Furniture maker uses legal books

July 13, 2010
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This post was written by IL reporter Rebecca Berfanger.

While libraries have been discontinuing books from their collections, the pages are taken out and recycled, and the covers are also destroyed or recycled. One Indianapolis furniture designer, however, has been keeping the bindings to make benches, tables, a screen, and even a functioning chandelier.
 

medtable
Photos are submitted by Derrick Method.


The main materials Derrick Method uses for his furniture, appropriately on display at the library at Butler University during summer library hours through July 31 in his exhibit bookwork, are covers of outdated legal books, such as reports from the Supreme Court of the United States, United State statutes, and reports on treaties and international law.

The books were discontinued from the Butler library collection, and Derrick, who recently graduated from Herron School of Art at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, became aware of their availability from his wife Sara Method, a cataloguing associate for the library.

Derrick also told Indiana Lawyer he plans to get discontinued books from the Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis library for future projects. A mutual friend he and Sara know, Jonna Kane MacDougall, an assistant dean and professor at the Indianapolis law school, tipped me off to the exhibit.

While Derrick told me most of the furniture is meant to be functional, I could easily imagine many of the pieces in a bar association or lawyer’s office or waiting area.
A Shaker-style table with a glass top and book covers hanging under the glass would make an interesting conversation piece. So would benches and chairs made out of book covers with wood Derrick carved and placed between the covers to give the illusion of pages.

It’s the small details of Derrick’s work that are worth checking out in person. His tables have leaves to expand or shrink them. One has a drawer that looks like a piece of an old card catalog, and another work’s functioning drawer has pieces of fabric, designed to look like bookmarks, which serve as handles for opening the drawer.
 

chandelier
Photos are submitted by Derrick Method.


Of all the items, I was most intrigued with photos of the chandelier, which unfortunately isn’t part of the exhibit because there was no where to hang it in the space.
Derrick’s work is available for sale and he is accepting commissioned projects. He was also recently recognized at a Furniture Society conference in Cambridge, Mass., where he was the only one there to have furniture made out of book covers.

Summer library hours for the Irwin Library on the Butler University campus are Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Fridays 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.; and Saturdays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. The exhibit is in the library’s Collaborative Learning Space - the right quad upon entering the library.

More information about Derrick, including how to contact him, is on his website, http://dmethod.etsy.com. His contact information is also on the website for the exhibit.

Could you imagine furniture made out of law books in your office?
 

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  1. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  3. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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