My Love of Upcycling
My love of upcycling started way back when I was knee high to a grasshopper. My mum was always redesigning the house and furniture, from smashing up old tiles for mosaic’ing tables to painting flowers on my walls with free paint tester pots. She was a subscriber of creative hands too which I poured over avidly especially when I bought my first house aged 18.
Having to redecorate a house as cheaply as possible on a hairdressers wage and pregnant with my first, I had to get extremely creative. My dining room walls were bandaged, yes I mean actual medical bandages, to create texture and interest and then painted over in the deepest emerald green paired with an awesome tartan wallpaper. My bathroom was lovingly polyfiller’d by hand with a spatula to create peaks and troughs, just like you would when using texture pastes on a canvas. Once it was painted over in midnight blue, I tried my hand at dry brushing for the first time using a gorgeous gold metallic paint. I can tell you that bathroom was a massive talking point when anyone visited. It’s a shame I have no pictures to show you, we just weren’t that picture savvy back then were we!
That was just the start, if it stayed still for long enough I painted it. I absolutely adore grand vintage furniture and I used to drive my ex-husband mad when I’d ring him and say I’d bought a new piece can you borrow a van and pick it up. Though I loved the style, I always disliked the darkness of the furniture so I started to experiment with colour. From soft blues and teals to hot pink, I’ve done it all! My favourite piece from the last 10 years has to be this Welsh dresser bought from a local charity shop, painted light pink, sanded for the shabby look and filled with all sorts of knickknacks from throughout my childhood.
Once my house was filled to the brim with upcycled furniture (I literally couldn’t fit anymore in if I tried), I had to find new ways to use the skills I taught myself. Luckily I stumbled upon a magazine article in a woman’s magazine (probably Bella or Best) of a woman who created found object art and I knew I had to give it a go. Time to raid the ex-husbands workshop, garage and every rooting draw around me (you know that draw in the kitchen that we fill with stuff we can’t throw away, yes I know you have one too) for bits and bobs I could use. I made a couple of little pieces that I showed to friends, looking back they really weren’t that good but I loved the process. From that I was then asked to make this piece for my friends charity, again looking back it’s not great but at the time I thought I was the new Tracy Emin.
I was already working at Hunkydory Towers as a designer but could never find the products I wanted to use in what we all now know is called mixed media. Cardmaking was my day job and all things mixed media became my hobby and passion. When I left HD I was asked to stand in for Dawn Bibby on Hochanda, which gave me connections in the wider world of crafting. Craft Buddy approached me with a proposition of becoming one of their demonstrators and having a design background asked me if there was anything else I could bring to the table. I showed them my mixed media work and they were super impressed and that’s how Pretty Gets Gritty was born.
I was then able to create the products that I wanted to use and you guys seem to like them too. So now I have the products to use, I love to upcycle anything and everything. Some of my favourite pieces have been the upcycled vintage record, the antique clock and an old-fashioned camera. All the gin you see me sipping on lives, I never throw away the bottles. Waiting in the wings I’ve got multiple objects from a broken guitar, to mobile phones and headphones. You name it I’ve got it!
We may sell embellishments to make your lives easier but get to your rooting draws and dig out those keys, screws and bolts that you have no idea what they’re for and create a beautiful piece. Don’t throw away your rubbish brushes, make them the focal point of a gorgeous creation. Embellishments and substrates aren’t just bought, you can find them lying around everywhere. Give it a go and make sure you post a picture and tag us.
Go forth and Get Your Grit On!
Gritty Hugs, Lynette xx
Here's a handful from the hundreds of upcycled projects I've done over the years!