Repurposed Book Purses by Susan Temple

Here ya go! Aren't these little purses made from recycled books just marvelous? I find them so unique; lovely as well as useful, especially when you consider these purses keep fewer trees from being lost to a landfill. Let me introduce you to Susan Temple, owner of Smart Designing, a little shop on Etsy that's filled with these perfectly useful covers. (Find out more about each purse shown by clicking on them to see their shop listings) ~angee

1. Repurposed Illustrator Directory
miniVIEW of The Purse Maker

~ Susan, tell us a little about your creative self.

I am a Graphic Designer by profession for over 25 years. I design marketing materials for all sorts of clients including banks, hospitals, even a WNBA team, and I love my job. I always knew I would do something creative. When I was young I wanted to be the person who illustrated the sewing pattern catalogs! The ladies at the fabric shop would save the out dated catalogs for me and I would draw the pictures over and over. So began my love of fashion! I learned to sew when I was 13 and I made all my clothes for years. I made coats, suits, even a bathing suit once. I love to hand make! The satisfaction of saying I made that, the choosing of the materials, the creative process, it’s all therapy for me.

I’ve sold things that I’ve made on occasion, but nothing I made was ever accessible enough to market. My father was always on me about selling my crafts but it’s really hard to make any money from crafting. You have to work super fast with materials that don’t cost a fortune to be able to meet a price point people can afford.

2. Great Expectations... Navy Blue Repurposed Purse - Outside and Inside

My book purses were the one thing that put me where I could make a modest profit and put out an affordable product. But the best thing about any craft is the enjoyment of doing it and I really enjoy making the purses. It marries all my skills as a graphic designer and crafter in one unique item. Plus my love for books! If there is one thing I am guilty of it is I WILL judge a book by its cover. As a graphic designer I just can’t help it!

~So, what inspired your making purses from book covers as an art form?

I was inspired to create my first book purse by my sister, who is an avid reader and aspiring writer. For her birthday her husband was going to give her a Kindle. My thought was-- what a perfect way of transporting a Kindle, in a purse made from a book cover! I had cut an article about how to make book purses out of a magazine awhile ago and then I had reason to teach myself. I gave her the purse as a gift and she loved it. Her reaction made me decide to make a few more, just for myself. But then an obsession was born!
3.Stephen King Repurposed Book Purse

~What are your favorite book purse making materials?

I hunt for books in used book stores, salvation army depots, yard and tag sales. I screech to a halt if I see a pile of books by a trash bin! The hunt of it is fun, and when you find a perfect and unique book, it’s a joy. When that happens I am almost jumping out of my skin to make it into a purse. I never, ever use new books because I respect the original intent of a book. It’s meant to be read and cherished. But after that, why should it sit on a shelf collecting dust? However, rare and first edition books are also a no-no in my book (pun intended). Those are special and should remain intact. There are some gorgeous old readers I found that would make incredible purses, but no way. They need to remain intact as a reminder of our heritage.

The second material would be the fabric, which is just as much fun to hunt down. I walk into the fabric store armed with a bag full of gutted books and begin to find the perfect fabric to compliment them. I can get absolutely giddy when I find a fabric that is perfect, like I won the lottery or something! Then I match a handle, button for closure and ribbon for attachments and we are off to the races.

~Let us in on your particular personal creative process.

My creative process is Zen like... I get into a groove and before I know it hours have passed and I hardly knew it. I set things up to flow for each purse, I only work on one at a time, start to finish. I’ve never left a purse half made either, once I begin the building of it I finish it. I have a little transistor radio that I put on NPR and just zone out. I am incredibly lucky that I have a ‘craft room’. I live with my husband and two dogs in small three bedroom colonial. One of those bedrooms is my ‘office/craft room’. I am also extremely lucky that my husband is a very talented cabinet maker. I had a craft cabinet that was about 28 years old and it was literally falling apart. This past winter he recreated (and improved on) a new cabinet for me. And come to think of it, having that new cabinet gave me the space and comfort to really explore my craft. I am very blessed.

4. To Dance-Valery Panov - Perfect "little black bag"

~ What advice have you uncovered on your own artistic journey?

I think the best thing I learned about this particular journey is to over come my fears. I worried that people wouldn’t like my purses, or they wouldn’t be good enough. I really had to move through that in order to set up my Etsy shop. My friends and family are incredibly supportive with their advice and compliments, which really helped. I would say this-- do what you love. If you love it, and that’s all you get out of it, then you are far ahead in the game. That’s my advice... Oh and always keep a bowl of ice water on your craft table when using a glue gun! Happy crafting.

Visit Susan Temple's Etsy shop and see all of her fun creations: http://www.smartdesigning.etsy.com

Thanks for sharing with us Susan. It was great fun to find out about your unique creations. Now, I'm off to finish my book so maybe I can have it made into a purse!

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love these purses! Each one is unique and special.