Celebrating the upcycler within us
God bless the upcyclers, we may need them more than ever.
In our live-fast, buy-now, justget-a-new-one, culture of consumerism, upcycling offers a shift in values. It’s also a pretty fun hobby or creative outlet.
The practice of repurposing and transforming an unwanted object, upcycling is a hit - just check Pinterest or Instagram for proof.
Many of us have tried our hand at upcycling without even realising we were en vogue.
Ever nicked a chair off someone’s lawn during the inorganic collection, painted it and re-used?
Have you ever turned a pallet box into a coffee table in the back yard? Hung a tire as a swing? Congratulations, you have upcycled.
There are different levels of upcycling. Cosmetic upcycling, which deals with transforming design elements, such as repainting, upholstering, or adding new fittings, or re-using materials like timber.
Then there’s serious upcycling, in which you create a whole new object out of unrelated parts.
‘‘Many of us have tried our hand at upcycling without even realising we were en vogue. ’’ Anabela Rea
For the novice interior upcycler, wooden chairs and coffee tables are the easiest starting points, moving on to cabinets, dining suites and upholstered chairs or beds.
If you have DIY, welding or electrical skills, you can consider moving on into lighting and more difficult projects. ‘‘ ‘‘People have also upcycled already made objects like coffee tables. One of the artists has made a coffee table out of an old crank shaft from a car and a microwave plate.‘‘
‘‘I’m a little bit of a magpie and a collect-aholic,’’ said Sally Lush, artist and manager of the Arts Centre in Helensville, Auckland.
‘‘What I love is that something that has been once loved and no longer suits that owner anymore and has been abandoned, is given a new life by the artist.
‘‘Then it hopefully goes to a new home where it’s loved again. That’s a theme that quite often turns up in my own artwork, giving new life to old objects or changing objects somehow.’’
We can’t argue that many old objects couldn’t see new and better days when plied with a bit of TLC. Sounds like it’s about time to head to the op shop.
Armchair from The Bold And The Beautiful, an exhibition of upcycled furniture in 2016 at Depot Artspace.