Ever since I have stumbled upon the term upcycling, it has been like falling in love all over again. I have been obsessed with it, reading about it, learning around it, and more importantly practising it. To amplify my learning, I have also been connecting with people who have been in this field and have been cheerleading the idea of creative reuse for a while now. And in this, the social media platforms have really played a great role, through which I have discovered very interesting projects and initiatives. The inspiration all around has contributed to a lot to my personal learning. First I started doing upcycling work in my house, and then I started blogging about it. It is always good to share what you learn.
If you are still not sure "How upcycling is different from recycling", let me explain in layman's language. Unlike recycling, where thrown-away products and materials are made into new products in order to prevent waste, upcycling is a creative term, where waste materials or no longer used products are turned into new materials with a higher value than the original. Thus, upcycling is an art of refashioning something without creating any kind of waste. And thus it is extremely inspiring and environment friendly. It is time that we all aim for a house full of upcycled products.
In today's blog post, I am glad to take you through a conversation with Chris Billinghurst,
the founder of the House of Upcycling, the UK and Ireland's leading independent authority on professional upcycling for interiors.
Q: What do you mean by 'The House of Upcycling'?
A: The House of Upcycling originated in 2014 as a networking hour on Twitter (called #UpcycledHour), created to support the growing community of professional upcyclers in the UK and Ireland. Evolving over time to become the leading independent authority on professional upcycling for interiors, the organisation rebranded at the end of 2018 and became an Industry Partner of the British Institute of Interior Design (the BIID) in 2019.
Mellow Deco Refinished Cocktail Cabinet
Q. Where are you based?
A: The House of Upcycling is based in the Home Counties in the UK, around an hour from central London, with members located nationwide including Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland as well as on the Irish mainland.
Upcycled Vintage Plates by alijoedesigns
Q: What has been the journey like so far?
A: There have been many challenges with regard to people's perception of what upcycling actually is, that it is an umbrella term involving many different skills and style genres and can be a profession as well as a hobby. We are delighted that in the past three years there has been a shift in how the design industry perceives its aesthetic worth as well as the environmental benefits it brings and that interior designers are now keen to work with professional upcyclers to support their residential and commercial interiors projects.
Annie's Furniture Art Refinished Cabinet
Q: Tell us more about your initiatives and the response from people.
A: The House of Upcycling works with interior design schools, students, interior and product designers as well as the media to spread awareness of the benefits of the craft, as well as hosting on and offline events. The interior design industry now acknowledges professional creative reuse as an innovative craft for the 21st century and upcycling was Cambridge Dictionary's 'Word of the Year' 2019. That said, many members of the general public are still not fully aware of its benefits however the House of Upcycling continues to help to spread awareness and we were delighted that this April the BBC launched a television series dedicated to the craft called 'Saved and Remade' which is helping to raise understanding and appreciation further; as a bonus, two of our members are appearing in several of the episodes.
Upcycled Mannequin Side Table by Dolly Fixtures
Q: Suggest us some ways in which people could adopt upcycling in their daily life.
A: Upcycling can begin in small but significant ways, from painting and reusing glass jars and tins as vases and plant holders to making old clothes into cushion covers. For those with more advanced skills, reinventing furniture to give items a different purpose or painting and decoupaging the surfaces to revive them for longer term use and preventing them from ending their days on landfill.
Hope you enjoyed the conversation. Do share your experience with 'Upcycling'.