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Furniture designer uses old law books

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

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the library at Butler University during summer library hours through July 31 in his exhibit “bookwork,” are covers of outdated legal books, such as reports from the Supreme Court of the United States, United States statutes, and reports on treaties and international law.
 

furn 1 This functional chandelier is made of covers of outdated volumes of “United States Statutes at Large.” (Photo submitted)

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. He and Sara have a friend who works for the law school who has been supporting Derrick in this endeavor.

While Derrick said most of the furniture is meant to be functional, one 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.
 

furn 2 This Shaker-style table includes covers of outdated “United States Treaties and Other International Agreements.” (Photo submitted)

Of all the items, perhaps the most intriguing is the chandelier, which unfortunately isn’t part of the exhibit because there is no where to hang it in the library 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’s work is on his blog, http://methodicalcreations.blogspot.com. He can be reached via e-mail at methodicalcreations@gmail.com.•

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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