Repurposed Art Studio believes in the thrill of upcycling. It is our utmost desire to take it to the next level. Thus, we love connecting with the like-minded. Every interaction brings us joy and an assurance that we are on the right path. Upcycling is not only about painting, decorating, repurposing but it is also a very important stepping stone for a future that thrives on circular economy. A community which believes in saving the environment and the community that wishes to, together will help to achieve it.
Recently, we came across Tressie Yap from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, through instagram and we hit it off instantly. It was great to interact and learn about 'Upcycled Shack'. With various inititiatives, it is sure to become a bigger movement. The best takeaway is that one person must step up and eventually people will join in. Upcycling is a better future for sure.
What is upcycling? Why do we need to upcycle?
Upcycling is an art to manifest the true beauty & value of the materials, especially those that have been completely transformed. Every type of material should be taken to sustain its life span from each natural resource. Upcycling comes into place because we have too much to throw away. We don’t need upcycling if we have less to throw away.
Where are you based? How did you begin with Upcycling?
I am based in Kota Kinabalu, state of Sabah, Malaysia. I am an architect by profession & also an artist. My profession leads me to observe huge wastage of materials as part of my work, I started to question myself about what is sustainable architecture? If architecture is a destroyer, then what is green architecture? If you want to practise green architecture, shouldn’t you understand green lifestyle first? As such, I started with zero-waste home management. With every single item that I would normally toss away, i crack my head to think how I could make better use of it. I realised with my art & craft skills as well as design skills, I can contribute better in upcycling.
How has been the journey so far?
The journey has been interestingly tough and lonely when it started 8 years ago as in Sabah we didn’t have much awareness even in schools. Patience & passion were the only keywords that kept me going.
Tell us about your upcycling community and initiatives in Malaysia
During my long journey I pondered, upcycling will have just little impact if I am just doing it alone. At the same time I was seeing the existing traditional craft skills of our rural communities becoming diminished. So I started to review & consolidate traditional crafting skill with upcycling materials, and empower & facilitate our rural & low-income & under-privileged groups in Sabah to take up the challenge. Here I started a social-enterprise based business to sustain & incentivize our local communities to upcycle their household waste materials into beautiful & practical merchandisable items.
General public in Malaysia was having a very slow warming up on upcycling movement in the earlier years, but it is picking up now. Many NGOs & corporate bodies are taking up the challenges to be part of the upcycling movement now.
How to move forward in the journey of upcycling?
Upcycling can be much easier if we practise 5R & be minimalist, or if we practise zero waste in our lifestyle. Of course, possessing knowledge of waste segregation & waste management is also important. Learning some basic hands-on craft-making skills can be handy too.
I have many chances to collaborate with other upcyclers locally. Every upcycler tends to have their speciality which works out to compliment each other. We also join force with some environmental NGOs, in order to make our voices stronger together & get additional support.
Follow them here - https://www.instagram.com/upcycled_shack/
Keep upcycling. Keep sharing your pictures and tag me https://www.instagram.com/repurposed_art_studio/