RSWL: Repurposing and Upcycling

This IS a random entry, but you were warned (RSWL- Random Stuff We Like). It is entirely possible it is the 3.75 full, unbroken hours of sleep each night I get causing this randomness. Maybe it is the voices in my head or the overexposure to spray paint. Whatever the cause, this afternoon, while working with my husband and mother on repurposing items, a connection was made between our projects and the pictures we take. It makes sense to me, so I’ll try to make sense.

My husband and I like to “pick” and find treasures at flea markets and local dumps. Honestly, I didn’t like this at all for the years my husband would leave on his form of field adventures. Then, I figured I couldn’t beat him (not like THAT), so I’d join him. Now, our 2 year old son asks when we are going to “fee mawkets” and “yawd sales”. He actually thinks his super hero dad works at the “fee mawket”. We enjoy the hunt and the projects so much that we started reselling our finds…which just leads to more picking adventures.

Scrap yards, local recycling lots, and dumps are the best places to find these items long forgotten and discarded by others. Others see rust and deterioration; we see beauty and industrial décor jackpot. We see stories. We actually prefer to know the stories behind objects we buy. As I scrubbed a large, dilapidated, wooden marching band drum that we’ll convert into a coffee table, I wondered what songs had been drummed on the instrument. How many hands had entertained with the steady beat? How many smiles and proud moments had accompanied the drum? And so it goes with the many finds that come and go in our garage.

It isn’t that different from the way photography can make you look at things in another way. When our Transmogrifier Team takes pictures for the texture website we look for rust patterns, wood grain, tree bark, and peeling paint. The small details, the beauty disguised in decay…well, it takes your breath away when you really “see” it. The abandoned objects and places we photograph for the imagery website all have stories left and covered in dust. A shipwreck weathering in the water is captured by our camera lens, enlarged, printed out and now hangs as art behind a desk. Fire hydrants and 55-gallon drums all appear different after you see our images and read descriptive background on these objects. Really? Large metal drums helped win the Battle of Guadalcanal in the first U.S. offensive in the South Pacific Theater?? Leaves that first burst in the spring become a must-take shot for the fall months and you find yourself watching the tree grow and change through the seasons.
Does that make sense?

Repurposing and upcycling, just like photography, can breathe new life into objects and change the way you look at those objects and places. The opportunity is there, all around us. The stories are there, waiting to be discovered. The beauty is bursting, if we look. Next time you pass a yard sale sign, stop and look. Next time you go to take an old, Aladdin heater to the scrap yard, step back, picture it with glass on top, and just maybe you have a side table. Next time you see someone taking a picture, notice what it is they are trying to capture and you may be blessed with a new perspective. Go ahead- look. It’s a shame not to.

2 thoughts on “RSWL: Repurposing and Upcycling

  1. Okay , I have a trash for treasure, it is yours for the taking. A propane BBQ, that was going to cost more to repair and was replaced with a new one. It is covered with a plastic cover. You got a home for it? :-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *