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upworthy

upcycling

Pop Culture

Girl uses late grandpa's old clothes to make fashionable outfits to 'keep him close'

She's upcycled multiple shirts that you'd never be able to tell belonged to her grandpa.

Girl upcycles grandpa's old clothes into fashionable outfits.

Losing a grandparent can be hard no matter your age, especially if you were particularly close with them. Sometimes holding on to some of their belongings can help bring you a bit of comfort as you remember them. For Issy Spurway, doing something fun with a bag of her late grandpa's clothes is helping to keep him close to her heart.

Instead of donating the clothes to a local shelter, Spurway figured out a way to wear them herself without looking like a grandpa. The 21-year-old is a textiles student at Loughborough University in the UK. She deconstructs her grandfather's clothing items with a seam ripper and scissors before cutting patterns she comes up with to create a completely redesigned item.

Just looking at the items, it would be nearly impossible for you to know they were once worn by an elderly man. So far she's deconstructed and upcycled over 100 items.


"I didn't want to throw his clothes away, so I made them into something I could wear and take a piece of him with me," Spurway explained to SWNS. “I actually think it helped with the grieving process as I know he would have loved it.”

In one of the videos, Spurway makes a shirt into a cute cropped tube top with spaghetti straps, and in another, she makes a flowy blouse with a ruffled bottom. Her skills are so impressive, TikTok reached out to her to do tutorials on how to upcycle old clothes on the platform.

You can watch her create a new shirt below:

@handmade.byissy

Upcycling my grandads old clothes into a cute blouse🥰 #upcycle #upcycledfashion #upcycledclothing #thriftflip #thriftflipclothes #sewing #diyfashion #upcycling #summerlooks #sustainablefashion

When Australian artist Sean Avery got his first MP3 player, he decided to give his CDs a brand new life.

Avery, a writer, illustrator, sculptor, and teacher by trade, decided to crack and crumble his albums to create beautiful, imaginative works of art instead, like this:


"Bear" (mixed media). All photos via Sean Avery, used with permission.

"I love the idea of deconstructing everyday objects and reforming them into organic shapes," Avery said via e-mail. "Materials are cheap and people have an instant connection with the work when they finally identify that it's made from objects they handle every day."

"Bullfinch" (mixed media). This little bird is only 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) tall.

Some of Avery's most iconic pieces of art are plant and animal sculptures made from up-cycled CDs on wire mesh frames.

Friends and fans often donate material to Avery, and he procured his first batch of old discs from his dad's office. But he's not afraid to source materials for his art the old fashioned way, too.

"I like to hunt around scrap yards for stranger pieces of obsolete tech," he said.

"Squidy" (mixed media). The legs are kinetic, and the entire sculpture is close to 40 inches long.

Though Avery is also an illustrator, he often lets passion and instinct guide his creations.

Before to starting a new piece, he searches for a variety of images of each animal, but he no longer draws a blueprint or elaborate sketch.

"I used to try and draw my animals to better understand the form, but it sort of sucked the fun out of the process because all I wanted to do was build."

"Hummingbird 8" (mixed media).

And build he does.

Avery uses simple kitchen scissors to cut out the shapes he needs. Then he arranges them by size and color and glues each plastic shard one by one onto a wire frame.

A close-up of "Hummingbird 8" (mixed media).

Each sculpture takes one to two weeks of work, along with lots of hot glue (and caffeine).

"I make lots of mistakes and I burn myself constantly," Avery said. "I find CD shards in my hair, shower, bed and cereal for weeks after I've finished a major project."

Avery constructs pieces large and small for clients and personal projects. His work ranges in size from just 6 inches to large creations a few feet wide. Each one is a vibrant, bold expression that begs to be touched.

"Pangolin" (mixed media) This piece was made out of Nespresso capsules for the company's Project Upcycle campaign.

"Peregrine Falcon 2" (mixed media). This commissioned piece required 40 CDs!

And Avery's not the only one turning trash into treasure, either.

In 2014, he represented Australia at the International From Waste to Art Exhibition in Baku, Azerbaijan. At this annual event, artists and makers from all over the world exhibit their pieces made from domestic waste. It's a unique opportunity for conservation and fine art to come together and encourage an important conversation.

"Chameleon 2" (mixed media).

Avery's work is the perfect example of repurposing waste to make something beautiful.

The average person creates around 4.3 pounds of trash and waste each day. And nearly 55% of the waste generated in the U.S. ends up in landfills, which are quickly running out of space.

"Purple Flowers" (mixed media), a collaborative effort of Avery and Caris Bailey.

While not all of our personal refuse can be turned into works of art, much of it can be composted, recycled, or repurposed.

Sometimes it's just a matter of taking the time to sort and sift and perhaps to tap into our creative impulses.