Does your moms’ group need something interesting to do? Your homeschooler? Your daughter’s Brownie troop? Do you have a significant birthday coming up that you’d like to spend with some friends doing something creative together? Drop by the Lab and we’ll chat about designing a custom workshop for your group; I have lots of ideas!

  • An Open Invitation to Host Fundraising Events at Family Book Lab
  • I will donate two hours of free studio time for kids and their parents from any local school to use as a fundraiser for their school. I did this last year for the school my two daughters go to, Rosa Parks Environmental Science Magnet, in Berkeley.

    What you do: pick a date, create and photocopy a flyer and distribute it. Do whatever other publicity you want to promote the event. Send someone from the PTA or other responsible person to collect money at the door.

    What I do: have the press set up with a creative, kid-friendly one-sheet project so adults and kids can come in and print a folded one-sheet booklet that they can either embellish on the spot with my collection of rubber stamps and collage materials or finish at home. (The image above is a tiny part of the linoleum block I carved for the Rosa Parks event.)

    Last year for Rosa Parks we asked for a $5 donation at the door, per child or per family, whatever folks were comfortable with and nobody to be turned away for lack of funds. Kids could print as many sheets as they wanted as long as they got back in line each time. The press is a 1300 pound Vandercook flat-bed cylinder press from 1964; kids feel big cranking this baby!

    We did no publicity other than the Wednesday envelope, and it was somewhat of a last-minute event in a crowded spring calendar (Rosa Parks parents were burnt out by the end of last year, let me tell you!), but we still raised $200 in a very enjoyable two hours. The PTA didn’t have to do anything but photocopy and distribute a flyer, the parents didn’t have to do anything but show up and watch their kids doing something most of them had never seen before, and all the money raised went straight to the school. I donated the supplies and deducted the cost on my taxes.

    Family Book Lab is at the corner of MLK and Rose and we held the event on a Saturday morning, so families came to the fundraiser as part of a morning spent riding bikes on the King Middle School playground, or after breakfast at Fatapple’s, or on their way to the North Branch Library. Some families came and went quickly, some got coffee and pastries from the bakery across the street and settled in for a nice long chat. The group of parents who showed up included the reliable stalwarts of our school’s PTA but also (excitingly) faces I hadn’t seen at other school functions.

    If you think your school might be interested, please point the folks who make decisions to me, Coriander Reisbord, at (510) 526-6332. If you like to live on the edge you can try dropping by the studio unexpectedly (1413 MLK, at Rose), but my hours are unpredictable.