Ex Libris Anonymous turns old books into new journals, diverting quirky hardcovers (and some inner pages) from landfills by giving old library cast-offs a second life.
Portland, Oregon has done wonders to uptick American “cool” (what’s not to love about a place whose unofficial motto is “Keep Portland Weird”?) but its heart is all about sustainability. The city is one of the most environmentally conscious on the planet; Popular Science awarded Portland the title of the Greenest City in America in 2008 and Grist magazine listed it in 2007 as the second greenest city in the world.
So it’s perfect that this upcycling boutique was born in this sustainable city’s limits, although the bulk of their business is conducted online.
Start exploring on their website (link here) – or Etsy site (try here) – or Facebook page (again, here). Scroll through the journals currently on offer – new batches appear constantly – this is “act quick” shopping! Unlike the journal title pictured here, the world won’t end if your favorite is snatched up before you can buy it – a steady stream of increasingly goofy covers will rapidly take its place.
Every journal is one-of-a-kind, a completely unrepeatable experience.
They start by exhaustively searching for the most interesting recycled books they can find, and after carefully curating favorites, salvage the covers (and selected pages) of each one.
They next fill the journal with about 75 pages of blank, 24/60#, acid-free paper (which makes for great journaling or sketching), interweaving actual pages from the book right alongside the blank journal paper.
Says Deatherage, “The journals will amaze you with the lovely stuff retained within – beautiful cover pages, delightful illustrations, half-filled library cards, cool old maps, personal inscriptions for mysterious previous owners. With every page you turn, it’s like getting the prize at the bottom of the cereal box!”
Because each book is unique, every journal is a slightly different size (if exact dimensions are important to you, e-mail in your questions, and you’ll get a prompt reply). The lead image shows my last Christmas order, titles that screamed Buy Me for my newly-minted-nurse niece, my Brit husband, our son who just moved to Baltimore, and Seuss-loving daughter. “Friends Far and Near” went to friends who relocated back to the US after years here in Amman, Jordan.
The journals are spiral-bound with plastic coils – and quickly shipped to you packed in protective material made from (of course!) shredded textbooks. And for as long as I’ve been shopping here, they’ve run a fabulous offer to buy a bunch and get one free (check website for details). Ex Libris Anonymous has been building handmade journals since 2000. They do have a brick-and-mortar studio storefront along the banks of Portland’s muddy Willamette, but internet shopping will get copies delivered anywhere on the planet.
Check them out for a fabulous upcycled ready to host your next novel, sketches or scrapbook.