Giving new life to old books
The Bowdoinham Guild of Artisans eighth annual holiday show and sale is scheduled for Friday night and Saturday at the Bowdoinham Town Hall.
The show will be open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Artists featured this year include Bill Stanton, painting; Martha Lentz, fine art photography; Heather Atwood, handcrafted silver jewelry; Matthew Ahlers, fine porcelain pottery; Susan Blake, jewelry; Sam Cook, handbags, jewelry and cutting boards; Lynn Sternfels, jewelry; Sara Cox, colorful functional earthenware pottery; and the Bowdoinham Public Library, which will offer handmade recycled “Treasures from the Library Attic.”
A group of volunteers led by librarian Kate Cutko has worked during the last two months to create handmade items, the sale of which will benefit the Bowdoinham Public Library. The reason they name their table “Treasures from the Library Attic” is because all the crafts are made from abandoned books — books no one has bought at book sales, books that are falling apart and even books that have been dropped at the town’s recycling barn.
The library’s effort last year was rewarded as their special brand of recycled crafts raised about $1,000 for the library — enough for the library to buy two eReaders (a Kindle and a Nook) and all the electronic books that went on the eReaders.
“Needless to say, we’re doing it again this year,” Cutko wrote in an email to The Times Record.
Items her group crafted from books include journals, ornaments, bookmarks, magnets and lamps. They’re even using donated sheet music that was falling apart, as well old maps that are long outdated.
Illustrations found inside an old hard-bound book of yellowed pages, which Cutko said was the precursor to the encyclopedia, have been extracted and glued to translucent glass pebbles and transformed into magnets, which she put into a similarly decorated Altoid tin. The magnets go in the tin, which was named after the book: “Collier’s Cyclopedia of Social and Commercial Information,” which had the year 1882 written in pencil on the inside page. Another set of magnets feature Winnie the Pooh characters.
Joining Cutko for a recent creative session were Diana Mosher and Katie Smith, making Origami flowers; Alison Berry, who was working on a paper petal bouquet of flowers and magnets; and Laurie Peavey-Ross, who delicately pasted sheets of music to empty cigar boxes she found at the recycling barn, creating decorative decoupage compartments that could hold anything from recipe cards to seeds.
As Cutko finished one of the flowers she made with an old book page, she read off words on the petals; the flower is made out of “Robin Hood.” The bouquet was placed in a glass bottle that still bears a label calling it a remedy for cholera. It’s one of the bottles she’s found at low tide along the shore of Merrymeeting Bay.
Other items available at the library sale include several ornaments made of book pages decorated with ribbon, bows made of old gazetteers, and bound journals made of discarded sets of hard-cover Reader’s Digest condensed books.
“I surf, surf, surf the web,” for craft ideas, Cutko said. She also culls ideas from a book titled “The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects that give Old Books New Life.”
Cutko said she believes last year’s sale was such a success because it is “pure Bowdoinham.” Bowdoinhamers love their library, love to recycle and appreciate hand-crafted items, Cutko said. “I think that is Bowdoinham.”
A big hit last year coming back this year are gift tags and bookmarks made from old book circulation cards, now that the library’s book catalogue is automated.
Find this event on Facebook by searching Bowdoinham Guild of Artisans 8th Annual Holiday Show and Sale. Bowdoinham Town Hall is located on School Street.
To coincide with the sale, a holiday tree lighting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday.