To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh
at what we normally take for granted.
I love upcycling: the taking of something mundane, probably intended for the trash heap, and seeing a new use in it. Especially when it is beautiful.
My husband and I are champion upcyclers. No renovation materials ever go to waste here— whenever he builds something new, it has pieces of past projects in it (which tends to provoke “this is the house that Jack built” jokes from me, but has a sort of beauty of its own; everything he creates holds a history). Somewhere around here I have a photo of an 8ft tall lamp made from copper pipe bits and pieces, somewhat shaped like a man and wearing a little copper bowtie. We called it Mr. Belvedere.
I can’t bear to throw away any bits of ribbon that have potential, a box with a unique shape or texture might be perfect for a use that hasn’t presented itself yet.
And I loooove browsing sites for upcycling ideas. Another local, Paige Wolf (who also has a book, Spit That Out!: The Overly Informed Parent’s Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt) introduced me to Hipcycle.
Are you ready for this?
How happy a picture would they make in this bird house? It’s made from woven reclaimed plastic wrappers.
This is cool. It’s a big folding basket made from single-use chopsticks. The chopsticks are made from bamboo, which can withstand high temperatures, so it can also be used as a colander that can easily be folded up to save counter and cabinet space. Pretty and practical.
I’m a clock addict. Half of the ones in our house don’t even run (one of the exceptions being the one in my office, which runs backwards); their batteries ran out long ago but I consider them a sort of art. This reclaimed wood clock is made from salvage from old boats, schools, homes, and other buildings in Thailand. They’re refinished and constructed by local artisans offering much-needed employment.
For me, anyway. Let’s see if anyone in my family reads my blog.
Many of the items available on Hipcycle are made in the USA, while others are purchased through a commitment to fair-trade practices. Since everything is genuinely sourced from materials headed for the landfill, every one is slightly different and truly one of a kind, and has its own story to tell.
You can search by purpose (home, garden, office) or by original material (wood, fabric, glass). There is also a Random Category of Fun. If that doesn’t = awesome I don’t know what does, people.
If you’re feeling shoptastic, get yourself some Hipcycle— you can get 15% off with code HCC15 (expires 6/30/2012, limited to 1 use per customer).