Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Trimming my waste: Week 23 (Remix Chicago!)


Goals - Week 23:

  • Support Remix Chicago
  • Be inspired by people who've turned upcycling into a fine art
  • Promote them in any way I can! 

This is my third year documenting Remix Chicago. But this year I had my photographer friend Johnny with me. A photographer who works with (wait for it) cameras he rebuilds himself using classic lenses. In this case, he shot only with lenses from the mid 60's. So this might be my most "meta" blog post ever!


Johnny attaches classic, manual-focus lenses to modern, digital mirrorless cameras. Why? "Because classic lenses are beautifully constructed. Modern lenses are software designed, so they're optically perfect. But clinical. Older lenses were expertly designed and built using optical formulas calculated by hand. The result is a tradeoff between optical perfection and amazing, intangible character." To find out more about photography with classic lenses, visit this page and this page.

Ready to see Remix through Johnny's 1960's glass eyes? Read on.


Kelly upcycles all things beer under the store name Kelchick


What she doesn't tell you about herself on her Etsy store is that she's perfected some things that are really hard to do. The coasters are upcycled tiles, beer packaging and cork. The hard thing she's perfected? Hammering beer cans flat and pouring resin. It's not that hard to work with paper. It's hard to work with aluminum cans.




The other thing? Those beer bottles that are now soap dispensers. She's figured out how to attach a screw on pump. And she also coats the bottle in resin so the label is water-safe. Rock on Kelly - we had so much fun at your store!




The night before I hit ReMix, I shared Lucid design's thimble planters on Instagram.


The next day, Shannon was pretty much sold out. That's why you aren't seeing them here. But I did buy a cork magnet planter because - how sweet are they?


And then the marbled concrete planters and vases. Beautiful. And all true to their recycled molds! I love the 4-pack of "beer cans" (top_. And the bear vases below.




Visit Lucid Design, follow along on Instagram 




Kim's (Eyelidcanvas) work goes from strength to strength. 


I would wear pretty much everything she makes! Every time she posts something new on Instagram, I'm surprised. Because she's perfected the combination of feminine, wearable and industrial. Right? Do you remember the beautiful necklace she made me out of old earrings?


I like the idea of upcycled bullets and shell casings. This is the first time I've seen a piece I'd actually like to wear. How sweet is the wing nut??


Nuts and bike bits.


Visit Eyelidcanvas on Instagram and Facebook to see lots more and keep up with Kim's show schedule. She'll be at the Logan Square Arts Fest in a couple of weeks.


Links by Annette. Wow. 


Links is for people who are ethical, creative, original, badass and like supporting local handmade good. Made by hand, by me. My dad takes apart the chain, cleans it and gives it to me. I had shiny things, stretchy bands and other bits and pieces to create the final product. And when your chain has seen the end of its life, I will use it to create a piece just for you. 

Best bike-part up cycling I've seen in ... maybe, ever? Omg. This stuff is BEAUTIFUL. I'm so impressed by Annette's choices. They're wearable and beautiful. And the household stuff - look at the candlestick. And the clocks and lazy Susan's ... ???


Clocks, mirrors, candlesticks, coaster and many other lovely household things. 


Thanks Annette! Follow Links on Instagram



In Denise's hands, old wool sweaters find new life




Thrifted wool sweaters are easy to upcycle right? Considering how much felted stuff at craft fairs, it would appear so. But I don't think so. Like anything, doing it and doing it really well are very different things. Denise is an artist. Her work is meticulous and comes as close to zero-waste as I've ever seen. 




Many pieces are trimmed with crocheted edges like the fingerless gloves on the left. And every scrap is saved and used. The pillows and dryer balls are all stuffed with wool scraps and threads. Zero waste.



Not only is the shirt front cleverly used to make the pillow opening. The "inner" pillow is made from the shirt fabric. And then stuffed with... you guessed it, all the shirt scraps along with wool etc.



I loved these little airplant cuffs. 


For lots more info, visit Feltwerker. And Denise teaches. So if you're a Chicago local, you're in luck.




Thanks Remix! I love the work I see and I'm so inspired by the artists I meet. Looking forward to next year.

And thank you Johnny for the wonderful pictures.