Posts tagged
with upcycling

Craft Design Photography

Brilliant Botanical Cyanotypes Adorn Kellie Swanson’s Upcycled Garments

March 10, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of a woman wearing a yellow turtleneck and overalls imprinted with floral cyanotypes

All images © Kellie Swanson, shared with permission

Artist and photographer Kellie Swanson imprints jackets, jeans, and other garments with the rich blue of cyanotypes—an early form of photography that uses UV light to produce monochromatic prints—as part of her burgeoning clothing line KSX. With grainy textures that complement the weave of fabrics, the brilliantly hued wearables feature natural specimens like ferns and flowers found around Swanson’s home in Bozeman, Montana. All of the garments are secondhand, and the artist sources most from thrift stores and vintage shops, ensuring KSX takes a more sustainable approach in an industry infamous for its waste.

Swanson began the upcycling project in 2020 as a way to re-engage her creative practice, and it’s since yielded several collaborations and collections, which sell incredibly fast. The next shop update is set for later this month, so keep an eye on Instagram to snag a piece.


A photo of a chore coat with the right side imprinted with floral cyanotypes

A photo of three pairs of jeans imprinted with floral cyanotypes

A photo of a woman wearing outside, holding flowers, wearing a tank top and jeans imprinted with floral cyanotypes

A photo of a woman lounging in a meadow wearing overalls imprinted with floral cyanotypes

A photo of a woman wearing a yellow tank top and pants imprinted with floral cyanotypes

A photo of a stack of jeans imprinted with floral cyanotypes





Industrial Fire Hoses and Bricks Are Upcycled into a Minimal Outdoor Furniture Set

August 25, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Local Works Studio, shared with permission

Loretta Bosence and Ben Bosence are behind the East Sussex-based Local Works Studio, which recently completed a furniture collection focused on revitalizing what’s been discarded or cast aside. Designed for Maggie’s Southampton cancer center, the functional goods are made almost entirely of upcycled goods sourced nearby. “People who sit in the chairs and touch the surfaces can ‘read’ the story of the furniture and understand where the materials came from. This connection to place and the playful character of the furniture is a powerful antidote to the usual impersonal, sterile environment of a hospital,” the studio said to dezeen.

For the long dining table, designers crushed gravel from the site, which was also combined with damaged and leftover terracotta bricks from the center’s facade to create a terrazzo-style surface for benches and smaller tables. Ground granulated blast-furnace slag, a byproduct of steel, serves as the main binding agent, with only a bit of carbon-dependent concrete added. The studio also shaped leftover material into pavers for seating areas.

Hoses decommissioned by the local Hampshire Fire Service Headquarters—the entity is required to replace its equipment every ten years, meaning the red, water-resistant tubes are abundant in supply—were woven into the backs and seats for dining chairs, loungers, and one-armed models. The textile-like components were then wrapped around steel frames made by the charity Making it Out, which supports people who were formerly incarcerated.

For more sustainable, community-focused designs from Local Works Studio, visit its site and Instagram.





Repurposed Stained Glass Comprises a Disorienting Illuminated Greenhouse by Heywood & Condie

May 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Heywood & Condie, shared with permission

A brilliant greenhouse suffused with a rich spectrum of color stands at 25 Porchester Place in London. Bathed in sunlight by day and illuminated by LED bulbs at night, the translucent structure is lined with a disorienting collage of Christian iconography and folkloric imagery: saintly figures sprout insect wings and wildlife occupies spaces usually dominated by humans in a melange of spiritual symbols.

Titled “Sacré blur,” the greenhouse is a 2015 project by horticultural artists Tony Heywood and Alison Condie, who originally created the piece to house psychedelic plants at the Oxford Botanic Gardens—this part of the project never materialized over fears that students might misuse the hallucinatory specimens. The intention for the sculpture revolved around the idea of sacred light, the foremost example being stained glass, and creating a transcendent space complete with a mirrored infinity floor. “We are gardeners,” Heywood shares with Colossal. “The greenhouse is an architect’s equivalent of a temple. It’s where life begins and the ritual of caring and nurture take place.”


The London-based pair, who work as Heywood & Condie, began by dismantling hundreds of panels, some of which dated back to the 18th and 19th centuries, and following the patterns and grisaille to splice new creatures. They then glued the layered works to the existing frame of a greenhouse. “The idea is nature transforming and using the stained glass as a medium to visit a (time) when we worshiped plants, insects, and animals, as opposed to the Christian line of thinking that humans are above animals, above everything,” Heywood says.

