While I’m no tree-hugging, uber-recycler in my everyday life, when I heard about the opportunity to engage in a pop-up shop with 39 other Cleveland artists, I jumped at the opportunity.
When I first heard about upcycling, it was last November and fellow CleCrafter Nidhi was participating in the pop-up in Shaker Square. When I visited the shop I was so inspired by the profoundly great second and third lives people had found for everything from scraps of fabric to wine bottles.
A little HISTORY: Unsure how I could make my mark, I emailed the founder, Nicole McGee of Plenty Underfoot anyway and declared my interest.
Then it happened. One late night in the studio, absent-mindedly flipping through magazines that I did not order but are shipped to “the trade” regardless of how many times you click “online subscription only”, I realized that the overflowing recycle bin at my desk was no destiny for these glossy rags. Surveying my office for other paper products that I could cut, I found a stack of oversized paint samples that were so old, some of the colors don’t exist anymore. Why were we keeping these? Why weren’t these donated to Project Landfill? Why? So that I could lasercut them.
Soon thereafter I attended a fabulous craft+wine club at Nidhi’s where she dazzled us with her internet-scouring abilities once again. This day she had found a tutorial on making paper roses, and being the darling that she is, she had even cut the templates out.
It was a craft night for the books – we hit record attendance and I actually crafted from a magazine, instead of reading it for tips on winging out your eyeliner. Halfway through the process of cutting so many petals, it dawned on me that my lasercutter would be perfect for this. And so would my paint samples and trade magazines. Then Nidhi whipped out her encyclopedia and began to tear it apart. I knew I needed one too, which is how I came about at the Lee Rd Library book sale and how I procured a children’s dictionary with fine red-tinted illustrations, which serves as my third material at Collective Upcycle.
The fourth material was found shoved in a corner, as they usually are, at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. After a lecture and after ensuring that no employee there would miss one of the very many phonebooks in said pile, I procured my fourth flower material.
So there it is, the history of my involvement in a movement to prove that one’s man trash is another person’s treasure, as long as you define treasure as paper flowers you can purchase for $6 ea.
If you’re in the NorthEast Ohio area, stop by through the end of June to see mine and other brilliant artist’s work on display. There is also a ton to do on the Detroit Shoreway like eat old fashioned ice cream and hot dogs. Seriously, between Sweet Moses and Happy Dog, is heaven.
6706 Detroit Avenue Cleveland, OH 44102
Thu – Sat:
12:00 pm-9:00 pm
12:00 pm-5:00 pm