January 17, 2010

The idea for Upcycle SLO came to us after we began to share our love for recycled arts and crafts. Both of us having a strong social and environmental conscious, we had many dreams as to how we would like to see recycled arts and crafts become a part of the community. We wanted to empower local artists, advocate for green consumer behaviors; we wanted a place for the community to come and learn how to reduce, reuse, and upcycle (recycling only as a last resort); we wanted to support local non-profits that do so much for our community, we wanted a place where recycled materials could be gathered for use by local kids, artists and teachers, and a place where we could support the local economy and leave a smaller carbon footprint on our environment.

Our first endeavor was to network with other local arts and crafters and hold a small, intimate holiday trunk show in Sara's home in early December. We called it Hecho en SLO (Made in SLO in Spanish).There were 9 of us who gathered in her home on a particularly rainy Saturday to sell our products. So many beautiful handmade products, some made of recycled materials, some not. We had a lady who made beautiful Hawaiian crazy quilt stockings, a lady who knitted adorable children's clothes, Gwendolyn Forever with her all-natural and handmade assortment of body products, a jeweler, Cork Creations with her fabulous coasters made from old and unrecyclable wine corks, and Sara and I who both make clothes and home decor out of recycled material be it old t-shirts, pillowcases, or whatever we typically find at thrift stores, and in our closets. Despite the weather we had a fairly good turn out and Sara even had the opportunity to sell out her entire stock of product. Back to the sewing machine for her!
Our plan is to do quarterly trunk shows like this throughout the year, gaining more support, more networking opportunities, and raising money at these shows for local non-profits. Along with this idea we would like to go to area non-profits to do workshops educating the participants on the benefits and fun of upcycled crafts. Please contact us if you would like to get involved, we'd love to have you!

Also, a teaser:  Upcycle SLO is taking off quickly and we are going to be producing a very exciting show in April around Earth Day. It is a show that has taken place worldwide and supports everything we are advocating for. We teamed up with a local non-profit and this partnership is in the beginning stages of growing into an exciting collaboration. We are hoping to turn Upcycle SLO into a program of this non-profit that will be modeled after our inspiration, a SCRAP organization in Portland, Oregon. Please check back with us for more information on this exciting event to be revealed within the coming month.

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