Saturday, 20 April 2013

Book Review Friday: Junk Genius: Stylish ways to repurpose everyday objects by Juliette Goggin and Stacy Sirk

Junk Genius is the book that I am reviewing this week!

I love the idea of turning old and unwanted into new and useful, rather than just buying through ease. I am really starting to get a buzz out of looking around my life (not just in the mirror) and thinking "I made that". 

As a dressmaking enthusiast, I thought that this book would help me add to adapting my own jewellery, shoes and give me some ideas about additions to clothing. The book did do this, but not in the way that I expected... let me explain, so I'll start from the beginning....


Compromising from paper to metal to crystal and glass, the book uses what material you have managed to gain and give some inspiration using that as the basis of the upcycled object. Aesthetically pleasing and aspirational in its design.

So you have a house, you have a material and this book will guide you through the making of a variety projects from the wearable to the usable.

Less words and more visual is this books aim of direction, giving double-page spreads to illustrate ideas rather than text to talk through a technique step-by-step.

Tools of the Trade

The book lays out its 40 items of upcycling desire at the beginning, stating that if you have these 'easy to find' 40 items, then you can make anything inside the book with great ease. From old tape measures  (easy) to antique typewriter keys (not so), you can make jewellery to coffee tables.


As a seamstress, I love to see the fabric and the sewing ideas- I feel most comfortable making decisions about the suggestions and ideas with expertise, than some of the woodwork projects.

I love the Doily Curtain idea. SOOOO easy to collect, make and unique to wow your friends and neighbours! The tongue-in-cheek nod to the old ideas of presentation and using them in a new way is really exciting. Ikea told us to throw out our Doileys a few years back, now it's murdering gnomes for the sake of modernity- excuse me whilst I ignore them and just buy their cheap kilner jars! As pictured, the authors have used the Doilies as they come... but also suggest that the Doilies could be dyed into any colour. I particularly like the idea of dying the doilies into a variety of shades of the same colour, that would look really stunning in a colour-coordinated room. 

Some projects do not hit the mark... what I fail to understand is to render useful items useless. This is particularly highlighted with the suggestion of nailing antique bread pans onto a wall, vertically and placing tea lights into them... creating a wall hanging. What is wrong with the bread pan as a functional piece of kitchenalia?! I really don't like this idea as the bread pans actually are useful and wanted by a lot of people. I for one, would bake with an antique bread pan with happiness and pride.


I'm pregnant with a little girl, I won't be having my walls of my house unplastered- but I understand the message of seeing the beauty in the old and finding the use from it. What I know from experience is somethings are best left as a concept, with it's Instagram-type retro, cloudy, pictures... everything looks pretty, in real-life I'm sure that the novelty of exposed plasterboard walls would soon wear-off.

However, if you can look past the idea of learning to make something and just see this book as a 251 page catalogue of inspiration- then this book will serve you well... You'll be thinking differently of old canal boat painted buckets, seeing the potential in dilapidated lampshades and getting excited about broken chandeliers.



1 comment:

  1. Kastrophona Larking21 April 2013 at 05:38

    It does look like a cute book. I agree with your concern over destroying useful items to make some thing useless. The is where i have problems with many peoples' etsy shops as so many times I have looked at a piece they are selling and thought. "gee, I would have bought that if they had not covered it in sparkles or put holes in it.."

    Nice review!


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