Friday, May 30, 2008

Are You Ready for ReadyMade?

It would seem that environmental responsibility is all the rage these days. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has become something of a celebrity because of his focus on green issues. Sales of Toyota's low-emission Prius have topped one million, increasing 36% in the past two years. And who can forget that former-Vice-President-turned-climate-change-activist Al Gore added a Nobel Prize to his trophy shelf last year?

When a movement catches on in a big way, it can seem overwhelming. Do I recycle enough? What's the carbon footprint of these new shoes? What can I do to help solve these big environmental problems?

Your Magazines and Newspapers Center staff feels your pain. And while our friends across the floor at the Wallace Stegner Environmental Center will continue to host programs and collect materials to help you tune into the big picture, we encourage you to celebrate the small contributions you can make and read a magazine called ReadyMade.

ReadyMade has been around since 2001. Published out of Berkeley every other month, this magazine will inspire you with step-by-step instructions for making furniture, clothing, decorative objects, and all sorts of other things out of objects you can find around the house, on the street, in the trash, or at a junkyard.

Here's how they describe what they do (from ReadyMade 1, Winter 2002):

"ReadyMade is a handbook of stories and how-tos written by young people with big, unwieldy ideas. Contributors draw up instructions for making things and, in many cases, take their own photos of the finished projects. Read their stories, admire their pictures. These people are the future."

Edgy lighting fixture out of a garbage can lid? Issue 6.

High-fashion headboard out of old skateboard decks? Issue 34.

The how-to articles are mixed in with features highlighting interesting ways in which people are making things themselves as a way to reduce waste, save money, and reuse items bound for the landfill.

In the spirit of consuming less and saving resources, why not pass up the newsstand and come read our copy of ReadyMade here at the Magazines and Newspapers Center? We keep the latest copy on display, the last few issues behind the Page Desk, and the older issues bound and on the shelf.

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