She provided templates, made out of a Diet Dr Pepper carton, to cut out bird parts and square pieces (for the origami). She provided a box of book and magazine pages, sparing her patrons the task of ripping up the books themselves.
I already knew how to make the flowers, so I made a bird out of a poetry book. The body was "Fire and Ice" and the wing was a picture of Robert Frost's head. It was a little weird.
The flowers from the wedding were displayed up front, where a few older ladies discovered and admired the origami lily. Of all the flowers I managed to make, this one was the hardest. That's not to be confused with the origami daffodil, which I never managed to make at all. The librarian had not printed out instructions for the lily, because it would have gone on for pages and pages. But a pair of ambitious women found out that there was someone in the room who knew how to make them, and they descended upon me, bearing 6-inch square magazine sheets.
I was not prepared. I hadn't folded a lily in a month or so. Had you caught me during the first week of March, I could churn them out at a rate of six minutes a flower. But I remembered as I went along, each step jogging my memory for the next. I am not confident about my teaching skills, but I did my best to be patient and encouraging. This is important, since the first few you make always look a little rough. Then I let them take home the one I'd made along with each of them as I showed them the steps. One of them had a granddaughter named Lily. The other turned out to be the mayor of a tiny town down the road. They gave me their email addresses, so I could send them the link with the step-by-step instructions. We talked about different kinds of paper, and how a thicker one would probably work better for this particular flower.
The crafting event was only supposed to last until 2 pm. By 2:45, it was me and an old lady, finishing up our lilies, the girl scouts long gone. She thanked me for staying to help her, and I told her that the crafting event had been my only plan for the day. I couldn't have imagined that my day would've included teaching origami to the mayor of Granite Quarry, but life's funny like that sometimes.