UPCYCLE! JESSICAFOUNDIT…then she made it.
There is going to be a lot of love with this showcase. I love this idea and I love what is produced. This is a beautiful business. Jessica Found It is part business, part social enterprise and part community interest company. Based on recycling and upcycling principles, founder Jessica Jackson is able to produce a range of the most beautiful, creative and desirable collectibles, oddities and curios. Her work combines the taste of arts and crafts with Art Deco curves. For idiosyncratic measure, add a little of the creative genius of Chitty Bang Bang creator Caractacus Potts, throw in some steampunk and we might be in the right ball park. This developing collection is built on throw away and upcycled materials, and of course, her own artistic creativity.
Scrap based art and reuse is not new.
San Diego Trash Art
I first came across scrap art upcycling in San Diego in 2007. Parts of old bicycles reworked to create bug-scapes on a shop roof in Pacific Beach was eye catching, clever and thought provoking. And though the scrap art and upcycling movement has been around for quite a while, it has only recently taken off and some might say, become fashionable. For an astounding array of trash art you should see http://www.noupe.com/inspiration/40-terrific-works-of-art-made-from-common-trash.html …truly incredible in creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness.
Necessity, they say is the mother of invention. Having said that, it is also amazing what a recession can do for creativity (though nobody really wants recession do they?). Driven by a combination of economic necessity and making do, the recycling, upcycling and reuse phenomenon has begun to demonstrate incredible possibilities. It has been embraced by the popular media, resulting in a range of made for television kitsch, Alan Titchmarsh-esque moments, Wartime and Edwardian farms, Kirsty Allsop-style homemade creations and finding the proverbial cash in the attic from junk. It undoubtedly provides television moments for many, but if we can ignore this for a moment, we might actually discover a ideologically meaningful solution to an huge environmental and economic problem: waste.
Freitag upcycle waste
McDonough & Braungart 2002
The first use of the term upcycling can be traced back to Reiner Pilz in 1994, and later by Gunther Pauli in his 1997 book Upcycling. The popularisation of the term and the development of the philosophical underpinning came from William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their 2002 book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. They suggested that the goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones. This reduces the consumption of new raw materials when creating new products. Reducing the use of new raw materials can result in a reduction of energy usage, air pollution, water pollution and even greenhouse gas emissions.
Vaho Trashion Bags
Taking the energy from the upcycling movement, a variety of ingenious and entrepreneurial outcomes have emerged. New York, for instance, gave birth to Trashion (for an example of this kind see http://www.junktofunk.org/ ) the philosophy combing trash with the ethic of innovation and environmentalism around fashion and product design and epitomised in the work of Vaho, By and Elle. One of the most successful business manifestations of this being the astounding work of the Freitag brothers and their eponymous bags made from old tarpaulins and truck covers.
As Jessica says,
‘the BIG green agenda is recycling, or more specifically upcycling. Rather than using a lot of energy to break something down into its component parts, we are adding something, adding value, transforming waste into something desirable and increasing an objects life. Upcycling allows all the weird, wonderful and forgotten objects to be admired as beautiful, as art’.
JessicaFoundIt…then she made it.
The Magpie, that image of resourcefulness gives a big clue to the JessicaFoundIt philosophy;
“Combining my habit of collecting and interest in preserving our environment, especially where waste and reuse are concerned, I create elegant yet witty, functional designs. My work has been described as somewhere between Heath Robinson’s fantastical machines, and the romantic lines of Art Deco. There is certainly inspiration from nature, I find nothing more wonderful than organic shape appearing from industrial parts, or that most industrial parts mirror nature’s patterns anyway“
In some ways material and consumer culture has detached us not only from the intrinsic meaning of the things we buy, their backstory and provenance, but also a metric for evaluating their worth and extended utility. Jessica says that her fervour for interiors and being surrounded by beautiful things is tipped away from materialism with an ethos that second hand is most certainly good enough, often better, it has a story, and it’s already been made, “Some objects I find in the lofts and garages of friends and family, some from forgotten boxes I find in the countryside and sometimes I can’t resist a junk shop find, which I’ll then treat and restore before incorporating it. With my designs, I don’t need to start from scratch, I don’t need to manufacture materials, I don’t need plastic. I can create something interesting from old, undervalued objects. Upcycling allows for all the weird and wonderful objects to be seen as beautiful. It is seeing aesthetic potential and allowing the phoenix to rise up out of the rubbish”
JessicaFoundIt…then made it…
Social Enterprise and More
JessicaFoundIt is a combination of social enterprise and what is known as a Community Interest Companies or CICs. A CIC whose designation comes from an empowered regulator, is a new type of company, designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good. A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners. By using business like JessicaFoundIt to achieve public good, the Government believes that social enterprises have a distinct and valuable role to play in helping create a strong, sustainable and socially inclusive economy. Like other CICs, JessicaFoundIt has to make sure it achieves its community goals through a series of tests such as the Community interest test, and the asset lock which makes sure its assets, including profits or surpluses are used for the community benefit. In this case, a percentage of profits go into a local recycling scheme, the rest go back into the business. Whats more, if that wasn’t enough, the company delivers workshops and offers creative opportunities in various settings, which hopefully raises awareness of waste and its environmental impacts. Delivering these workshops to the community, and in particular people from disadvantaged groups, provides an important social and therapeutic experience focused around common creative endeavours. Eventually the company hopes to be able to employ or work with volunteers from these disadvantaged groups.
JessicaFoundIt is a real community endeavour. Beautiful businesses work closely with community and the natural environment. They are mindful of their impacts and the resources they use. This business ticks those boxes. It also goes to show how hard it can be to combine upcycling with working for the community! Hats off to JessicaFoundIt.
For more information on JessicaFoundIt visit the website
For more information on up-cycling visit: