Upcycling is not just the process of repurposing materials and objects; it’s a social practice that connects us. In this spirit, UpShop opened its door to the community in 2016, inviting them in for a coffee, a chat and to meet some upcyclers.
This event was an opportunity to show the treasures that have been rescued by UpShop from landfill. We put out a few innerspring mattresses and the Volvo planter boxes. Mara, from Relovit demonstrated her passion for upcycling clothing and bags; Alex showed his beautiful functional objects created from wood and discarded metal. Mario put Alfi and the Lilly Lamp on display as well as upcycled wearables, like the bikechain bracelet worn by our wonderful barista-for-the-day, Elena.
While items could be purchased, this was not just a market; it was an opportunity for conversation and connection. The strange refurbished objects and apparatuses – such as the vintage device for the treatment of female hysteria) – provoked curiosity and sparked questions about whether refurbishing was upcycling. Meeting many locals and those who had travelled from the West meant we could catch up on the work of other new ventures, such as Melbourne Repair Café (Inner West) and see how we can collaborate to facilitate a culture of repairing in the north.
For UpShop, upcycling is a creative act that work for and with our communities; a practice that involves us all.