Elissa goes to the library

Handmade book by John Freyer

Handmade book by John Freyer sold for $22.50, tag #000956

I have a terrible habit of reading only two types of books:

  • Anything about bookbinding and paper arts
  • Anything about social media and online marketing

Every now and then, I run downtown to the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in an attempt to combat my niche reading preferences. I usually browse the new additions section and pull things out at random.

Yesterday I grabbed All My Life for Sale, by John D. Freyer. In the book, John tells the story of how he sold all of his possessions on Ebay in an attempt to rid himself of his “stuff addiction”. He includes images of everything he sold along with the original product descriptions and a brief update of the item’s post-sale life.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that John has a background in the book arts and he carries this theme throughout the book.

And I was trying to find a non-book arts book. Go figure.

My favorite part of the book was in his update on a U.S. Army chair he had sold for $2.25.  The buyer didn’t want to pay for shipping and asked John to give it to a “good home”. For two weeks, he unsuccessfully tried to do so.

Finally, he had an idea:

I decided to send the oversize box chair unsolicited to the Franklin Furnace Artist Book Collection at the Museum of Modern Art. When Franklin Furnace donated its collection of artist books to MoMA in 1993, it did so with the requirement that MoMA continue to maintain an open accessions policy, taking any item that an artist submits as a book. I submitted my chair.



Many thanks to John for granting permission for use of his handmade book image.

2 Responses to “Elissa goes to the library”

By velma - 27 May 2010 Reply

hey, elissa, i know john’s aunt and uncle (actually my very dear friend kathy) and they told me all about him and his project. they had antillary* and avuncular attitudes about nephew john, but i borrowed and enjoyed his ‘all my life for sale’.

*from amanda cross

By Elissa - 27 May 2010 Reply

Velma –

This world is so super-small! Even though my post suggests otherwise, I was thrilled to see that he was a book artist. I’m bummed that I wasn’t aware of this story sooner – I would have fought for that breakfast book. I do love eggs.


So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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