In reaction to the mass production and consumerism of modern capitalism, upcycling has become quite the trend. Like recycling, it involves re-purposing or reusing what we normally see as scrap. Plastic bottles, however, aren’t melted down or reused, but are used for something entirely different and given a higher value through this process. A simple and unwanted plastic bottle may end up being used to make jewellery or a plant pot.
Kisma Kreative was started in 2001 – before the upcycling trend took hold. Tracy, Kisma’s owner, is a creative who sees herself as a bit of a collector. She confessed that she has had to get a garden shed built in order to store all her materials. Boxes are filled with chip packets, chocolate wrappers, wire, old technology, and sheet music. There are even a few old jumping castles in there. While most of us would see this as rubbish, she re-imagines them in different forms. Chocolate wrappers, chip packets, old dress patterns, and sheet music become purses, bags, phone pouches, tablet covers and so on. Outdated technology like floppy discs, stiffy discs, keyboard keys, motherboards, and records, becomes jewellery, stationery holders, bags and notebooks. Amazingly, the jumping castles get cut up and used as a firm and durable material for handbags and tablet covers.
Kisma’s products are quirky and unusual. The charm is in the upcycling, but this doesn’t make the products any less appealing. In fact, in a world of mass-produced goods, it is their unique nature that markets them. Who wouldn’t want a little childhood nostalgia in the form of a stationary bag made from the packaging from some Zoo Biscuits? The trendy kids and hipsters of the world would obviously get a kick out of items made of vintage technology – some floppy discs made into a notebook, for example. These things are so popular that, besides selling in Grahamstown, Tracy sells her goods online. In fact, she sells these items wholesale to boutiques and gift shops all over the country.
If you would like to have a better look at Kisma’s products you should look at the shop’s Facebook page and website. Tracy will be trading as part of the SupUrban Market on Saturday, 4 March. Join her and other Grahamstown creatives there – it promises to be a fun-filled atmosphere.