Monday, January 11, 2021

Bookmaking with Children: Why Use Recycled Materials?



I like to use recycled, or more accurately repurposed, materials in my workshops and at home. I use brown paper grocery bags, cereal boxes, and used paper that has writing on only one side. I made the change to be more respectful of the environment and reduce consumption but the benefits go way beyond that.


We live in an instant culture filled with manufactured objects. It is not the children's fault that they expect their paper perfect and think nothing of asking for a new piece when theirs has a wrinkle. Using grocery bags, cereal boxes, or paper that they have used before makes them aware of the paper they consume.


And there are other positive effects as well. When they start by cutting a paper bag, the paper is already uneven so it takes all the burden of precision away. I find it lightens the spirit of the whole process. In addition to consuming less paper, they learn to look creatively at the things they discard. 

Making books with repurposed materials has a different aesthetic. Because we don't start with plain paper, there are often traces of its former life showing. I feel this brings life and vitality to the finished book. 

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