Recycle, Upcycle, Reuse: Exploring the Vintage Niche

Posted on June 19, 2014 by Paula A

vintage kitchen

Whether you are a collector or recycler, the vintage niche is fascinating. It is as if you are taking little pieces of history and applying them to your life. Antiquing has been a passion of collectors for years, but in the last decade it has morphed into a new passion for reusing and upcycling vintage items. Either as a method of saving money, becoming more eco-friendly or expressing artistic vision, buying antique and vintage clothing and home furnishings has increased.

Upcycling is taking an item that is no longer needed or wanted and giving it new life as something that is either useful or creative. This seemingly basic concept has sparked an exciting revolution with this generation. – Upcycle Magazine

According to Upcycle Magazine, the word upcycle was born in the mid 1990s. However, in 2002, the book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, introduced the word publicly and cemented its use in pop culture. The authors, William McDonough and Michael Braungart, were pioneers in the field, promoting the concept of extending the usage life of products.

Collecting

Antique and vintage collectors abound. The general definition for an antique is an item over 100 years old, while vintage is between 50 and 100 years. Collectors tend to collect within a specific category, for instance, antique porcelain tea cups or 1940s ceramic figurines. Some collectors stick to one designer or manufacturer such as Chanel or period such as Victorian. Within each category, there are a slew of potential articles or blog posts that professional content writers can write.

Reusing

If you browse a home-designer site such as Houzz.com, you can see multiple examples of vintage furniture, accessories and art used in modern home decor. Creating vintage-style interiors and exteriors for private homes has become an art form. In these examples, rooms are designed around the look and feel of the antiques, refurbishing the old furniture and enhancing it with vintage-style carpeting, paint and moldings. While kitchens seem to be the favorite, some homes are completely done in vintage style. Most designers stick to one historical period for the entire home, although some eclectic mixes can be found. Vintage pieces for decor have become an entire industry as demonstrated by television shows such as American Pickers.

Upcycling

The newest trend is upcycling. Upcycling has taken on its own life among the artist set. Many artists seek to create new out of the old, and it has inspired their fertile imaginations to see what they can create. In a way, upcycling is not new to artists as they often look for ways to cut costs of creating art. Metal sculptor Jerry Schmidt (Cleveland, Ohio) has been using metal-manufacturing scrap to create his sculptures for a long time. However, in this new incarnation of upcycling for art, artists have taken steampunk to a visual level with steampunk jewelry, sculptures and furniture. Steampunk is only one type of upcycled artwork. If an item can be upcycled, artists will find a way.

If you are interested in writing about the vintage niche, the field of depth is rich and varied. From personal histories to tracing the journey of a specific antique, the list of subjects to write is endless.

Paula A is a freelance writer who has been writing on the Internet since 2008. When she is not writing, Paula creates and maintains websites, searches for handmade art treasures and nibbles on chocolate to keep herself motivated.


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