This connection to the earth alongside an interest in the broad reaches of spirituality influence the pair’s practice, particularly those relating to creation myths and about bringing new life into existence. “Church is about shifting our consciousness and making us think of where we lie in the world and likewise, whether it’s a psychedelic experience or a meditative experience, it’s about shifting our attention,” he shares. “Gardening is an act of creation.”

“Sacré blur” has been exhibited in multiple locations in recent years and will be at its current spot for the coming weeks. Heywood & Condie have a few works in progress at the moment, including an alphabetical labyrinth on a northwest U.K. beach and an obelisk collection mixing religious stained glass along with pieces from early pinball and gambling machines that will be on view at Vigo Gallery. You can also see their works as part of The Poetry of Trees, which opens at The Atkinson in Southport on June 4, and on June 11, a series of jewel-encrusted marine microorganisms will float across The Water Gardens at Marble Arch in London. (via Steampunk Tendencies)





Discarded Wind Turbine Blades Are Upcycled into Sleek Bike Shelters in Denmark

November 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

Image courtesy of Chris Yelland

It’s estimated that before 2050, we’ll generate 43 million tons of waste worldwide from one of the most promising clean energy producers alone. Wind turbines, while a cheap and carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels, are only 85 percent recyclable or reusable, and their massive fiberglass blades, which are so large that they span the length of a football field, are notoriously difficult to break down and often end up deteriorating in a landfill for 20 to 25 years. Until a high-volume solution for recycling the structures becomes viable, there’s a growing trend in repurposing the pieces for maze-style playgrounds, construction materials like pellets and panels, or pedestrian bridges as proposed by Re-Wind Network, a group devoted to finding new uses for the unused parts.

A long-time proponent of wind energy, the Danish government is receiving attention for its own initiative that tasked turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa with upcycling the blade. The company transformed the long, curved component into an open-air shelter at the Port of Aalborg, where it protects bikes from the elements. Although Siemens Gamesa doesn’t have plans to launch a large-scale initiative for installing similar designs, it recently released new fully recyclable blades that can be turned into boats, recreational vehicle bodies, and other projects in the future. (via designboom)


Image courtesy of Chris Yelland

Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa

Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa

Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa




Upcycled Railbikes Travel through California’s Ancient Redwood Groves as Pedal-Powered Designs

August 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images by Brendan McGuigan, © Mendocino Railway

Following the same route of the long-running Skunk Train that thrums through California’s Mendocino County, a new contraption from the historic rail brings cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts through the pristine redwood groves with a smaller carbon footprint. Railbikes are two-seated, four-wheeled designs that run along the centuries-old tracks through the ancient forests just outside of Fort Braggs. Made with lightweight materials, the upcycled rigs are largely pedal-powered, although they have an electric component for hills and more difficult stretches of the miles-long route.

The new offering marks a growing trend in eco-tourism and a shift toward outdoor activities that leave little impact on the environment, with similar offerings cropping up along rails in Carson City, Sacramento, and Las Vegas that have been entirely or mostly abandoned. Skunk Train has plans in the works to expand its routes in the coming months, and you can follow its developments on its site and Instagram. Until then, watch the video below to tag along on a trek through the towering redwoods. (via swissmiss)




Art Documentary History

A Short Documentary Explores the Life of the ‘Artifact Artist’ Who’s Been Excavating New York City’s Trash for Decades

April 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

Jordan in his home

Descending into old privies, scouring landfills, and sneaking onto construction sites in the middle of the night are habitual activities for urban archaeologist Scott Jordan. For nearly five decades, he’s been excavating the trash and forgotten artifacts buried deep underneath New York City’s residential areas and fast-growing developments. His findings are diverse and revealing of the area’s past, offering a glimpse into the consumption habits and lifestyles of previous generations that date back to the 18th Century.

A new documentary produced by Kaleidoscope Pictures chronicles Jordan’s lifelong practice that involves digging and uncovering items that he then transforms into new artworks. Dubbed “The Artifact Artist,” the short film by the same name follows the archaeologist and historian as he pulls glass bottles, Civil War-era garments, and small toys from the earth. While Jordan cleans and restores much of the pottery and well-preserved items, he utilizes the rest to create jewelry and assembled, sculptural works that nestle into shadowboxes, which he then sells at flea markets.

Watch the full documentary below, and find more information on Jordan’s site, Things Found NYC, which he runs with Belle Costes. Shop the pair’s findings on Etsy. (via Kottke)


Jordan digging in New York City

Jordan in his home

A collection of Jordan’s artworks made from items he found

Jordan in his home

Items in Jordan’s collection