There's something special about being able to turn something old into something new. By adapting perhaps an out of date or even broken material possession, it's possible to create something valuable with it. The process is typically known as upcycling these days, however the art of re-using anything that is available has been a money and resource saving technique for as long as civilizations have existed. Evidence suggests that recycling old for new has been integral to our cultures since stone age times, and yet, according to Ran Barkai, an associate professor in the department of archaeology and ancient Near Eastern civilizations at Tel Aviv University,
“They taught us to forget that” - NYTimes
Perhaps in this modern time, it is more difficult to make use of things as, in a disposable society, many items simply do not get made to sell for their hard wearing quality. With cheap magpie buys and flash fads which make the most out of the very least, it can be safe to say that on many of the things we buy now-a-days, there's very little left to upcycle. We really are headed down a path of trouble for future generations and have been for a long while, when the everyday person has neither the money or the experience and knowledge to make full use of the hard wearing nature of the best life has to offer, we will just carry on with the cheap option, and chucking it away when done.
Maybe technology has served to propagate this, as we are experiencing exponential grown on all ides of the digital realm, and the analogue market has become something of a designer and luxury element of the high street. Recycling has valiantly stepped in during modern days once more, when we as a culture were confronted with footage and evidence of massive global desolation due to our our greedy needs. The disposable era is perhaps tailing away after-all if only we could shift some of our old habits.
Many governments have taken steps to eliminate Throw Away Society, with pressure from public and professional groups. Taiwan being one fo the first to ban all disposable tableware, something which had been causing massive problems in the country for many years. Similar laws are being adopted all over the world in order to tackle the cheap, mass produced and easily disposable consumerism culture that has plagued the Earth since the onset of the industrial age.
It isn't lazy, it is simply because we're not schooled in the art of thrift. This isn't penny scrimping like the word perhaps suggests, but making the most of things, pushing our daily useables to their maximum use potential. Replacing broken things with old pieces from other broken things has been a way of recycling for generations. In this very process, some of our biggest discoveries are found. If we don't play with materials and experiment with their capabilities, we would never find that they can perform specific functions. A magnetic compass perhaps is one of the first discoveries of this method, in which a magnetic strip would be found to point north when allowed to suspend from string or sit on a pivot.
Making things from the same things they were before is a great thing, but for me it's wonderful to see things thrown out of their manufacturers comfort zone and used for some other purpose, quirky and aesthetically enchanting, curious oddities from different departments of life are always well received when placed in novel situations. Take a look at these creations, stocked in an antique shop not far from me. Click here to visit their site.
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