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Recover Your Thoughts gives books a second life

Can you briefly describe yourself and maybe a little bit about your business? Sure. I am in my mid-fifties, lost a lot of my hair, and somewhere along with way I fell in with craft fairs. I just like the excitement and energy. It is my idea of fun.

What I create are journals. A simple place to keep thoughts and memories. Two things make my journals special. First, they are made from discarded books, so each one has a different theme, a different flavor. Sometimes you can find a title that just starts your creativity and you’ll write for hours. Sometimes you’ll find one that reminds you of a friend and you just have to give it to them as a gift. Finding just the right journal is inspiring. Secondly, almost every part of the journals I make are from discarded materials. The book covers come from the library’s thinning out process, and the paper is outcast and remains of the printing industry. I am pleased that I have developed a useable “green” product.

Tell us about the process: It starts with finding discarded books. Libraries are the best source, but there are estate sales, schools, and believe me, once people find out you’re looking for old books, they give them to you. Man do they give them to you. This creates a problem, because only one in ten is usable. Getting rid of other peoples unwanted books is “trying.”

Finding the right covers is the fun of the process. It is like a treasure hunt. I love imagining which of my customers will fall in love with each cover.

Separating book covers from the text is simple, but creates a new problem. Getting rid of huge mounds of text blocks. I have tried recycling, but they want me to cut the spines off. So sometimes when I feel brave I cut off the spines and take the text to the recyclers, sometimes I put the whole thing in the recycling bin and hope I don’t get a nasty reminder letter from waste management.

Cutting paper, punching holes and putting in the binding is so ordinary I often do it without having to think about it.

Now it is time for the fun. Getting the chance to join the other craft vendors at getting involved with the excitement of interested customers at the fairs is awesome. The time goes by so fast, and every minute of it is fun.

Do you still have a real job? Not by choice. There just aren’t too many employers looking for old, bald, overweight bookbinders. For now I am happy doing “the craft” full time. I keep thinking that the craft thing will take off and support me, but that is a dream. I have a good product, but production cost and the bad economy is making it difficult. And now a large number of people have “pirated” my idea. I am sure I have to get a real job someday.

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