Monday, 28 March 2011

Recycle, repurpose upcycle: What it means to me and my work?

Recycle? Repurpose? Downcyle/Upcycle? Unicycle? These buzz words keep popping up in the (rather hippy) regions of the craft circuit, in which I happily circulate.  It can seem rather confusing. Perhaps a brief exploration of their meaning will help me to locate myself in all this.
 Recycling (as most people know) is the process of turning used or waste products into something new. Paper may be pulped and treated in order to make more paper. Most people do this regularly now, and most local authorities are aggressively promoting recycling.  Most items in our domestic household can be recycled and the common items are paper, glass, plastic, aluminum, food, etc.  Repurposing  is to convert something from one use or format to another. We have repurposed old empty cable reels as plant stands on our decking. Upcycling is the process of converting waste or redundant products into something of better quality or of some kind of higher value- be it ecological, social, aesthetic or whatever. Melting plastic bags down in order to form high end furniture is upcycling. Using redundant or waste materials to make art or craft is also upcycling, and this is the particular field where my own interests lie.
These cycles help us to lead  more sustainable lives, which is more important and serious than any buzz word. I lean toward Buddhist philosophy which identifies the cyclic nature of life:  We are born, we live, we die and the process, known as kharma, starts again.  Dharma is the word for the description of the process and the ultimate route to happiness.
I chose the words "making sustainable stunning" as part of my title in order to indicate that my work is not just to recycle or upcycle materials, but also to make them as stunning as possible- to make high quality craft.  So, I wish to demonstrate that I care about environmental issues, and to make others aware of these issues, but most of all I need to create something stunning for someone to cherish until it again finds a new life as something else.
 The 'flyer' part of my user name is simply reference to my birdie surname!

upcycled hat made from old felted jumpers

upcycled cushion made with same textiles as the hat above and stuffed with cornish organic wool