Re-Creative – Steve Dodds

50 projects for turning found items into contemporary design

Re-Creative cover

“Without leaving the mall, you can buy pre-faded T-shirts with “vintage” graphics, distressed furniture with factory-applied patina, or home accessories that mimic the style of decades ago. Each gives the appearance of having a history and a soul. In reality, it’s just the same mass-produced stuff that everyone else is buying”

Re-Creative is an inspiring collection of ideas to recycle, restore and repurpose found objects. If you’re the sort of person who likes all the ingredients laid out and readily available before starting a new project, this is probably not the book for you. For those who frequent garage sales and second-hand shops, getting their kicks from the thrill of the hunt, Re-Creative will have you itching to get out and find precious junk to assemble into a masterpiece of design and ingenuity.

The first part of the book gives tips on coming up with your own projects and sourcing materials, as well as a section on craftsmanship, Shaker design and product design in the twentieth century. It’s more of an overview than a detailed synopsis, but it’s an interesting read and provides easily digested food for thought.

Part two is dedicated to “ready-to-make” projects, although these are best treated as a source of ideas rather than step by step tutorials, because many of them include materials that you’ll require elements of either luck or dogged persistence to find the exact right thing. That said, there are some great ideas here using simple materials and methods to create really lovely finished products. The cardboard tube vases caught my eye, as did the section on novelty clocks, which features a “perpetually incorrect bathroom scale”, gutted to make a stylish wall clock.

Re-Creative cardboard tube vases

Re-Creative bathroom scale clock

Re-Creative is well worth a browse if you’re between projects and seeking inspiration for what to do with your stash of interesting junk that was too cool to pass up. It’s a nicely designed book with great photographs and an easy-to-read style.

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