Our perception of recycling is changing.
Second-hand clothing or furniture have typically been considered with disdain, until upcycling came about.
The old is stripped down to its most basic structure, and refurbished to a high standard, until it becomes even more polished than the original.
Yes, upcycling, is a trend that is very much on the rise, and not only with London hipsters.

Table makeover - upcycling - girlinthegarage.net
Table makeover – upcycling – girlinthegarage.net

In the visual art, recycling has been consistently found, regardless of trends and fashions.
Art in Haiti is often created from resurrected pieces of anything. The art hence crafted is innovative and unusual.

Isn’t it time then, that the Carnival industry followed suit?
The vast majority of Notting Hill Carnival floats commission new costumes every year for carnival. New feathers, new beads, new colours.
As carnival participants, how many carnival costumes do we have stored in our wardrobes. How many feather headdresses are confined to our garden sheds because storage space has run out inside?

Recycling in Haiti 1 - Photo by Grete Vidal

Recycling in Haiti - Photo by Grete Vidal
Recycling in Haiti – Photo by Grete Vidal

There are a few exceptions to this.
Sunshine International Art’s workshop is overflowing with amazing carnival paraphernalia, that is used year after year.
The costumes are on lease for the day of carnival.
Most carnival bands with a UK workshop (Mahogany is another) can presumably recycle and upcycle.
On this note, Elimu carnival band is presenting a theme around recycling this year, and the concepts are promising.

Sunshine international Art
Sunshine international Art workshop and café

The Trans-Form project, based in India with UK volunteers and funding from the Arts Council England is also all about recycling.
The aspiration is to engage children in activities that will develop their creative skills.
In India, recycling is part of a wide initiative to clean the streets which makes this project both artistic and educational.

Trans-Form project
Trans-Form project


Recycling as such, has many benefits, it can have educational and environmental purposes. What we like most about it, is how it encourages creativity, and how the resurrections of old pieces can truly result in the most unexpected and unique creations!

Further reading
Revista Winter 2015 – Harvard Review of Latin America
Trans-Form project

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