"When we all think alike, then no one is thinking."
— Walter Lippman

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Reincarnating Old Books

   I was out running errands a couple of weeks ago and stopped at a garage sale.  There, in a box of discarded books I found this treasure, and a few others.  The covers were dark and the spine was falling off.   A perfect candidate for 'reincarnation' to become an altered book journal / sketchbook.   
   At home in my studio, the cleaning process begins, removing the covers and gently revealing the beautiful graphics.  Any fraying of the original canvas is stabilized.  I like to preserve the end papers whenever possible, especially if the original owner's name is written there.  
The old text block is removed and saved for use in collage backgrounds and other mixed media work.
Papers are cut for the pages and the thickness of the new text block tells me how wide to make the spine.
   It should be noted that I have never taken apart a book that is in excellent condition, believing that those examples should be saved for collectors.  The books I choose to work with are those that are otherwise destined for the landfill.
   Recycled materials are used as much as possible, and in this case, dark green leather was repurposed from a coat found in a local thrift store.    I often shop for discarded leather coats that can be 'harvested' for book spines.  
The finished book is rewarding on many levels.... the fun of looking for these hidden treasures, the joy of craftsmanship and the satisfaction of knowing that a lovely old book will have a new life in the hands of someone who will once again treasure it and fill it's pages in their own unique way.   
You can find my hand bound journals / sketchbooks on Etsy


Robert W. Leonard said...

Definitely! That one looks great. My wife and I love going out and looking for old books. :)

Chrystal S said...

It's just gorgeous!

Ann Renee Lighter said...

Thank you!

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