DEKALB Lisa A. Wiggins has found a new way to recycle old books.
Using vintage books made with fabric covers, the DeKalb resident creates bookmarks, magnets, coasters, canvas bags, mouse pads and other novelties.
Her hobby started last fall when she visited a flea market and purchased an old book that was falling apart.
It had a lovely spine and I wanted to figure out a way to save that part, Ms. Wiggins said.
So she made the spine into a bookmark and covered it with clear lamination.
Her interest took off from there, prompting her to search for used books at library sales, yard sales and flea markets. She accepts donations from people looking to get rid of their old books.
I just think old books are pretty, she said. Some of the illustrations are incredible.
Most modern books have shiny paper and lack the decorative gold lettering that was sometimes used on old book covers.
Books are just not made the same way anymore, Ms. Wiggins said.
Since getting started last fall, her hobby has evolved into a side business she calls Limited Editions. She has a booth at the Canton Flea Market, University Plaza, Route 11, where customers can purchase her work as well as buy paintings she purchased to resell.
Her booth also offers past issues of Horticulture and Mother Earth News magazines, some books and other vintage items.
Ms. Wiggins sells her creations at some outside venues, such as the St. Lawrence Historical Associations Antique & Artisan Show and the Ogdensburg Area Zonta Club Antique & Artisan Show.
Besides recycling book covers and spines, Ms. Wiggins finds creative ways to use the illustrations, maps and diagrams found on inside pages.
She creates unusual wall hangings by matting and framing some of the book illustrations.
I really try to use as much of the book as I can, she said.
Sketches are laminated for bookmarks and magnets. Botanical artwork, sketches of machinery and drawings of human anatomy also get plucked from book pages.
Ms. Wiggins works full time for the St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services and enjoys having a way to channel her creativity.
This takes up most of my free time, she said with a smile. Its fun.