craftivity.jpgMy new favorite word is “upcycle. “A German chemist Michael Braungart and architect William McDonough coined the term in their 2002 book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.’ To upcycle simply means to use waste products to make useful things.

Upcycling is what Tsia Carson, one of the brains behind SuperNaturale, is all about. In case you have not seen it yet, SuperNaturale is a fantastic site dedicated to all things DIY with an online magazine, bulletin boards and blogs. Carson’s book Craftivity: 40 Projects for the DIY Lifestyle, is based on her website and features 40 projects to turn your trash into treasure. As Anda from Etsy Storque says, “After only a few pages, you should be itching to visit a local thrift store, the back of your closet, or the dumpster behind your apartment for interesting (and free) supplies.”

If you are looking for some trash to upcycle, why not check out FreeCycle. Teensygreen just turned me onto this great site which allows you to see what kind of trash your neighbor might want to unload on you. Freecycle is a free service with more then 4,518,000 members! The main purpose of the site is to allow people to share unwanted items with folks in their own city instead of tossing more junk into landfills. As for me, I’m off to look for more plates to break!

Written by Juliet Ames

Juliet Ames breaks plates for a living. A metals and craft major at Towson University, Ames went on to work for the Howard County Arts Council organizing gallery exhibits. Meanwhile, she kept up her own craftwork. The plate-breaking started with a mosaic mailbox. “There were leftover pieces, so I soldered them and wrapped them around my neck and got a lot of compliments,” says Ames, 28, who just had her first child, a boy.


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  1. Hi! My dad just forwarded me your blog entry. I love the concept of “upcycle”! I recently went to a UN Film Festival where they featured the a film by Micheal McDounough talking about Cradle to Cradle and just fell in love. I have a business where I make bags out of discarded clothing so this concept is very close to my heart. Thanks for the entry and getting the word out there about Cradle to Cradle! I feel like everyone should and can participate in this wonderful concept. Hopefully with time and understanding this concept will be the norm. 🙂

  2. Helloo, Great blog! I’ve been researching the term Upcycling and thought you might be interested in this. (It is from that most reliable source, wikipedia though, so perhaps more digging is required) ^_^
    ‘The first recorded use of the term upcycling was by Reiner Pilz of Pilz GmbH in an interview by Thornton Kay of Salvo in 1994’
    Quote in question here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upcycling

  3. Hi all !
    We are a design shop in Kingston London acting as a spring board for all art, design and architecture students, new and old from Kingston University. We will be appearing on Kingston Green Radio on the 16th of May 2012 from 8-10am discussing upcycling. If you are interested than please tune in.
    Follow us On Twitter @TheWork_Shop

    Thanks for the support.
    The Work Shop team

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