iacf spoke with Beth Dowding, originally from Swansea, who started upcyling when she moved to London. We speak about her motivations to start upcycling and how anyone can get invovled!
1. Where did your motivation come from to start exploring upcycling?
When I moved to London recently, and with the current climate of the pandemic, I found the only way I could currently start furnishing my new home would be by picking bits of furniture up for free / very cheap on Facebook marketplace. I have always loved painting and creating, and so it seemed only natural. I associate the creative journey of adorning these pieces as me creating a safe and colourful home for myself.
2. Have you had more time to focus on your interior since lockdown?
Definitely! During the first lockdown I was selling a lot of my paintings, and during this second lockdown, even though I am busy working, I still find time on the weekends to create. It’s a very out satisfying pass time.
3. What advice would you give to those who are looking to start making their own furniture but don’t know where to start?
I would say to not overthink, to acquire a simple piece to start with, Maybe create a moodpboard of inspiration / colours / brands. starting with a base colour is always the best start to a piece as there is no pressure at this stage, and the rest will come naturally.
4. What materials did you use for your mirror?
For the mirror I used expanding foam ! This usually mundane material is surprisingly versatile!
5. Where did you source your materials for your mirror?
I went to the local hardware store. The lockdown has forced me to be more flexible with where I go to get my materials, so B & Q is a great one. I have been buying my paints here as well (tester pots hehe ).
6. Where did you get the inspiration from to design your mirror?
Honestly, I didn’t have an idea in mind for this. I live with a very creative flatmate who has been my main inspiration this entire time. I started with just wanting to do one simple border, and then it just grew !
7. Does having upcycled furniture, and furniture that you’ve made yourself, in your home help improve your mood?
Definitely. It’s hugely rewarding, and I know it’s my own that I have created and nurtured myself.
8. How do you feel art influences interior design?
I feel like every creative sector is linked, they all come hand in hand. Art is like speaking a language or telling a story through colours and design. So music will influence colour and style used, shapes and sizes of furniture will change the outcome, paintings and sculptures can be transferred to relative pieces.
9. Before starting an upcycling project, do you plan your colour scheme first? How else do you plan?
I never have it completely planned out. I have a slight browse on artists that I like, and I know what colours I find attractive, apart from that I just go with it.
10. For those who aren’t as confident in creating items themselves, what advice would you give to break the fear and just try it?
I had a few years of not wanting to be creative and it was really hard to break through that. I think it has to feel right, and ultimately don’t put pressure on yourself. Just do what you like.
11. The dresser is beautiful, the colours used are so bold and eye-catching, is this a style that you favour?
Yes it is. I am completely and utterly head over heels for pattern, colour, print. Basically the brighter the better !
12. Have you ever attended an antiques fair before? Would this be something you would be interested in?
I actually haven’t ! I definitely would indeed, especially for inspiration, not necessarily for pieces I would up cycle. A lot of furniture fro especially the art deco days is incredibly interesting and inspiring.
13. When you don’t make your own furniture, where do you usually purchase your furniture?
Charity shops all the way ! Second hand has so much character.
14. Do you use Instagram to get inspiration for your upcycling? When you post your upcycling projects to Instagram, do you usually get a positive response?
I do indeed. I stag ram is a brilliant platform for the creatives and sharing. Also for discovering things that you don’t necessarily intend to. And yes I do have a positive feedback. actually the response has been overwhelming and very heart warming.
15. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with upcycling with iacf, do you have any plans for the next project?
I have recently acquired a free piece of shelving which I am about to embark on after this interview! Thank you for the opportunity and showing such an interest.