Imagine you're on vacation, a day's drive away from home, and searching through the local junk store/antique mall. You are looking for nothing in particular, maybe an old school metal sign, or a souvenir of your trip from a local artist. Wandering the store you don't find either of these things, but rather, the perfect thing. A short chair. An old wooden square with legs and a nasty looking fabric seat. Yet, it's the perfect size and shape to fit in that tiny space between your bed and the window where you like to sit and have coffee. But, it looks a bit raggedy and definitely has had a life of it's own before you came along. It needs a sanding down, has some kicks on one corner, and it certainly could use cleaning. But it's sturdy and solid, a piece from the good ole days, rather than the more recent flim flam furniture days. You decide it's worth the effort, buy the little chair and cart it home to rework it.
Whether you know it or not, you are upcycling-- Taking an item that is worn out and beat up, be it a piece of furniture, house materials, fabric, or any number of other materials, and reworking it to raise it's quality and value. When you revise and restore, you give a new life. You upcycle.
The term upcycling was coined back in 1994 by Reiner Pilz. Since then the idea has taken hold and even a few books have been written about it. Upcycling is creative process at it's best. When you've got a decent piece of material to begin with, the creativity can flow. Pick your colors, your style, your particular type of expression and throw it into something that needs a little love.
But it's not just about having fun. Upcycling saves materials from entering the landfill. It reduces the need for new raw materials to be produced- which helps minimize greenhouse emissions, energy usage, and pollution. Maybe upcycling can save the world.
Now imagine you are not on vacation. You're at home, wherever you live, and you've got a snappy, fun, local business selling you stuff that you can upcycle til your eyes turn blue. Stop on over there and find something to work with. I promise, you'll have fun searching for just the right piece, you'll save money on buying something old, AND you'll find out just how awesomely creative you are when you give that furniture the little bit of love it needs and the perfect spot in your home, right where it belongs.
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