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Swapping recycled books

>> Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I had such a great experience participating in the last book swap with the Bookbinding Esty Street Team in May, so I was really looking forward to the August swap. While the previous one had no theme, with this one we were challenged to create books using recycled or reclaimed materials. This post on the BEST blog shows a preview of all of the books made for this swap, and everyone seemed to find interesting objects (like maps, empty boxes, and seat belts) to transform into works of art

On Friday I received my new book from a bookbinder and printmaker in South Dakota. Camille Riner made this book from leftover pieces of her relief prints. She used a piece of an old handmade string paper relief print for the cover. The abaca in the cover sheet makes it strong, and the strings from the handmade paper peek out at the bottom. The interior pages of the double pamphlet section book are made from scraps of paper as well as other repurposed prints. I am absolutely thrilled with my newest addition to my collection of handmade books.

The book I created for the book swap is a small Italian long-stitch with a leather cover. The material used for the cover comes from a pair of red suede pants I found in an Athens, Georgia thrift store. (You can see some pictures of the pants in an earlier blog post.) The red leather strap that holds the book shut was part of a zig-zag pattern on the pants. The colored papers used for the guards are from a Neenah paper swatch book of their recycled papers, and the interior papers are recycled as well.

I have made a few other books from these red suede pants over the past few months, and they have all been fairly traditional. But for this book I wanted to use some different color combination and more graphic papers. I'm quite pleased with the contrast of the teal thread against the red book cover, and I like how it coordinates with the papers inside.

I recently ordered a custom stamp from fellow Etsy seller NoteTrunk that features my logo. I've just recently started to experiment with it, and this is the first book I've used it on to "sign" my work. I stamped my logo onto a scrap of paper, signed and dated below it, and then used the sewing machine to stitch the paper onto the last page of the book. I think this worked out really well and fit with the style of the book. What do you think of the stamp, and of the stitched addition to the last page? Should I turn this into my standard style for signing my books, or would it seem out of place in a more traditional book, like a wedding guest book?

I sent my book to BEST member SeaLemon of Phoenix, Arizona. Being a graphic designer and typography nerd myself, I am a huge fan of her Helvetica books. I enjoy her use of bold colors and patterns in her work, and I especially like her shop's logo. You can also check her out on facebook and twitter.


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