It’s nice to think that if a book is at the end of its life and unreadable, its pages can live again as something badass like an art print or a purse – but what about books in perfectly good condition? Is it really OK to destroy a book in the name of art?
The reason I ask is because I keep seeing some amazing craft projects (hello Pinterest!) where people have literally gutted a gorgeous vintage book to make something new. From book bunting, handbags, jewellery, even lamps, there’s pretty much everything to help adorn your walls and show the world that hey, I think books are pretty neat.
The only thing stopping me from buying them all, or more dangerously, attempting to craft them myself, is pure bookworm guilt. I can’t help but feel like it’s a tragedy to see pages and pages of books torn, folded and stuck together just because they look nice. But they do look pretty nice, I admit. Oh and there’s always that niggling feeling, if I were ever lucky enough to get a book published traditionally, how would I feel if someone tore it apart? Literally not figuratively… Would the fact that someone had made a swoon-worthy lamp lessen the blow?
Of course it’s better to upcycle old books rather than throw them out, and most of us are guilty of having way too many books cluttering up the place, so there’s that. But the whole re-purposing trend isn’t just restricted to old books, new books as well as classics are all on the chopping block too.
For full disclouse I admit that I have a framed vintage dictionary print at home and a cute little hedgehog cardholder that’s made out of an old book. Oh and a hanging fan decoration, so I definitely can’t get all preachy. But in my defense they were all gifts, and with the latter after trying to read the folded pages I realised it was just Fifty Shades of Grey or something in that vein, so I don’t feel the world has lost out with that one.
What do you think? Is it a shame to destroy old books to make something new? Or is it a clever way to give a musty book a new lease of life?