My name is Linda Sienkiewicz, and my business is Rókki Handbags. I craft purses out of everything from the seat of a pair of jeans to record album covers. Several years ago, a fellow writer asked me to make a purse from her newly published historical romance. Thus began my new passion: making book purses! I take book covers and give them new life by crafting them into purses, clutches, wallets and cell phone cases. I especially enjoy recycling the really old books, the ones that are falling apart, into purses. Some of these vintage book covers have beautiful cover designs with embossing, illustrations and colors.
Please don’t think I’m simply ripping books apart for the fun of it. Turn-of-the-century books were not made to last. They were printed on cheap paper with pressed board covers that is so acidic it actually eats away at the cover fabric. I often do extensive repair work on some covers. I see repurposing such books as a way of honoring and preserving them. The end product is a one of a kind purse that can be used and enjoyed for years, as a day clutch or an evening bag. The best part is that the texts of vintage books have been digitalized and can be read online for free.
I also use contemporary and mass-produced book covers, and I have authors who send me their books to make into purses. Most of my customers are passionate readers who appreciate unique fashion accessories. Carrying a book purse is a great way to let the world know your affection for a particular writer or book.
I rebind some of the texts for my customers or my own library. I use the pages of Nancy Drew books to make funny notecards. Other pages are recycled into artwork, book markers, or passed on to my writer friends to use as creative writing prompts. Nothing is wasted. I don’t use rare books or first editions.
I sell my book purses on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/shop/RokkiHandbags. My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/RokkiHandbags Also, if anyone wants to try making their own book purse, I have a tutorial on my website at http://rokkihandbags.com/handmade-detroit-news-theres-more-to-these-books/ Just click on the news article. You’ll find my blog there, too.