Upcycling is defined as: “to process (used goods or waste material) so as to produce something that is often better than the original.’”
Whether making use of old baby stuff (I once saw a crib-turned-kids desk that was amazing), or dumpster diving for unique items to turn into art, upcycling is becoming an incredibly popular way to not only reduce landfill, but to stretch creative wings and define oneself.
Nathan Devine, founder of Retrash, a website and book devoted to finding inspiring ways to sustainability remembers being excited about trash even as a kid.
“I remember going to the dump when I was a kid and being excited by what treasure I might find, and at the same time feeling saddened and confused by the amount of trash that was being thrown away,” he said.
In the garden, the studio, and at home, upcycling provides limitless sources of creativity. No longer bound by traditional mediums, saving items from the trash gives intriguing or sentimental items a second life, while giving us a second chance to appreciate something we would otherwise have had to let go.
If nothing else recycled art is a way of living and looking at things.
As Rita Wilson of Poptabs said: “Whether I make beautiful things or not, [my pieces] are definitely a conversation starter and make people think about recycling.”
This week we’ll see how Rita Wilson uses soda can pop tabs to create runway worthy purses and clothing, how Stacey Monks repurposed a piece of furniture in an unexpected way, and how Heather Bradley created a piece of art from reclaimed refuse. Check back each day to see what these artists, and others, have to say about creating something new from something garbage.