Ecological Creativity from Elisa Nicoli

Leggi questo post in: Italiano

when elisa nicoli let me know that one of her books could be of interest to me, i immediately went looking for it and found that there are also two other of her books (published by altreconomia) that also look very interesting. she proposed a swap and so for a baggie of my tile-dominoes, she sent me all three of her books! i was really happy to be able to not only read her fantastic books, but also to get to know elisa a bit, because she’s truly a lovely person!

let’s start from the most recent book which, rightly so, is enjoying a great success! the description of “Questo libro è un abat jour” (this book is a lampshade) calls it a “practical manual to transforming things. a critical catalogue of changing objects.” i admit, to be honest, that before reading it i wasn’t so sure how many ideas it would have that i hadn’t already seen online thanks to pinterest and facebook pages. but it was a great pleasure and very educational to read this book. it contains a massive number of projects that are either described (sometimes photographed or illustrated) or mentioned with internet or other media source information clearly stated. (i truly appreciate the author’s honesty in consistently citing the source. when you take inspiration, especially from internet, it’s too easy to “steal” ideas rather than giving credit to those who deserve it.)

i also really like its layout. it starts with sections on why and how to recuperate and transform unused objects, then it starts getting really fun: “re-creation projects: 15 things that are other things.” this is where you can find the lampshade from the title, but many other ideas, too, with clear instructions and illustrations on how to create them.

then there’s a section on how to furnish a home in “upcycling style.” elisa proposed an entryway, a kitchen, a bedroom, a living room, a bathroom and a yard that are unique and absolutely fascinating. even if the projects will be more useful for me, this is the part of the book that struck me the most. it bring it home how feasible it is to do without so many things that we buy in stores and make them ourselves in an ecological way.

next is a sort of spelling book on upcycling starting with “A is for… clothes hanger.” (well, at least in italian it is!) one project is described in detail (in this case, a toilet paper holder), but after many other ideas on how to use the given material are provided.

and as if that weren’t enough, at the end there are stories of four people/groups passionate about upcycling, a collection of italian people/groups/courses etc tied to upcycling and finally a list of interesting websites on the subject.

this book is chock-full of information and ideas. i read it with paper and pen nearby so i could take notes on projects, sources and people that i wanted to read further on (and there are lots of them!)

“pulizie creative” (creative cleaning) is decidedly smaller than “questo libro,” but that doesn’t mean that it is any less worthy. it is about why and how to make natural and homemade home cleaning and body care products. again, i admit that i thought i already knew a lot about these things (you can read about some of my research and experiments here), but once again elisa proved me wrong and taught me a long list of things to try!

the book can be broken down into two parts, one on home cleaning and the other on body cleaning, and each of these parts is comprised of two chapters, the first with informazion on industrial products and why they’re no good and the second on alternative homemade recipes and techniques. one thing that i’m looking forward to trying is making soap which can be used in many ways, not just to wash your hands. elisa does a remarkable job describing both the issues of a store-bought product and homemade techniques, again, with the sources always given.

the one problem i found with this book is that it’s not always easy to find things again within the book, but if you take notes with page numbers on a sheet of paper while reading, you shouldn’t have any difficulties.

the third book is called “L’erba del vicino” (literally the neighbor’s grass, but referring to the italian version of “the grass is greener on the other side.”) and is about how to gather and use wild herbs, grasses and fruit. i admit i still haven’t read it because i haven’t had time, but this book also seems very well-made. there’s a sort of manual with pictures and descriptions of many different wild species and then instructions on how to pick and use them. and at the end, as with “questo libro…”, there are stories of people who use these techniques and information on where/how to use them in italy. i bet this book would be very useful when taking walks in the forest or mountains.

conclusion? wonderful books for anyone who is interested in leading an ecological and creative lifestyle! check them out or at least follow the fantastic elisa on facebook. happy reading!


8 thoughts on “Ecological Creativity from Elisa Nicoli”

  1. grazie mille per questa recensione! non conoscevo Elisa ma la descrizione dei suoi libri ha suscitato in me un vivo interesse.
    Decisamente non posso non acquistare il primo che hai citato che piu' di tutti ma mosso la mia curiosità!
    grazie ancora
    a presto


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