Thursday, April 15, 2010

An interview with Surf Bunny, the ultimate recycler

Today we have a very special guest. Seems Surf Bunny from Surf Bunny Designs has graced us with his presence. Although I'm having a bit of formatting problems with today's post, I hope you will be able to read and enjoy this post. When you are committed to recycling everything under the sun, it's a lot of fun to find someone like minded. This is a guy bunny after my own heart. Without further ado, I give you an ultimate recycler, Surf Bunny.

E: So Surf Bunny, it looks like your blog is quite eco-friendly.  Tell us
a bit about yourself and your art interests.

SB: We are eco-friendly, what bunch of rabbits isn't? Actually, the
creations here are the combined works of my partner Phred and myself.
We take on the alter-egos of the warren to bring a touch of whimsy and
the serendipity of our works to our fans and customers.
E: I see you make some of your paper using plant material.  Do you also
make paper from junk mail and similar paper?
SB: Yes, we do use junk mail and office papers for some projects. The
problems of the inks, the dyes and the ad
ditives (bleach, aluminum salts,
etc.) make this not our favorite choice. Most of our handmade
papers are
designed for use in art projects that should have the
potential to
survive for decades or more, so we are careful to make acid
lignin free papers that won't substantially change color or
We don't make thin copy machine type papers.
Above photo courtesy of Surf Bunny Designs.
E: Do you have any paper making tips?    

SB: Be prepared for water! LOL!!!! Paper making is probably one of the
wettest activities you can get invloved in this side of Olympic
You need to plan on water in every stage so you don't ruin
the carpet
or the other things on the counter top.
For making a few sheets of
stationery sized paper you can get all the
supplies you need inexpensively
at a dollar store and the hardware
store. Look for picture frames
of solid plastic or wood construction.
Buy two and take out the glass,
matting etc. Now you have your mould
and your deckle. Go to the
hardware store and ask for a scrap of window
screen wire, either
plastic of aluminum, it just needs to be slightly
bigger than one
of the picture frames. Hot glue or use duct tape to
stretch the
screen across one frame, this is the bottom layer (mould).
The other
picture frame is hand squeezed against this when you dip into
paper pulp and makes the deckle (deckled edge paper is kind of
not precisely cut like commercial paper.
To create the pulp get scraps
from the paper shredder in your home or
office. Try to remove any big
plastic bits from where that credit card
was shredded, but don't worry
too much about it. Use a kitchen blender
to further mash the shreds
add plenty of water and keep the lid on!).
To pour paper, hold your mould
and deckle in the bottom of a plastic
dish pan (don't use the sink,
you'll plug up the drain) pour the pulp
in, swish it around a bit to
even it out and lift straight up to let the
water drain back into the
dish pan. Take the deckle off and turn the
mould upside down against
a handiwipe. The paper will release from the
mould and transfer to the
handiwipe. Use a sponge to press down and
blot some of the water off the
sheet of paper - don't twist or you'll
ruin the sheet. It is possible to
dry the sheet in the microwave or a sunny window. Be
careful because you
can over microwave the sheet. Do one minute
increments and check it,
watch out the steam will be hot.
Use your paper to make some wonderful art!
E: Do you plan your artistic activities around recycled materials?

SB: We don't actually plan them that way, but often that is the outcome.
Recycle materials are a treasure trove of idea making, creativity
opportunities. Some of the items just call out to be made and
we have the idea and then have to hunt around for the
appropriate materials.

E: Can you tell my readers a bit about your Pantry Collection books? They
seem to be a big hit wherever they show up.

SB: The Pantry Collection is an outgrowth of what our area does not recycle.
The local recycling centers won't take the types of cardboard that
most of the products in our grocery stores. Corrugated, yes.
Chipboard, no.
So, what to do with the amazing amount of waste? Well
book boards came
immediately to mind. Of course this type of paper is
not acid free and
will fox with time, so the best use seemed to be in
brightly colored
Yeah Madison Avenue), whimsical note books. We do
believe in traditional
book structures, so you won't find us using
plastic binding clips.
All the Pantry Collection are bound with ancient
styles of Oriental or
Coptic or European stitchings.

From The Pantry Collection.  Courtesy of Surf Bunny Designs.
E: I see you bind all your Pantry Collection books.  What is your favorite
binding technique and what type of binding material do you use?

