Up, up and away!
Upgrade, upscale and upcycle your household goods
IF you thought it was cool how MacGyver could take a Swiss Army knife, door knob, copper wire and crushed Aspirin to jury rig an explosive, wait until you see what Linda Bodo can do with a wine bottle, plywood, 20-gauge wire and hot glue sticks.
She’s not a secret agent trying to save lives; rather, Bodo is a crafty DIY-er trying to save the planet, one soup tin at a time. The Edmonton-based do-it-yourself guru is the author of The Art of Upcycle: Repurpose, Reclaim & Redefine Leisure Time. Essentially, upcycling is the practice of recycling home items with a twist: to make them better and more stylish than they were before. It could be a project as simple as reupholstering a classic couch or chair, or an endeavour as complicated as transforming a set of old sawhorses into a funky work desk. Its ultimate goal is to rescue furniture and accessories from an early grave in the local landfill and give them new life as cool conversation pieces.
“We’re not making junky things. We’re making super-cool stuff that we’re proud to display in our homes,” says Bodo.
“It isn’t taking macaroni and glueing it on a plate anymore — we have gone so far beyond that.”
Indeed. Bodo’s book is filled with pictures of eye-candy upcycle projects; home items made from everyday throwaways such as wine corks, bed springs, tin cans or old spoons. With a little elbow grease and creative flair, Bodo has turned the first two items into a sconce vase; the second two into a retro-inspired pendant light — both accessories look upscale enough for resale in a posh boutique.
Upcycling is not a flash-in-the-pan fad, either, says Bodo. As more people incorporate being green into the home and everyday living, the word is gaining a foothold in the homestyle vernacular.
“It’s a trend that’s percolating right now, but it’s here to stay, because we are becoming more and more aware of our planet and how we have to look after Mother Earth,” says Bodo.
It’s hard to argue against upcycling in theory, but what about in practice? It takes time and some level of craftsmanship to turn driftwood into a rustic-chic deck chair, after all.
“True,” says Bodo, “but that’s why I made it my mandate to make really easy projects (in my book) that even DIY virgins could take on... so it’s not overwhelming. ItGs doable.”
Bodo also realizes upcycling is competing with a disposable culture, in which homeowners can purchase a new cutting board or throw pillow for a 10-spot. Apart from doing right by the planet, why would anyone make her own?
The sense of accomplishment, says Bodo, who thinks the best part about completing an upcycle project is standing back and saying, “Wow, I made that.”
Besides, as she can attest, upcycling is habit-forming, and a hoot, to boot. The whole thing about the art of upcycle is it’s supposed to be fun, says Bodo. “We’re not after perfection. We just want to create nice statement pieces that make us feel good.”
— Canwest News Service
Linda Bodo is an upcycling guru and author of The Art of Upcycle: Repurpose, Reclaim & Redefine Leisure Time. She gives rescued furniture new life.