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HANDS-ON Workshops

Thank you for attending the 2022 DSM Book Festival!

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Sponsored by The John Ruan Foundation

From watercoloring to pie making, get your creativity flowing in our hands-on workshops. Learn more about the programming options below for fun and interactive activities and workshops for book lovers of all ages, including Just For Kids programming.

Each session is FREE to participants and registration is not necessary unless otherwise noted.


9:30 a.m.  |  Books and Beans: Spring Book and Coffee Pairings – Presented by Storyhouse Bookpub and Daisy Chain

Book and coffee connoisseurs, unite! Stop in to taste a variety of coffee roasts paired with some of the best spring books out this year to add to your TBR (“to be read”) list or book club line-up. This is an hour designed for book people to geek out about choosing your next great read with your new favorite coffee led by East Village indies, Abbey Paxton of Storyhouse Bookpub and Daniel Bosman of Daisy Chain Coffee. Leave with book and coffee recommendations plus resources and inspiration for finding what to read next.

10 a.m.  |  Paint Your Story: Watercolor and Hand-Lettering – Presented by Dainty Knots


Join us for a watercolor and hand-lettering workshop led by local Artist and Librarian, Paige Knotts of Dainty Knotts Art. Participants will brush letter a popular book quote with watercolor accents. This introductory workshop celebrates reading and relaxation while learning about watercolor and lettering for beginners.

11 a.m.  |  Let's Get Ready to Roll: Tips and Tricks to Making Pie – Presented by Pie Bird Pies


In this workshop, Pie Bird Pies will share their tips and tricks to make the best pie. Learn about dough, rolling and crimping, and what makes a delicious pie. The Pie Bird Pies team will also share two favorite pie books: “Pie School” by Kate Lebo (a go-to in the Pie Bird Pies kitchen) and “The Lager Queen of Minnesota” by J. Ryan Stradal, one of the team’s favorite novels. Both books inspired the team to make pie and connect the team to a long line of women and pie-makers in the kitchen. After the talk, enjoy a slice of pie! A variety of seasonal pies will be for sale for workshop attendees.

Noon  |  That All May Read: Intro to Braille – Presented by Iowa Department for the Blind

There is no replacement for the ability to read. For those who are blind, braille is a way of reading using touch. This workshop will provide information on the history of braille, an overview of the braille code, examples of how individuals access braille and hands-on braille activities.

12:30 p.m.  |  Erasure Poetry: Mining Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres" – Presented by Sara Perez


Erasure, or blackout, poetry uses an existing text as the foundation for a new piece. In this hands-on writing workshop, learn how to explore the form, using pages from Jane Smiley's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “A Thousand Acres,” to create new works. The workshop will also highlight some of the themes from the novel, and its exciting operatic adaptation which will have its world premiere at Des Moines Metro Opera in Indianola this summer.

2 p.m.  |  Level Up Your List: How to Read More and Actually Enjoy It – Presented by Linzi Murray


A common refrain among both the book dabbler and the avid bibliophile is “I really should read more...” But what does that even mean? What is “more”? In this workshop, we will tackle reading misconceptions, explore your individual preferences and create goals you actually want to achieve!

2 p.m.  |  DSM Architecture Walking Tour*

Guided by volunteer architecture enthusiasts, this sidewalk tour of Downtown provides an opportunity for residents and visitors to learn more about the rich architectural heritage of Iowa’s capital city. Participants will learn about architectural detail, style and elements, along with intriguing facts, stories and the historical significance of the buildings that shape the Downtown skyline. Please wear comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothing. A Skywalk tour will be offered in case of inclement weather, and an indoor program in case of snow.

3:30 p.m.  |  Another Dimension: Women of Science Fiction Past and Present – Presented by Lettie Prell

An overview of the many women who've shaped science fiction over the years, celebrating the diversity of their writing, and including fun facts.

4 p.m.  |  Sips, Stats & Stories from the Canned Cocktail Industry – Presented by Red Book Distillery and Daisy Cocktail

Red Boot Distillery is Iowa's largest alcoholic beverages manufacturing company – bottling spirits, canning cocktails and formulating beverages for customers in Iowa and across the United States. Red Boot's Dr. Lee Raley, a PhD chemist with 20 years of experience in the spirits and flavor industries, will highlight bar-quality cocktails served in a can that can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. Brand owner Brenda Daisy will share her experience developing and marketing the Daisy Cocktail. Guests will have the opportunity to taste some of the canned cocktails produced at Red Boot's Des Moines facility and be entertained by stories from the industry. Must be age 21+ to attend.