What upcycling looks like (to us)

So what exactly does an upcycling group do?  That’s the first question most people ask us when they hear about the project.  Well… there’s a certain amount of drinking coffee and chit-chat involved.  And, in my four-year old’s opinion, there are also “silly billies” who “make the table untidy”.  (Have I mentioned that she’s a genius?)  To help illustrate the process, we took some photos of our most recent group session.

We start out by giving talks and handing out leaflets to ask people to save certain items for us.  (There’s a full list in our first blog post).  If we’re lucky, we’ll soon have a stack of random donations, which look like this:

Then we get started, sorting each material out by type.

And sometimes we have to clean the items or weed out the things we can’t use, like the left-over crisps at the bottom of the packet.

Next, we sort each material by colour and size.

It’s actually a lot of fun sorting through all the pretty colours and looking at all the pictures on the greeting cards.  The only downside is that a) your hands get unbelievably dirty, and b) you get a monster craving for chocolate!  After a while, we usually take a break to refill our coffee and maybe have a kickabout with an upcycled football we made. (And maybe grab some chocolate from the shop.)

The next bit is the most important, because it’s the only thing stopping our storage area from looking like an episode of “Hoarders”.  We smooth, flatten, stack and bundle each of our materials so that they are ready to use and easy to find.

Now that we’ve sorted out all the mess, we can get to work.  Which usually makes a whole new mess in the process!

Special thanks to Alex and Sarah, for your great photos of the session!


3 thoughts on “What upcycling looks like (to us)

  1. I truly enjoyed reading your post & I kinda wished I could be part of your group – if it weren’t for the long distance! Please do tell us more about what you do… do you sell the upcycled products at craft shows, donate them, use them at your homes…?

  2. Thanks so much! The group members all have learning disabilities, and we help them sell the things they make to create a “fun fund”. We try to make things on a “keep one / sell one” ratio so that everybody has a couple of chances to practice each project, and also get to keep some of their work to show off. We have a great time doing it too!

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