Thursday, September 20, 2012

Case Study No. 0535: Jessica Pigza and Matthew Knutzen

Design by the Book - Episode 2
The New York Public Library holds a wealth of unexpected sources of inspiration for artists and designers—from vintage valentines and textile patterns, to fabric samples and turn-of-the-century menus from around the world. For this online-only miniseries, "Design by the Book," the Library partnered with the leading design blog Design*Sponge to invite five New York City-based artists to sift through our collections in search of inspiration. Stay tuned for future episodes as the artists, who range from a glassblower to a letterpress printer, create unique works inspired by what they found; special guest Isaac Mizrahi will also join us to share his sources of inspiration. The artists are: Lorena Barrezueta, Rebecca Kutys, Mike Perry, John Pomp and Julia Rothman. Music by Clear Tigers. Visit for more information.
Tags: designsponge NYPL New York Public Library Isaac Mizrahi Grace Bonney artist Lorena Barrezueta Rebecca Kutys Moontree Mike Perry John Pomp Julia Rothman Clear Tigers
Added: 3 years ago
From: NewYorkPublicLibrary
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[scene opens inside the New York Public Library, as a young female librarian ("Jessica Pigza, Librarian, General Research Division") is looking through the stacks]
GRACE BONNEY: [in voice over] This week, our five artists will be making the trek from Brooklyn to the New York Public Library, where they'll be meeting with librarian Jessica Pigza to find treasures within its collection. Let's see what they find!
[cut to ceramic artist Lorena Barrezueta walking up to Jessica, who is now standing behind the front desk]
LORENA BARREZUETA: My name's Lorena Barrezueta.
JESSICA PIGZA: And I am Jessica Pigza!
[they shake hands]
LORENA BARREZUETA: Very nice to meet you!
JESSICA PIGZA: I am your librarian today!
LORENA BARREZUETA: Very nice to meet you ...
[cut to several fabric patterns arranged on a table in front of the two]
JESSICA PIGZA: This is an amazing collection of fabric patterns from the "Art and Architecture" division, and each of them opens up like an accordion.
LORENA BARREZUETA: I love it, I love it! The colors ...
LORENA BARREZUETA: They just light up.
[cut to several books showing pictures of ancient Japanese masks]
JESSICA PIGZA: And I found this for you, which is a series of plates ...
LORENA BARREZUETA: They're insane looking!
LORENA BARREZUETA: Well, that one is scary ...
JESSICA PIGZA: Have you made porcelain masks before?
LORENA BARREZUETA: No, but who knows? I might!
[Jessica laughs]
LORENA BARREZUETA: You know? Who knows, I'll see!
[cut to Jessica opening a book]
JESSICA PIGZA: This is a gorgeous book of the money of Ecuador.
[Lorena points at one of the pictures]
[cut to another shot of Jessica and Lorena looking over the materials]
JESSICA PIGZA: Alright, what else do we have here?
LORENA BARREZUETA: My brain's gonna explode at any moment ...
[cut to Jessica holding up an old book entitled "Folding Paper Masks"]
JESSICA PIGZA: Look at this one ...
[Lorena suddenly points and smiles]
[they both laugh at the woman on the cover]
LORENA BARREZUETA: She's excited! She's ... Whoo! Lookit my hair!
[cut to Lorena opening a book entitled "Paper Folding and Modeling"]
LORENA BARREZUETA: See, this is the kinda stuff that kids need to be doing these days.
[cut to a photograph of two men wearing mouse masks]
JESSICA PIGZA: Yes, he is a rat!
LORENA BARREZUETA: Lookit that, see?
JESSICA PIGZA: That's 'cause you're--
[she laughs]
LORENA BARREZUETA: Through and through! I can spot 'em!
[cut to another shot of Jessica and Lorena]
JESSICA PIGZA: I had a lotta fun pulling stuff for you!
JESSICA PIGZA: I always like digging into the catalog, finding out about new subjects that I haven't read about or looked for in the library before, so this was a perfect excuse for me to dig in!
[camera zooms out to show all the tables covered in materials]
LORENA BARREZUETA: I have, like, material for the rest of my life!
[they both laugh]
JESSICA PIGZA: This is just one cart! We haven't even gotten into the "Macrame and Fishing Knots!"
[they both laugh, then cut to letterpress printer Rebecca Kutys spinning a globe]
GRACE BONNEY: [in voice over] Rebecca came to the library and wanted to see old maps, so I introduced her to Matthew Knutzen, the assistant chief of the Map Division.
[cut to Grace, Rebecca, and Matthew standing around a table, as Rebecca opens a large atlas]
GRACE BONNEY: [in voice over] He showed her an over-sized atlas of the Bronx.
[cut to a closeup of the pages]
GRACE BONNEY: [in voice over] It was published in 1901, and city engineers continued to update it until 1969.
MATTHEW KNUTZEN: With these paste-overs, it shows the increments of change.
[cut to a still image of another large map]
GRACE BONNEY: [in voice over] Next, Matthew showed her a map of New York Harbor, made in the nineteenth century.
MATTHEW KNUTZEN: [in voice over] If you look at the different patterns of the depth soundings--
REBECCA KUTYS: [in voice over] Yeah.
MATTHEW KNUTZEN: [in voice over] Those are the traces of ships that are going over and literally lowering a rope down until it hits the bottom, and then they're taking in how many fathoms is this thing.
[cut to Matthew and Rebecca looking at the map]
MATTHEW KNUTZEN: These depth soundings are traces of the people taking the depth soundings.
[cut to Jessica and Rebecca looking at a stack of old postcards]
GRACE BONNEY: [in voice over] Rebecca was also interested in the library's collection of old postcards.
JESSICA PIGZA: It's amazing to me, the handwriting on some of them looks a lot like my grandmother's handwriting.
REBECCA KUTYS: Yeah, it ... A lotta them are pretty illegible.
JESSICA PIGZA: And there's that too!
[Rebecca laughs, then cut to Jessica speaking directly to the camera]
JESSICA PIGZA: When I met Mike, he told me that he was interested in books on optical illusions, childrens' books on space from the mid-twentieth century, as well as books on typography.
[cut to Jessica and typographic designer Mike Perry looking at a book]
JESSICA PIGZA: So I pulled this book for you, I'm not sure how it might fit in ...
[cut to closeups of several pages from the book (featuring illustrations of things like walking skeletons and red-faced witches)]
JESSICA PIGZA: It's called "Spectropia," it was published in England in 1866, and it is images of ghosts and specters.
MIKE PERRY: This is what it looks like when a skeleton wears a purple sheet ... I did not know that!
[she laughs]
MIKE PERRY: This might be one'a the most bizarre books ...
[cut to a pile of books (including "The Complete Book of Space Travel" and "The Art and Science of Visual Illusions") on the table]
JESSICA PIGZA: So we have "The Complete Book of Space Travel" ...
MIKE PERRY: Oh, good!
JESSICA PIGZA: "The Look it Up Book of Stars and Planets"--
MIKE PERRY: Because I was, I'm planning a trip!
MIKE PERRY: So this is gonna work out well!
[cut to a closeup of the illustrations in one of the books]
JESSICA PIGZA: I like this.
MIKE PERRY: Yeah ...
JESSICA PIGZA: Isn't that nice?
MIKE PERRY: Oh, amazing!
[cut to Jessica holding a copy of "Men of Other Planets" by Kenneth Heuer]
[Mike holds up "The Complete Book of Space Travel" at a page with a black-and-white illustration of an astronaut]
MIKE PERRY: And then followed by, followed by ... This is actually that man of the other planet!
JESSICA PIGZA: He's waiting for you.
[cut to several typography books on the table]
JESSICA PIGZA: This is wood-type samples ...
MIKE PERRY: Oh yeah! This is one of those books that people would scour eBay for, and never find it!
JESSICA PIGZA: Exactly! But we have it!
[she laughs]
MIKE PERRY: You guys have it! It's amazing!
[he flips the pages]
MIKE PERRY: Aw, it's never-ending ...
[cut to Jessica speaking directly to the camera]
JESSICA PIGZA: Julia was very interested, she told me, in looking at childrens' books with stylized illustrations, as well as articles and magazines from the mid-fifties ...
[cut to Jessica and pattern designer Julia Rothman looking at an old childrens' book]
JESSICA PIGZA: This one, I absolutely love! Take a look at that one first.
[Julia opens the book and laughs at the illustration of a mustachioed man wearing glasses]
JULIA ROTHMAN: Oh look, this is really cute!
JESSICA PIGZA: Mustaches, they're all the rage!
JULIA ROTHMAN: You make your own disguise kit ...
[she suddenly leans down and sniffs the book]
JULIA ROTHMAN: Whoa, this book smells good ...
[they both laugh, then cut to another book of illustrations]
JESSICA PIGZA: These two volumes are both called "Tiny All Overs" ...
JULIA ROTHMAN: This looks very eighties, look at this.
[Jessica laughs]
JULIA ROTHMAN: It's funny, imagine it in hot pink and orange.
JULIA ROTHMAN: I mean, it's pretty cool!
[cut to Jessica placing another book on the table]
JESSICA PIGZA: I also have brought just one volume of an industry magazine called "American Fabric" ...
[cut to another shot of Jessica and Julia]
JESSICA PIGZA: It's a lotta fun to look through, because it has these samples throughout ...
[Julia points at one of the fabrics in the book]
JULIA ROTHMAN: This is really cute!
[cut to Julia as she closes the book]
JULIA ROTHMAN: What else ya got there?
[she reaches over and pulls another book off the cart]
JESSICA PIGZA: Oh, these--
JULIA ROTHMAN: Give me more!
[Jessica laughs, then cut to several shots of the book "Navy Uniforms, Insignia and Warships of WWII"]
JESSICA PIGZA: [in voice over] Julia was very interested in a book on sailors that I had actually pulled for Mike Perry.
[cut to Julia leafing through the book]
JULIA ROTHMAN: I just really like in the back, all these funny guys in Navy costumes.
JULIA ROTHMAN: Just like, all standing like that, and I love all the little insignias and things ... I wanna do like a sailor pattern!
[cut to another shot of Jessica and Julia]
JULIA ROTHMAN: Fun, fun, fun ... This is a good one!
[cut to Jessica speaking directly to the camera]
JESSICA PIGZA: John was interested in a lot of things. He was interested in the history of glass-making, as well as historic lamp structures, and in particular he wanted to see books on design from the Nineteen Fifties ...
[cut to Jessica and glass blower John Pomp looking through some books]
JOHN POMP: Some of these, I've never seen a lot of these pictures. This is really amazing.
JESSICA PIGZA: Oh, really?
[she laughs]
JOHN POMP: And I just, I wonder where ... I really wonder where--
JESSICA PIGZA: Where are they?
JESSICA PIGZA: Where did they end up?
[cut to Jessica reaching for some books on the cart]
JESSICA PIGZA: I have three books on terrariums for you! I know that you mentioned you were interested in them.
JOHN POMP: Absolutely!
[cut to John looking at some pictures in one of the books]
JOHN POMP: So we have electric, hanging glass, cardboard ... and children!
[Jessica points to one of the people in the photo]
JESSICA PIGZA: He's wearing a nice ring ...
[she laughs]
JOHN POMP: Doesn't look structurally right ...
[cut to another shot of Jessica and John]
JOHN POMP: A lotta these things just aren't online, obviously.
[she nods]
JOHN POMP: And I'm glad they're not, actually, to be honest with you.
[she laughs]
JOHN POMP: I think there's something more real about coming in and touching these books, than an internet browser. Google can't do this!
[cut to Grace standing outside the library, speaking directly to the camera]
GRACE BONNEY: Join us next time, as we'll leave the library and head to Brooklyn, to meet with the artists as they begin the creative process.

