13 September, 2008

Book Vases

I am a used book-fiend. I have personally visited 90% of the used-bookstores in Chicago and most of my collection is previously owned. While the rest of the nation focuses on getting people to actually read, I'm tilting at the windmills, trying to get people who buy books to find used ones first. Why print more when there is ample supply? I'm not going to get into my whole huge list of reasons why used books are cooler than corporate-sellout-newbooks, but I did stumble on some things to do with books that can't be sold or recycled (heavy glue in the bindings).

Designer Laura Cahill re-purposes used books using a bandsaw and test tubes. One minute it's a 1988 reprint of How to Use Microsoft Windows 95 and the next it's a beautiful (and waterproof!) flower vase.


"My idea of using second hand books came around after doing research into common unwanted objects. One of the most common unwanted objects that can be found at either charity shops, car boot sales and sometimes on the streets are books. I discovered that the glue in old books make them extremely difficult to recycle. Aware of this I challenged myself to turn the second hand books that I had been collecting, into desirable objects such as furniture, lighting and ornaments."


"I took a hands-on approach and started experimenting with the possibilities in which books can be used in other ways; I developed a number of delicate yet practical designs. Using traditional methods of book binding I transformed them into valued objects. My designs transform local waste, not only adding value but also creating art forms which are aesthetically pleasing."

In my effort to showcase the creative re-use of unwanted objects, I hope I've piqued your imagination. Hat Tip to boingboing and Chris Brooks.

Q: What is your most common unwanted item?

10 September, 2008

Meet Ashley Adam

Ashley Adam (Ash to many of her friends) is a Case Manager for kids in foster care. I tracked her down to the Starbucks on Belmont and Clark and she gave me permission to interview her for my blog.

me: So you know how these things work, right? I talk and then you try not to be shocked with my ridiculous questions...
Ash: Yeah, but I'm not sure I can be as witty as NPR.
me: Oh, I gave that up a long time ago...or have I?
Ash: Ask me a question already.

me: right right, sorry. ok, What is the least listened-to song in your iPod?
Ash: Another Night by The Real McCoys
me: Why is that?
Ash: I used to rollerskate to it in 8th grade, but who listens to that anymore?

me: What is your favorite tree?
Ash (without hesitation): Weeping Willow
me: That was quick. why?
Ash: They always seem so sad yet very wise.

me: What is your most useful trick that you use for math?
Ash: A calculator

me: What is your most feared animal?
Ash: Wolf Spider
me: Why?
Ash: Well, it's my most realistic one. I wouldn't want to be chased down the streets of Chicago by a Jaguar or a Cheetah!

A very good point.

Disclaimer: Ashley Adam consented to marry me on July 24, 2008. She blogs over at step lightly...