SB: We do believe in traditional book structures, so you won't find us using
plastic binding clips. All the Pantry Collection are bound with ancient
of Oriental, Coptic, or European stitchings. The exposed spine
bindings are
beautiful in a way that no plastic ring or perfect-bound
paperback will
ever challenge. It's funny that the term perfect-bound
which sounds so nice,
really means just slathering glue on the spine of
the pages and sticking
them against what ever the book cover is. Cheap,
fast, perfect for the
modern throwaway world. Our Coptics and Stab
bindings use natural cotton
or linen thread, beeswax and good old
needles. We do bleed for our art.
Traditional bookbinding techniques courtesy of Surf Bunny Designs.

E: Love those digital journals.  Care to tell us a bit about them?

SB: The unbelievable changes in the digital world leave such amounts
waste. Remember getting the cd from that internet company like
once a
month? How about the great digital cameras that wrote one
picture to
the 3.5 inch diskette? Now all that technology is
obsolete and heading
to landfills where the petrochemical
plastics will never breakdown into
petroleum again. Our Digital
Journals are an attempt to utilize some of
that waste in a
geek friendly, earth friendly way. They are a lot of
fun to
design too, the clasps and closures are unique on every one.

Digital Journal courtesy of Surf Bunny Designs.

E: What is your favorite material to recycle?

SB: We actually recycle a lot of glass. In our other life we are glass
artists and there is always something about shiny glass......

E: Is there anything I haven't covered that you want to discuss?
SB: You've covered it all, just encourage everyone to be creative,
excited and be friendly to their neighborhood rabbits.

Thanks Surf Bunny for agreeing to this interview. It's been fun
with you. Now I know that you are dying to visit
Surf Bunny Designs and see such things as their Palm Leaf
Structure book among other amazing pieces. You are simply
going to love the art that comes out of that Bunny's blog.
You know you want to go, so please don't hesitate. After all,
today's blog is Surf Bunny Designs and YES, it's a male bunny
to boot!

9 thoughtful remarks:

Diane said...

Great interview, Elizabeth!! I loved the website too.

La Dolce Vita said...

really great interview Elizabeth and I will go check out the site!

Melinda Cornish said...

what an awesome interview...I love the pantry books......

Lynn said...

Wow what a lot of stuff to learn to do and enjoy!!! Love it love it love it. Thanks so much what a service you provide!!!!!!!! Thanks for OPENING my eyes! I will hop over to the blog now and get my eye candy.
Loved that floppy disk book cover...want to get my frame going and get my hands in wet soggy shreaded paper...maybe the grandkids will love doing this with their house where the parents detest any sort of mess. LOL (while they are out of course).... tee hee.

Marilyn Rock said...

Terrific Elizabeth! Great interview; I learned lots and I will check out the website! Thanks SO much! xxoo

Terri Kahrs said...

Fabulous interview, Elizabeth! I'm off to visit the website. Hugs, Terri xoxo

Halle said...

Great read... Always fun to learn more about an artist! Glad you are doing these interviews.

Debrina said...

Hello Elizabeth - this is such a terrific interview! I really, really enjoyed it. Surf Bunny is so inspiring..thanks for linking me to him! Oh and I wrote out a reply on my blog about my Pulp redux contribution...but then figured it was only good there for other readers and probably not for you unless you come back to it; so here it is:

Hi Elizabeth! Yes, my pages are very fat...but they are only a segment that fits into Lisa's book. If you hop on over to the Pulp Redux site,you'll see what I mean. Lisa's book is an old blank photo album with pages that come out. A portion of those pages are mine to work on and then, in turn, there are blank pages for the rest of the group to use. The two Lisa's have already done their contributions and mine will be the third contribution to Lisa J's book. Gosh, it does sound complicated doesn't it...but that's the best I can do to explain it. Lol.
Oh and thanks for your support on the ad's true, they ultimately make money off you in the end, no matter the trifle amount they pay you to do their advertising for them. Shame on Amazon and shame on Google blogger too.

Liverpool Lou (Anne) said...

Really interesting post, thank you for all the info :) I tried to leave a comment yesterday but had PC porblems, I'm hoping it's sorted now as I had big problems on Tuesday too :(
Anne x