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You see an obsolete camera, I see a nightlight: Meet your San Francisco upcyclers
Sara Johnson | Photo: Meiko Takechi Arquillos | May 15, 2012
Making new stuff from old stuff now has a name—upcycling—and an army of ingenious practitioners. A rags-to-cashmere overview of the zeitgeistiest design trend around.
We’re not sure exactly when the earnest, slightly scolding concept known as recycling morphed into the lighthearted, aesthetically exciting movement called upcycling. What we do know is that transforming the worn-out, the broken-down, the utterly useless into stuff that’s high style and cool beyond the usual do-gooder/ DIYer demographic feels absolutely of the moment. It’s fun, of course, testing the ingenuity and creative dexterity of established craftspeople and novices alike; even local fashion favorites like Martha Davis and Melissa Joy Manning are finding inspiration in the trash. Profitable, too: Thanks to places like Etsy, Kickstarter, and SoMa’s TechShop San Francisco work space, it’s never been easier to play around and earn some money besides. But the real appeal is socio-psychological. The making-do-with- what-we-have mindset that was so appropriate for the recession feels even more fitting now that significant swaths of the Bay Area are starting to boom again. Maybe that’s because upcycling, in its small way, is a reaction against the soul-destroying decadence of recent periods. It’s a reminder that things don’t have to be the same again if we don’t want them to be. They can get better.
More on San Francisco magazine's website:
- You see an obsolete camera, I see a nightlight: 13 local upcycled products
- Bin there, found that: Where to get garbage to upcycle
- Inspiration 101: Where to learn to upcycle
- A year in the life of an upcycler: When and where to buy, sell, and salivate