Repurposing, Upcycling, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

I’m going for a photo of a minimalist object — one of my favorites from a show at MAD (the Museum of Art and Design) that Sam and I saw on last week’s art-fix trip to New York.

The U Rock Chair from the Museum of Art and Design, NYC

The U Rock Chair from the Museum of Art and Design, NYC

Why is it call the U Rock Chair? Easy: turn it upside down and it’s a rocking chair — too bad I can only do that with a photo —

Envision the U Rock Chair as a rocker

Envision the U Rock Chair as a rocker

The chair is designed to be made from PET bottles made of recyclable plastic, a good example of repurposing. Brazilian artists Davi Deusdará, Érica Martins, Raphael Studart, and Tais Costa proposed this project for the Battery Conservancy outdoor seating competition.

Repurposing (or “upcycling”) is one of the themes of the “New Territories” exhibition at MAD. Here are a couple more examples:

Thierry Jeannot -- Green Transmutation Chandelier, 2010 (made of reclaimed PET plastic bottles)

Thierry Jeannot — Green Transmutation Chandelier, 2010 (made of reclaimed PET plastic bottles)

Pedro Reyes, "Guitarra", 2013. This artist refashions confiscated guns into musical instruments, such as this guitar form.

Pedro Reyes, “Guitarra”, 2013. This artist refashions confiscated guns into musical instruments.

Pedro Reyes, "Guitarra", 2013, detail. This artist refashions confiscated guns into musical instruments.

Guitarra: detail.

Repurposing is important on my own road to minimalism, (Hoarder’s gotta come clean somehow, right?) though my own examples are much less dramatic. Most recently, I’m proud to have found a home for three quilts. My aunt bought the already-vintage quilt tops at an estate sale back in the early 1970’s, and my mother had them finished by a local quilter. They’ve had some good use over time, and now, at the hands of a friend and expert seamstress, they’ll be made into new items fashioned from existing quilts. Since quilts are made to repurpose fabric scraps in the first place, I’d call this a double victory.

Here are two of the quilts, ready to enter the 21st century — a few of the fabric pieces are worn through, so most but not all is re-usable.

Quilt with green backing

Blue and red quilt with dark red backing

— with thanks to Pip and her blog at Sustainablility Soapbox for reminding me that repurposing is worthy of sharing. Here’s her post about using scrabble tiles for art. I like the comment about using the term “artcycling” instead of “upcycling”.

What are you repurposing, upcycling, or artcycling this week?

 

Related posts:

More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

New Territories at the MAD Nov 4 2014 through April 6 2015

(see more about New Territories on twitter: #NTrepurposing and #NTspace)

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12 thoughts on “Repurposing, Upcycling, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

  1. Excellent interpretation of this week’s theme. That is very intriguing a chair doubling up as a rocking chair. Are you sure it rocks well? 🙂 Those quilts don’t actually look too worn to me (trust me, my childhood blanket looks way more worn) – I hope they’ll be able to be used as or made into cloths, cloths to wipe tables or something like that. That’s one way to reuse old quilts.

    If you’re creative, you might try to make stuffed toys out of the quilts. I’m sure it will take up more time, but it will be fun figuring out how to 🙂

    • I think my seamstress friend (or her colleagues) will make things like vests or bags or other small items from the good parts of the quilts. The green one is the one that has some pieces that are worn through. When there are lots of different pieces, the more delicate fabrics don’t hold up as well over the years.
      On the chair, I found that the artists had made some videos. I’ll see if I can put a link here. See what you think — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNtIy1UH5Hw
      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! — Sandy

      • I love the video, Sandy. Thanks for sharing. Such a simple design, but all those people were enjoying the chair so much – it must be very comfortable for sitting in. I would like to add some cushions to it, though. Sitting in a hard chair for a long time makes my back hurt. But I’m sure typing a cushion or two to the chair isn’t too difficult 🙂

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