Top Books About Creative Reuse at Your Library

Reuse Got Me Reading!

By Laura Kraus, Librarian & Spare Parts Volunteer Coordinator

If you don’t frequent your local branch of the San Antonio Public Library (SAPL), you should probably take some time on a lazy Sunday to see what’s available: you might be surprised at everything that’s offered. They have programs for adults and children, host musicians and artists and of course they have books! If you don’t have a library card, it’s super easy to get one – go to any of the SAPL branches, present your ID and proof of Bexar County address. You can also pre-register online and get access to online resources.

As a librarian, I was excited to see SAPL has plenty of good print resources about creative reuse, sustainability, and the environment in general. I’ve put together two lists: one for adults and one for the younger crowd. My choices include crafty books to get you inspired to reuse what might be considered trash to some, and turn it into your own personal treasure. I’ve also included informational books to get you thinking about the state of our world, and the ways in which we, as its inhabitants, can make small changes to help out.

So, whether you’re looking for something creative to do on your time off, or a way to introduce a little one in your life to a value of our environment, take a moment to peruse these lists and see what sparks passion in you. #reusegotmethinking

Have any questions? Feel free to contact me (laurak@sparepartssa.org) and I’m happy to help.

 

Young Adult and Children’s Books on Reuse and Sustainability

Recycle This Book : 100 Top Children’s Book Authors Tell You How to Go Green

 

Don’t Throw That Away! : A Lift-the-Flap Book About Recycling and Reusing
Bergen, Lara

 

The Life Cycle of Paper
Costain, Meredith

 

Cool Odds and Ends Projects : Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Trash into Treasure
Scheunemann, Pam

 

Second-Time Cool : The Art of Chopping Up A Sweater
Lindén Ivarsson, Anna-Stina

 

What Can You Do With An Old Red Shoe? : A Green Activity Book About Re-use
Alter, Anna

 

Trash to Treasure : A Kid’s Upcycling Guide to Crafts : Fun, Easy Projects with Paper, Plastic, Glass
Scheunemann, Pam

 

Generation T : 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt
Nicolay, Megan

 

47 Things You Can Do for the Environment
Petronis, Lexi

Adult Books on Reuse and Sustainability

1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse : Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew
Johnson, Garth.

 

Garbology : Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash
Humes, Edward

 

Use Less Stuff : Environmentalism for Who We Really Are
Lilienfeld, Robert M

 

Better : The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living
Caldwell, Nicole

 

Modern Upcycling : A User-Friendly Guide to Inspiring and Repurposed Handicrafts for a Trendy Home
Zacke, Susanna

 

Don’t Throw it Out : Recycle, Renew, and Reuse to Make Things Last
Baird, Lori

 

Rubbish : Reuse Your Refuse
Shoup, Kate

 

Refashioned Bags : Upcycle Anything into High-Style Handbags
Blakeney, Faith.

 

Stylish Remakes : Upcycle Your Old T’s, Sweats and Flannels into Trendy Street Fashion Pieces
Room, Violette

 

The Art of Cardboard : Big Ideas for Creativity, Collaboration, Storytelling, and Reuse
Zimmer, Lori

 

Creative Reuse—getting your art & craft on

The concept of creative reuse aka upcycling, remaking or repurposing is not new.  According to Grant Johnson, author of “1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew,” materials reuse has been around since medieval scribes scraped off and reused parchments, and the ancient Greeks melted down older bronze statues to make newer versions. Creative reuse, in its current incarnation, combines artistic expression with ecological responsibility served with a side of thrift.

In the hierarchy of what to do with our stuff, reduce should be the first action—quit buying so much stuff! Reduce means choosing to use or purchase things with care to reduce the amount of waste generated.

reuse pyramid_small

Reuse is different from recycling, where the products are broken down treuse 1o its component parts and re-manufactured into new products. Creative reuse is also different from conventional reuse, where the product is used in its original purpose again.

Recycle means the conversion of a waste to form a new product.

Disposal is the magical ‘disappearance’ of all other trash to the landfill where most of it never, ever really goes away.

 

So have we piqued your interest to learn more about creative reuse? Wondering how to get started? The San Antonio Public Library is always a good resource for ideas and inspiration. Here’s a list of books complied by one of their helpful librarians.

“Modern upcycling: a user-friendly guide to inspiring and repurposed handicrafts for a trendy home”

“Reclaimed textiles: techniques for paper, stitch, plastic and mixed media”

“Vintage reuse 2made modern: transforming timeworn textiles into treasured heirlooms”

“Creative recycling in embroidery”

“The Salvage Sisters’ guide to finding style in the street and inspiration in the attic”

“Trash formations east”Johnson book

Quoted in the first paragraph, Grant Johnson’s book is full of marvelous art work pictures with corresponding materials list.

Several other hands-on avenues are also available. Leading the charge in San Antonio for creative reuse is Spare Parts founded by Mary Elizabeth Cantu in 2010. Spare Parts offers cultural and environmental sustainability, affordability and accessibility to the arts through education. A large variety of workshops and projects at schools and community wide-events are held throughout the year. Attending an event or volunteering with the organization can impart insights and instructions.creative reuse art table

In addition there are many “maker” organizations and events popping up around town. The ‘maker culture’ invites people of all ages to be creative in a plethora of venues including—technology, DIY projects, artistic expression. Many of these projects are creative reuse. “Make San Antonio a creative hub for makers of all ages” is a good example.

Argentinian artist Elisa Insua calls her creative reuse art “immortalizing meaningless trash into works of art.” We agree.Elisa_Insua_-_WS_-_Herospace