Language is a wonderful thing…

19 Feb

Isn’t language just wonderful? Just when you think you’ve got a reasonable handle on it more words come along or new pronunciations just to keep us on our toes.

One of my favourites at the moment is “upcycling”. According to Wikipedia it means – the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.


Isn’t that grand. Someone throws out his or her crap stuff and another person takes it and makes into something better. That chap, Kevin McLeod, that does Grand Designs likes upcycling. Amongst other things he had a chair made out of old bits of a cars steering and suspension and tastefully covered it with a dead cows hide. Obviously the cow had to be dead in order to donate it’s hide although I’m not sure if it’s donation was recorded anywhere. The cow in question had already died due it being included in the cull, which resulted from the foot and mouth outbreak some time ago.

Kevin has also helped build a wood burning stove. It was made out of an old safe although the flue was brand spanking. I especially like the bit when the paint on the old safe started to burn off and create something of a breathing health hazard. The original paint patina was lost for all time.

There’s a sort of steam punk movement which also likes doing up old things but they also much prefer to make a new thing look like an old things. Like sort of Victorian design with copper and brass and such like. It’s worth a search on the net to see what sort of stuff they do. They also dress up in old gear, which may be a step too far, but hey… it’s their lives.

Just the other day another object was, well I don’t think upcycled is the right word. A giraffe with the wrong “genes” had to be put down because of EU rules. It was then cut into sections and then fed to the lions. Upcycling? I bet if lions could talk they’d be happy to describe it as such. A meal is a meal unless you’re a giraffe with the wrong “genes”.

Kevin also built a hut and various other things to go with it. It wasn’t like the hut we mere mortals have either. Oh no… It was huge and different looking. At no time did anyone ask him how his budget was going. At no time did he interview himself and ask questions about the “narrative of his shed and the landscape where it was situated”.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m a huge fan of Kevin and of Grand Designs. If I had enough money I’d be out there building something very personal, which would make a great statement to me at least, but I’m not sure I could handle the narrative part.

Upcycling? As with all things there is a place for it. You used to see it when you went to the tip and there would be people taking stuff out because one mans rubbish is another mans treasure.

And so it should be…

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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in Architecture, Art, Recycling


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