By Buffy Calvert
Have you noticed two intriguing new signs at 295 Main Street (the green building across from the Hunting Tavern)? One reads, “SEAMS TO ME;” the other, “PAPER MOON BOOKBINDING.” Two new enterprises in Andes. Two lively new entrepreneurs. Meet Dakota LongSuffering, seamstress, and Amy Morris Pickens, bookbinder and stationer.
Ms. LongSuffering’s workrooms greet you with elegant custom curtains, many knickknacks and beautiful old chairs in various stages of repair awaiting reupholstery. She presents herself with a gleaming white pageboy and corduroy pants, and is eager to discuss your needs.
After 37 moves (Ohio, Oneonta, Florida, Virginia and Chicago, etc.) she prayed for guidance, remembered the beauty of the Catskills and found this space for rent on Craigslist. She hauled her belongings in four trips from Waverly, Ohio, her hometown, undaunted by October snow! She bills SEAMS TO ME as a “Custom Sewing and Upholstery Shop,” and herself as the “Owner/Designer [who] specializes in formal and casual wear [for] men, women and children, alterations as well as wedding gowns and tuxedos. [I] carry my own line of custom drapery and curtains which can be seen at Drogan’s in Oneonta. Upholstery services of all types are another specialty. All services are guaranteed on labor. ASAP accommodations welcomed.”
Her background includes a doctorate in education, running a Christian private school which offered diplomas to homeschoolers, a paralegal certificate, advocacy on women’s rights, religious studies (Methodist and Greek Orthodox), and a stint as a policewoman in Ohio.
She changed her birth name to a God-given name, an answer to prayer: Dakota (honoring her Native American ancestry. Her mother’s forbears were German and Cherokee; her father’s Scots from California) and LongSuffering, descriptive of her life.
“I learned sewing at my Granny’s knee. I think you should pass your trades on to your children.” All four of hers learned to sew. David is a prison guard, Mariam is studying medicine, Sarai is pursuing a degree in forensic law, and Naomi a masters in hospital administration.
Need new curtains? A quick dress repair? The couch re-stuffed?
SEAMS TO ME is open Monday-Saturday 10-5. Call (845) 676-3190.
Next door, behind the shingle: PAPER MOON BOOKBINDING, Amy Morris Pickens keeps an orderly spare space lined with a well-worn worktable, a metal chest of narrow drawers for paper, a hand press and two manual cutting machines. One is a board shears, the other with its 3-foot iron handle and slanted blade can slice through a tall stack of cardstock. It is called, affectionately, the guillotine.
Besides bookbinding, Amy designs one-of-a-kind stationery, invitations, photo albums, scrapbooks and journals. She creates postcards using vintage stock, and transforms tiny circular motifs into paper earrings. “I do everything paper, from plain to fancy and everything in between.”
Amy grew up in Westchester and went to Fordham University where she discovered the ancient art of bookbinding. After graduation she worked at the New York Academy of Medicine library and then moved to western Massachusetts where she found “loads of people who were active in paper crafts and willing to take on apprentices.”
She and her husband lived in Northern California for a few years, but she became homesick for the dramatic change of seasons: “Maple syrup, followed by the time to plant, heat, harvest, brilliant leaves…and snow!” In effect she was homesick for the Catskills where her parents had retired. She and her husband, (a computer scientist who telecomputes to a firm in Colorado), live on the Bloomville-Delhi border. She was thrilled to find “this great space” in Andes and declares enthusiastically, “Dakota is the best neighbor ever!”
Next summer, Amy will have open hours and host workshops in paper crafts. Meanwhile, you can bring your dis-bound family Bible or rare treasure, a cherished children’s book or even your favorite cookbook, tattered and stained but scribbled with precious notes on your favorite recipes, for new covers and end papers, expertly crafted by hand. You can choose from the display of stationery items in her shop or find her crafts at the Catskill Mountain Artisans Guild Gallery in the Commons in Margaretville or at Good Cheap Food in Delhi. ~
PAPER MOON BOOKBINDING
Books, Stationery & Paper Goods
Handmade in the Catskills
For appointment call Amy Morris Pickens at (607) 778-0961.