EMILY Wallin is not someone who likes to see things go to waste.
The 24 year-old is among a growing number of avid upcyclists.
When she decided to move out and set up home on her own, a tight budget saw Emily turn creative as she took to social media, selling websites and even the local tip to furnish her new abode – a 19th century worker’s cottage in Wellesbourne.
And Emily, who works as an assistant manager at McDonald’s, has not looked back in the hunt for other people’s trash to create her own treasures.
Her rescued repertoire includes a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ resurrected from an old printer drawer, a table created from a suitcase, a Victorian ‘steamer’ trunk, whose former life was spent as her boyfriend’s toy chest, and a 1920s chair from Hungary, which Emily resourcefully upholstered with napkins.
As well as making her own furniture sells her work to friends and family.
The DIY enthusiast said: “It’s something I really enjoy and I am passionate about. I find arts and craft really therapeutic, especially after a stressful day.”
One of her favourite creations for a friend was a coffee table created from an old crate to which Emily added her trademark 40’s style hairpin legs – developed during the war when materials were limited – painted it, and added a lid displaying old postcards and various scrapbook materials.
She said: “I always think the best presents are handmade. So much thought and time can be put into them, capturing the creativity and personality of not only the creator, but also the person receiving.”
Emily revealed her most surprising find was a 1950s vintage Ercol armchair – an iconic, century-old brand worth hundreds – left outside someone’s house for the bin men. After some re-upholstering, sanding and wood staining, it now sits proudly among Emily’s rescued pieces.
Emily’s upcycling ethos has proved inspirational with friends and family.
She said: “My mum wouldn’t normally go out of her way when it comes to replacing furniture and other items. She just buys them straight from the shop, but recently she was hunting around charity shops for a table. She found one she liked and sanded, painted and decorated it herself and now she’s really pleased with it.”
Emily, who keeps a blog of her upcycling projects, hopes her passion would one day become a fully fledged business.
She said: “Upcycling means you can make something that someone needs, at a great cost, and you can really put your own stamp on it.”
And ahead of National Upcycling Day on June 24, Emily is teaming up with Gumtree to inspire others to join the upcycling revolution. Through her work, Emily is keen to show how anyone can take on an upcycling project, save money, create bespoke items, while at the same time helping to protect the environment.
Visit upandrecycle.wordpress.com to view Emily’s projects.