"Repurposing is not recycling. Recycling converts waste material into reusable material. One object is destroyed to create another. Reuse, returning an object to its initial functional purpose, is not synonymous with repurposing or recycling. Objects often are repaired or restored so that they can perform the function for which they were made. Repurposing requires that the object be used in a different way than initially intended." Clarification is good! Harry Rinker, one of my gurus when it comes to antiques and collectible research, recently published a great article about how we are all doing one or another, and the controversy that is brewing over which is which, and which is the right way to go. I have my own ideas on the matter, but what do you think? Read the whole article here . . . come back and post your comments. Tell us which you think is the best and what you are doing about it, if anything! Me? Well I am having fun with repurposing, or as I usually called it, upcycling. My Dad left two workshops filled with machine parts, hardware, and wood when he passed. Rather than pitch it all (I did move out two pickup truck loads of scrap metal - recycling there) I decided that I would try my hand at assemblage, using up some of that stuff to make art -- repurposing. I am slow at it and I really work to find the right pieces that work together and speak to my artist's eye. I think it is a very subjective thing - you either "get it" or you don't. You either like it or you don't. I create pieces that I like - I work on them until they seem "right" to me. There is no barometer to tell me that this is what someone wants . . . there is no real trend to show me what is popular. If it hits my eye and feels right, I am done. The jury is out so far . . . I have listed a few pieces in my Etsy shop. The nice thing is, I have only invested my time (a lot of my time) but no money in them. So if they sit and look pretty for a while before selling (fingers crossed) that's okay. And if they don't sell, well then I will know that assemblage is not my strong suit. So this one was fun . . . Just some old wood and hardware, then a few antique elements and game board pieces and The Accountant emerged. I think I like him the best.
I haven't really found "my style" yet -- I think that takes a while, too. Right now, I am just picking a base first, and then finding things that I think look good on it and creating an arrangement of them. The one below started out an a little antique herb cutting board. I picked the elements out of my many, many bins and drawers full of "stuff." I arranged the pieces I chose until they looked good to me; if I can't make something look good, then it doesn't fit and goes back in its bin for a later time.
I must say, this process sure makes you look differently at every little piece of junk and trash that you normally would just pitch in the trash. "Can I use that?" "Should I keep it just in case?" Questions run through my head that are making me crazy because the initial purpose of doing assemblage was to get rid of the 'stuff' I have!! Yeah, that may never happen. What are you doing with your trash? I use that word, trash, lightly because it doesn't take much to make you see your own trash as treasure!