Archives for category: Upcycling inspiration

My colleague Steph sent me a link to this really interesting article in the Ecologist about “Upcycling: 2011’s greenest decorating trend” which showcases some UK furniture boutiques that are doing excellent stuff! This just further spreads the word about upcycling!

The article highlights Cafe Direct (the UK’s largest 100% fairtrade hot drinks company) alongside UK designer Wayne Hemmingway last summer created a pop-up eco-home which toured UK festivals and events. The container house was created using entirely sustainable materials.

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Here are some ideas for any bits and pieces you may find at the car-boot or thrift store this weekend (or perhaps some inspiration of what to look for).

Hannah from Seeds and Stitches used some second hand kitchen towels to keep her bread fresher for longer with these cottage-style bread bag  (doesn’t her home made bread look yummy too).  I found some instructions on how to do this over at Momtastic.

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Here are some gorgeous pieces of unusual ‘art’ that you could make in your own home with a little bit of upcycled elbow grease.

Have some pretty left over wrapping paper from a party or the masses of brown paper that come out of giant boxes that companies insist on putting little deliveries in?  Then how about making this a-ma-zing giant rose.  Perfect for a whimsical element to any lady’s boudoir.

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Have you ever been to Anthropologie?  The store on Regent Street is one of my happy places.  It is an Aladdin’s cave with the most amazing beautiful things.  But it is so expensive it is unlikely I will ever buy anything there.  I haven’t read about all their ethical/environmental background but some of the homeware stuff they sell is second-hand and upcycled which I figure is a good start.  Their Regent Street store has a ‘living wall’ which is covered in plants.  Also their latest window display on Regent Street is pretty darn awesome (sorry not great photos but you get the idea).  They used like a bazillion corks to make this retro hanging display with succulents.

and when they are done

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Or “Why Office Work Is Bad for Us and Fixing Things Feels Good” by Matthew Crawford

(To use its, better, American title) Shop class as Soulcraft explores the psychological benefits of practicing “manual” trades as well unravelling the current political economy that eschews such skills and instead promotes “knowledge work” (and increasing attendence at university at the sake of all else). Perhaps a calling to all would-be upcyclers it explains and gives prescience to the growth of craft hobbies and explores the demise of shop class ( American for “D.T.”) and manual skills.

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Julia Roebuck is the creator of Upcycle Fashion – which works to communicate sustainability through design and education. She has kindly agreed to talk to me about her inspiration and her upcycling projects.

I have to say, it is such a great site and I love your gallery of the projects you have worked on, especially the Green Print Dress and Blue Scraps Summer Dress.

These projects are so inspiring and makes me want to reach for my sewing machine and have a go!

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I found great pleasure from Stuart Haygarth‘s ‘Found’ exhibition at the Haunch of Vension, London in December 2009. It is a showcase of art and upcycling coming together to create something beautiful. Hands down, this has been my favourite art exhibition yet and it would be hard to top. I loved it so much I went back again shortly after with Mike.

When talking about his work Haygarth says“

‘My work revolves around everyday objects, collected in large quantities, categorized and presented in such a way that they are given new meaning. It is about giving banal and overlooked objects new significance’

‘Lighthouses’ was one of my top 3 pieces from the exhibition. It was colourful, really attractive and a great example of upcycling! The pieces used to form the light stand were plastic bottle tops that Stuart found from Dungeness beach, Kent.

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