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Harry Potter Carries my Wallet: Eastern Market

“My favorite purse is a geometry textbook.”

Artist Caitlin Phillips crafts purses, coasters, jewelry and tablet covers out of vintage books. She hoards many of her creations — like the Geometry purse — to herself. 

A powder blue “Pride and Prejudice” hangs in Phillips’ booth at Eastern Market, a space she has managed for 10 years. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” strung through with black beads also catches the eye. Not to mention table coasters lined with pages of classic children’s books, from “Winnie the Pooh” to “Amelia Bedelia.”

Phillips runs her business “Rebound Designs” out of a new studio and storefront called “Book land” in DC. She also sells her work on the business’ website and in an Etsy shop, as well as various craft shows. 

The altered book artist found inspiration for “Rebound Designs” through garbage. Or as some may see it, through discarded treasures. 

“I used to work at a used bookstore, and we threw a lot of books away,” Phillips said. “I would take these books, these beautiful books no one wanted and think someday i might come up with something to do with them.”

The final spark for Phillips’ business idea? A purse made of Capri Sun pouches. “If you can make a cool looking purse out of total trash, what’s the classiest thing that you could throw away?”

So Phillips recycled her collection of vintage books and transformed them into the type of art she sells today. “Three months later i quit my job,” she said. 

For purses, Phillips said her most popular products are Jane Austen or Nancy Drew novels. Of course, each customer has her own taste. Many even bring Phillips their favorite books to have their own custom purses. Tablet covers, or what Phillips calls Biblio Tech Covers, are also popular, according to Phillips. 

Rebound Designs products range from $65 to $170 and can be found on the website

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