BLUEFIELD — A few months ago, I was walking through a large craft show when a wreath caught my attention. Now, I am not particularly crafty. I have a rocky relationship with glue guns and DIY projects. It is one of those on-again-off-again type situations. This wreath was missing the traditional flowers, beads and leaves. But I had no problem recognizing the materials. The wreath was made out of pages from a book. I took a closer look; my eyes couldn’t believe what they were seeing. My favorite pastime had been used to create a wreath. I decided I couldn’t be upset. I didn’t write the book used to make the wreath. The pages were twisted into odd shapes to form a circle. The wreath was natural, white pages with black words, running in horizontal lines. It symbolized simplicity. I liked the idea of hanging my passion on the front door of my home. It is a small reminder of how words affect my daily life — at home and work.
Are books in danger of becoming extinct due to overzealous crafters? Probably not. However, according to an article by the Associated Press, books — outdated encyclopedias, atlases and almanacs — are finding new life as tables, shelves, sculptures and yes, DIY projects. Crafters believe they are honoring the books by recreating purpose. When is a book no longer valuable? I want to believe every book is sacred. However, how can a 1958 encyclopedia be of any use, especially when it is covered in dust from the attic? I foresee plenty of wreaths and decor — all made out of books. Do we blame technology for this new trend? Maybe. It is a digital world, after all. For some of us, the idea of simplicity — a basic wreath out of book pages — appeals to the senses. At the same time, we would rather search Google than flip through a dusty encyclopedia. We are a fickle society sometimes.
I still haven’t answered the question. When is a book ready to become a wreath, or better yet, a piece of furniture? A book’s rebirth is in the hands of the owner. I have several old books. Some hold family history, like my mom’s story book and my dad’s old elementary text book. A few are valuable. I wouldn’t dare make a wreath out of an old edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poetry. There are a couple of old books in my parent’s house. The kind you see at garage sales and flea markets, covered in dust so thick you could write your name. I feel those deserve a second chance, even on the front door. It lets everyone know, “A book lover lives here.” Did I buy the wreath? No and I regret not making the purchase. Given my past history with glue guns, it’s not likely I will make a book wreath anytime soon.