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the library at Butler University during summer library hours through July 31 in his exhibit “bookwork,” are covers of outdated legal books, such as reports from the Supreme Court of the United States, United States statutes, and reports on treaties and international law.

furn 1 This functional chandelier is made of covers of outdated volumes of “United States Statutes at Large.”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furn 2 This Shaker-style table includes covers of outdated “United States Treaties and Other International Agreements.”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. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.