A few weeks ago I had my Advanced English exams and I needed to prepare a 5 minutes oral
presentation (among other things). This morning listening to the radio about the Revetlla de Sant Joan and our tradition of burning old furniture, it came to me that "Why don't I publish my writting on my blog?".
My teacher's first piece of advice was: "you should talk about something you are passioned about" and that is exactly what I did: I wrote about Upcycling (meaning both restoring and refurbish) and the positive effects that it have in our lives.
Perhaps, after reading it, you'll look twice the pile of junk that your neighbours are stacking up on the crossroad and decide to rescue one piece of furniture, bring it back to your home and Upcycling it. Think twice before burning a piece of furniture out!
*To be honest I won't have my grades until next week, thus, the text perfectly can contain some mistakes, mispellings, wrong structures or tenses... Be mercy, please! ;)
**The first version that I wrote was way too long and I had to cut it significantly. Nevertheless if you are curious you'll find the long version (and every not-corrected-mistake) HERE
Presentation: What Upcycling can do for you
Welcome! My name is Mercè Benavent and I’m going to talk about the benefits upcycling can bring to your home and life.
First, I’ll describe what Upcycling is. Then, I’ll let you know about the 3 main advantages of upcycling and finally, there'll be a chance to ask questions.
So, I am an Antique furniture restorer (read more about me HERE) and I usually enjoy myself working alone in my workshop. However, when I started to teach adults 2 years ago I saw their immediate enthusiasm and commitment, and I realised how fulfilling Upcycling is for everyone.
Today I would like to light a spark in you because old furniture is not old junk, but your first step towards a more sustainable and creative way of life.
WHAT IS UPCYCLING? Upcycling is similar to Recycling in that both help create less garbage. The difference is that Upcycling involves giving things more value, not less.
Upcycling is “hacking” something in order to change it. Since I mainly work with furniture, I’m going to focus on pieces that you can restore, fix, refurbish, renovate, mend, repair, paint, drill, upholster, cut, decorate, customize, carve, etc…
So why is upcycling so good for you?
Some go to the gym or meditate, some have a glass of wine with a friend... you should see this handcraft sessions as a breather. You’ll be surprised how healing it is to be focused on the process for a while, to be immersed in the “Now”. Some would call it “mindfullness”.
Creativity, self esteem and happiness are strongly linked. Don't be afraid to be creative, because you really can't mess up, and if you do, you just paint over the problem.
Ikea uses about 3% of the certified wood worldwide. That implies tones of water, pesticides, carbon emissions, power... Just so, that we can buy our Billy book shelf, that probably will fall to bits in a few years, because of its poor materials. Wouldn’t it be nicer to not waste all these resources in the first place?
Don’t get me wrong, I do like ikea, and I really appreciate the idea of this “cool, beautiful and sensible lifestyle” we see in their catalogue. But when you scratch the surface of their message, you can see that their global success is everything but sensible.
Furnish, even partly, your home with second-hand items is activism against consumerism. Old pieces are generally better quality than modern ones… in the first place most of them are made from solid wood and assembled with joints... and I’m telling you, they are going to last. They may not be fashionable anymore, but that’s the reason you can get it for a fraction of the price or even for free.
By upcycling you’ll have the key to transform old furniture that others don’t value, into the perfect pieces that they dream of. And you only need to invest in paint and a couple of fine brushes.
Take a walk around your neighbourhood and open your eyes. The Streets could be a goldmine!
In conclusion, you’ll be happier, richer and freer while you’ll be contributing in a small way to reducing greenhouse emissions. ;P
I hope that next time you bump into an unloved bedtable on the street, you’ll see it in a different way. Maybe not noticing its faults and chips, but thinking how would you change it? and the other way around, how is it going to change you?
I might be overrating Upcycling, but if you think about the possible upsides, I’d say that it's worth a try. I might be overrating Upcycling, but if you think about the possible upsides, I’d say that it's worth a try!