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This website is home to artwork made by Sasha E. Betsy (me!).

Some of the work on this site is for sale in my ETSY shop and some I have simply posted to share and show what I am up to.

  A few thoughts about “Up-Cycling”

 As an Artist, I love scavenging and creating fashion from the waste stream as an act of creativity. As a concerned member of the human race however, I consider Up-Cycling to be most significant as a much needed antidote to the culture of disposability and planned obsolescence I find myself entrenched within. I perform this act not only to serve my own catharsis, but in the hopes of inspiring others to embrace the changes we need to make (because our lives depend on us making them). They do not have to reek of sacrifice and scarcity: with a little tweak in perspective we can still enjoy and create beauty and adorn ourselves in twinkles.

“We can’t put it together, it IS together”. These are words I read as a child in an old copy of “The Whole Earth Catalogue” that I unearthed in my mother’s attic. These words have really stuck with me. As I continue to grow and encounter ever increasing evidence of the short-sighted, self serving “First World” perspectives on the treatment and “use” of the environment we share, the truth tucked into that phrase garners a higher significance.

The sentiment that rooted itself into my heart at such a young age is that the earth itself is capable of providing for those beings living on it. Mucking up these systems for the sake of producing surpluses of unnecessary frivolity is what has taken us to the brink of destruction…and now we are thinking (not so deeply as we should be) about sustainability. To accomplish sustainability now we must stop our destructive, extractive, practices and allow the planet to re-grow the systems we have destroyed before we can really even begin to accomplish meaningful change.

I often find myself frustrated by the mainstream dialog around the need for sustainability. When presented without an analysis of the resource intensive, disposable lifestyle us “privileged”-folk live, this concept is little more than an empty pledge to pacify those of us who might feel a little nervous about our impact on our environment, and to still keep us buying the next new product so long as it is packaged in “Green”.

The fact remains that we cannot sustain if there is nothing left to sustain, and unfortunately, we are using our planet’s finite resources as though they were infinite. We are replacing the elegant natural systems of regeneration and sustainability with bad math and a seemingly unquenchable hunger for well lit parking lots and cheap plastic gizmo’s.

The global extractive industries are finding faster and faster ways to pull as much money out of the ground as our science and technology can facilitate whilst employing our industry-friendly legal system to create loop holes around regulation, even allowing the industry to self-police. We who want to have a functioning planet left to stand on had better stand up for what is left before it is all gone.

I feel strongly that the concept of Up-cycling is a small part of the answer to the problem of our over-taxed planet. If it breaks, fix it (or employ a neighbor to do so). If it cannot be fixed, use it to make something else that is useful or beautiful. If you don’t need it, don’t have it unless it is made from already existing materials of which there are plenty.

We must respect our materials by remembering what they came from: a book from a tree, a window from sand, a home from a forest (a tee shirt from the labor of a child in a third world sweatshop, electricity from a once intact ecosystem thriving atop a mountain).

Establishing a new context for the “First World’s” concept of the word “need”, shaping that concept into a value system that holds its people accountable to the “true cost” of its lifestyle choices, and recognizing the beauty and creativity within resourcefulness are acts that would not only assist in creating a more livable and sustainable environment, but would also make us healthier and happier individuals.

With love,

Tatters

(Sasha Betsy)