Produced by
Amy Azzarito
Grace Bonney
James Murdock

Filmed and edited by
James Murdock

Reference Librarian
Jessica Pigza

Special Thanks to
Matthew Knutzen
Rebecca Kutys
Jennifer Lurie
Isaac Mizrahi

Featuring artists
Lorenza Barrezueta
Rebecca Kutys
Mike Perry
John Pomp
Julia Rothman

Music from Brutal by
Clear Tigers
cleartigers dot com

Design by the Book
is a co-production of
The New York Public Library

www dot nypl dot org
www dot designspongeonline dot com
Some Rights Reserved 2008



Design by the Book was produced by Amy Azzarito and James Murdock, of The New York Public Library Digital Experience Group, with assistance from reference librarian Jessica Pigza, in partnership with Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge.



Design by the book
by Grace Bonney

today i am thrilled and so proud to debut the first episode of design by the book- a collaboration between design*sponge and the new york public library. for the past few months i've been working with a fantastic team at the library to create a series that would highlight the amazing local design talent in nyc as well as the incredible creative resources the new york public library has to offer.

together we invited five brooklyn-based artists to come to the library, become inspired by its collections and have us film their entire creative process from the beginning to the final finished product, whatever that may be. in this episode we're introducing the project and our designers: rebecca kutys of moontree press, john pomp of john pomp glass, julia rothman, mike perry and lorena barrezueta.

this has been an absolute joy to film so far and i can't wait to see what the artists find in the library and end up creating throughout this process. please stay tuned for the next episode (date TBA) where we'll follow the artists as they rummage through the library to find resources that inspire them. we'll also meet with isaac mizrahi in the next episode and talk with him about inspiration and the creative process! thank you to all of the artists who are generously donating their time for this project and thank you to james murdock, amy azzarito, and jessica pigza at the nypl for making this series the highlight of my year. (and thanks to the clear tigers for the awesome music!)

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