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the library at Butler University during summer library hours through July 31 in his exhibit “bookwork,” are covers of outdated legal books, such as reports from the Supreme Court of the United States, United States statutes, and reports on treaties and international law.

furn 1 This functional chandelier is made of covers of outdated volumes of “United States Statutes at Large.”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furn 2 This Shaker-style table includes covers of outdated “United States Treaties and Other International Agreements.”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, He can be reached via e-mail at•


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.