Made From Books is a line of jewelry by Yes & Yes Designs that uses unwanted, falling apart, or outdated books as their source material. Each piece is laser cut and assembled with care by us, Laura and Julien Shields, at our workshop in Oakland, California. We then donate a portion of our profits to support literacy programs world-wide.
For us, Yes & Yes Designs is about creating something beautiful that has a positive impact. We don’t want to have to choose between fun or serious, bold or sophisticated, beautiful or meaningful: we want it all! Yes, yes, and yes!
Thousands of books are thrown away each year in the Bay Area alone. We find unwanted, falling apart, or outdated books and give them a new life. Delicate embossing, fabric weaves and fragments of colorful patterns make each piece unique. Old textbooks, falling apart children’s books, and Reader’s Digest Condensed Books are our favorites, though any hardcover book with interesting colors or patterns will do. Yes, we judge a book by its cover.
We get the books from library sales, thrift stores, garage sales, and donations. Want to donate your unwanted hardcover books to us? Yes, please! Contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because our materials are so unusual, it really does feel like a collaboration: we provide the shapes and designs, but each book provides the color, personality, and story, so to speak. Bold, simple shapes define our style- our goal is to let the material speak for itself as much as possible. And because our laser cutter is computer controlled, we are able to achieve an incredible level of precision.
After we’ve laser cut our pieces from the books, we coat each piece with many fine layers of clear acrylic to help protect them, and to make them water resistant. The final step is to assemble the pieces into earrings, necklaces, pins, or whatever it is that we want to make!
We work from our home studio (some might call it a garage) in Oakland, California. As a husband and wife team, we are involved with every aspect of our pieces, from the design, to the laser cutting, all the way to assembling the finished pieces and packing up orders. Thanks for loving what we love to make!
Laura Shields began making jewelry in 2008 by experimenting with a wide range of materials, including a formidable collection of wool felt that she inherited from her grandmother. Constantly on the hunt for exciting materials to repurpose, and being a life-long bibliophile, it didn’t take her long to try making pieces from discarded books. She’s been hooked ever since! In 2012, Laura successfully funded a kickstarter for her own laser cutter, and also brought on a new business partner: her husband Julien! Laura and Julien design and produce everything from their workshop in Oakland, CA.
Yes & Yes Designs has been featured in the New York Times, San Francisco Magazine, FreshStyle Magazine, TechCrunch, MAKE Magazine, Readymade, the San Francisco Chronicle and more. Yes & Yes Designs can now be seen in stores throughout the US. If you live in California, you might even find Laura and Julien, and their handy assistant, Toto the wonder-dog, at an event near you.