My Gift Card Mini-Books
I believe that our endeavours to re-source, reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle where ever and whenever possible are a vital part of being environmentally responsible. One way that I express this belief is in my creation of a line of gift card mini-books that focus on repurposing materials gifted to me by family and friends, and those already available in my studio. Read below for the details.
My gift card mini-books are handmade, one-of-a-kind (OOAK) -- mostly! -- gift card-sized notebooks.
They are designed to survive most on-the-go abuse, including being stuffed into pockets, purses, bags, backpacks, glove boxes, Christmas stockings, gift baskets, mailboxes, or in any other handy, convenient, dry place.
I believe that our endeavours to re-source, reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle where ever and whenever possible are a vital part of being environmentally responsible. One way that I express this belief is in my creation of a line of gift card mini-books that focuses on repurposing materials gifted to me by family and friends, and those materials already available in my studio.
Specifically, these books are designed to repurpose previously used gift cards collected from my family and friends. They are also designed to maximize the use of "off-cuts" and "left-over" materials from previous projects from around my studio that may otherwise have gone to recycling (the final acceptable option), or to the landfill (the option to be avoided), particularly with regards to the various paper off-cuts from my other handmade books.
The papers I use are off different ages, origins, construction, materials, acidities, colours, textures, fibre contents, and purposes. Most of the pages are cut-offs of high quality acid free, archival, artist quality, mixed-media, drawing, or sketching paper from other handmade book projects. But these books offer an excellent opportunity to make use of other papers, including everything from unopened reams of graph paper to unused notebooks from my school days that I just can't see myself ever using again, to the advertising notepads that arrive uninvited in my mailbox, to the still useable portions of those seemingly un-avoidable, random mistakes coming off my home printer.
The vast majority of my OOAK and limited edition book designs contain high quality, blank, unlined pages, therefore most of the pages in these mini-books are also high quality, blank, unlined pages, but not always. My repurposing of other papers from various sources results in a wide selection of paper types.
Due to this wide variety of available papers, the mini-books contain a wide variety of papers, some exclusive to one paper type/quality, while others offer a mix. This broadens the possible uses for these mini-books, from a mini mixed media archival art journal, to a versatile, multi-purpose notebook.
Similar to the papers, there are other materials that I rescue and repurpose, including: leather, plastic sheets, charms, beads, buttons, and other ephemera, ribbons, string/cord, wire, and anything that catches my eye and is too small / short / strange for use in any of my other projects. For instance, the leathers I use are of different ages, origins, tanning processes, finishes, colours, textures, animal hides, and purposes. Most are the scraps from new leather purchased for previous bookbinding projects. But I also clean and disinfect leather sourced from previously loved jackets, purses, skirts, belts, upholstery, and elsewhere, also for use in bookbinding. If the leather used in any of these mini-books (or any of my projects) is sourced from previously loved items, this will be stated in the item's description. In either case, none of the leather used was purchased for the specific purpose of making these mini-books.
Most of the books have some mechanism for keeping the book closed and its contents secure, such as wraparound elastics, cotton or linen cord, or leather straps, or clasps made of wire scraps from my jewellery projects.
The binding method I use is strong and extremely flexible, allowing the books to open a full 360° so they can be folded back on themselves like a notepad, or lie completely flat like a notebook, making them versatile and comfortable to use despite their small size.
A good friend of mine (Stacey Maddock of Stacey Maddock Designs (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smaddockdesigns/ Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/smaddockdesigns) repurposes used gift cards into some of her jewellery designs. Being a conscientious friend, I kept my own used gift cards for her, and collected many from family and friends on her behalf. Apparently, Stacey has a lot of friends and family, many of whom had the same idea. So I considered what I could do with all these cards, and decided that they would make wonderful, durable, stylish/cute, purposeful, responsible, purse- and pocket-sized mini-books.
At the same time, I make non-standard-sized handmade books, which produce non-standard-sized off-cuts of quality paper. These I kept, mostly in the hope that I will try my hand at home-made paper at some mysterious future date. However, a lot of these off-cuts are big enough to be used for gift-card sized books.
Serendipity! Together, these gift cards and off-cut papers -- the "potentially discarded" -- can be given a new life and purpose outside of a recycle bin (the final acceptable option) or landfill (the unacceptable option).
But then, this led to the realization that I could use a lot other left-over materials, including leather scraps, bits of elastic cord, threads, wire, plastics, random charms, beads, and buttons from previous projects, and various other bits of ephemera that collect in my studio because I just can't stand to see anything go to waste.
So, in keeping with this spirit of "making use of the potentially discarded", I strive to reduce the amounts and types of for purpose-purchased, new materials used to construct these books to a minimum.
Policies, Customization, and Care
All repurposed materials have been cleaned and disinfected before being used in the construction of any of my books.
I will not purchase gift cards for the specific purpose of making these mini-books. The goal is to repurpose, not purchase.
The former gift cards used in the making of these mini-books are not intended for use as gift cards. They are previously owned and previously used and the balance on them SHOULD be $0.00. The process of converting them into book covers renders then from impractical to impossible to re-use as gift cards. Please keep this in mind when considering purchasing these mini-books: these are no longer Gift Cards, they are Book Covers.
These mini-books are OOAK -- Mostly. As you might imagine, my "making use of the potentially discarded" goal means that each book is unique to the materials already available in my studio, and/or to those materials provided to me by friends and family. Each of these handmade mini-books are, for the most part, one-of-a-kind (OOAK). That said, and given that there are a limited number of businesses that use these PVC plastic gift cards, I have many cards with the same design. In these cases, it might be possible to make copies of these mini-books given the availability of the other materials.
It may also be possible to create custom mini-books based on your preferences for covers, papers, and other materials -- again dependent upon the availability of these materials. Or, if you have cards or other materials of your own that you would like me to use to make custom books for you, please message me to discuss this possibility.
This book is designed for on-the-go creativity, and any scuffs and stains it may acquire over time and distance can only enhance the book's appeal and serve as a statement of both your own and the book's experiences.
The PVC plastic gift cards used as covers are sturdy and resistant to damage. A wipe with a slightly dampened cloth should be enough to clean up most minor "oopses".
The paper pages are, well, paper; thus, they are subject to the same care requirements as any other paper and they will react to environmental conditions.