Wisconsin residents have a rich history of caring for the environment. Communities and legislators have been working together for decades to protect the natural resources that make our state so beautiful. While recycling is a household term, upcycling is a practice that is gaining momentum.
Upcycling is the craft of taking items that would be wasted or thrown away and instead transforming them into something useful and/or beautiful to provide additional value. While recycling is a process that completely changes the original properties, upcycling repurposes and redesigns the existing product into something better. It breathes new life into otherwise unwanted objects.
Upcycling has actually been around for centuries. During the Depression it was more common than shopping – dresses were made from flour sacks, old doors and shutters were used for tables and chairs—every scrap was reused and repurposed. Very little, if anything, was wasted.
Now as environmental concerns continue to grow on a global level, consumers are even more inspired to conserve. Upcycled pieces not only help the environment, but contribute to one-of-a-kind products.
When shopping in Wisconsin you can find specialty shops all around that support and market upcycle artisans and their unique crafts. By shopping at a store or gallery that features upcycled materials, you’re doing more than purchasing a one-of-a kind item and conversation piece—you’re taking a step toward protecting our state’s natural resources.
Fish Creek, a community known for fantastic boutique shopping boasts the EcoDoor. It’s an eco-friendly, contemporary home furnishings and accessories store.
In the Fox Cities, Wisconsin’s Shopping Place, Appleton is home to Beatnik Betty’s Resale Butik, which is more than just a resale shop, but a store with a unique blend of upcycled clothing and locally crafted items from area artisans.
Head to Brookfield for Urban Upcycle Resale and Wearable Art, which is the place where creativity and resourcefulness meet. They specialize in wearable art such as upcylced clothing and jewelry as well as original works of art for the home or office.
Blink Artisan Boutique in Oconomowoc offers all things unique and chic. The store is a creative outlet for artists to display handcrafted pieces including upcycled jewelry, purses, home décor, wall art and furniture.
In addition to shops, art studios and galleries offer opportunities to explore upcycled crafts and artwork.
Right on Monroe’s historic square is Green Chicks Studio and Green Gallery. The studio is home to artists who have dedicated themselves to helping the earth by creating artwork from plastic bottles, cans, newspaper and anything else that can be repurposed. The Green Gallery, located right across the hall from the studio, features work from local artists who create upcycled modern art, furniture, jewelry and pottery.
Hatch Art House in Madison is a studio that emphasizes repurposing, upcycling and recycling. All artwork is produced in Wisconsin. Twice a year they host art shows called EcoSquared and EcoSculpt, which focus on either wall art or sculptures made from Wisconsin residents using the art of upcycling.