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Craft and Upcycling

Although traditional craft and modern upcycling may seem like fields where independent studies are carried out, there is actually an interesting and productive relationship between these two concepts. In this article, we will explore how craft and upcycling come together and how this meeting produces creative and sustainable results.

The Issue of Value of Craft: Craft, which is one of the national values of our country, has developed over centuries, created its own culture and brought with it its spiritual value with its handmade products. This value has become even more strategic with environmentally friendly production methods, sustainable and durable products and the use of natural resources. Especially in this period when disposable products have become widespread, craft and hand labor play a major role in ensuring that the purchased product has a permanence other than its function.

Meeting Craft with Upcycling: The importance of upcycling in helping used products reach their new lives from waste form cannot be ignored. In this context, the aim is to make the product that will be considered waste reusable through various industrial or technological methods. One of these methods is handicrafts, that is, crafts carried out under human control.

In a scenario where craft and upcycling work together, craft can direct the production method and upcycling can direct the raw materials. The result is a production where the product is a wooden coffee table; make it from unused wooden planks or we can obtain it from waste that was a wooden chair in its previous life. Although the methods and technologies used may change, the skills and culture brought by the craft will combine in a balanced way in the modern approach of upcycling.

Innovative Approaches: When we look at examples of upcycling, we usually see that these transformations are made by industrial manufacturers or new generation entrepreneurs. While one side focuses on the waste generated during manufacturing and benefits from technological opportunities, the new generation entrepreneurs generally focus on more experimental, creative and skill-oriented production. These products also bring with them the spiritual values that we summarize with the phrase ‘handmade’. At this point, the craft we define as handcrafting and upcycling are mutually exclusive.

Environmentalism and Workmanship: With today’s possibilities, it is possible to convert plastic waste into 3D printer material and obtain new products from this material. If the upcycled material obtained is transformed into a valuable jewelry, accessory or ornament in the hands of a craftsman, you can see that environmentally harmful wastes are eliminated but production still continues.

The same process can be exemplified by a weaving craftsman working with upcycled paper thread.

While these products will introduce craftsmen to new generation methods, they will also contribute to the preservation of cultural values by enriching existing traditions.

Conclusion: We can give many more examples of the environmental and cultural benefits of collaborative work between craft and upcycling. We can now look more carefully at this unity that provides the opportunity for creative and environmentally friendly businesses to emerge. It would make sense for us to start working to carry out craft and upcycling together in the future.

Rumeysa Cakir