I vow, with my whole heart, that I will never ever do an "upcycle" project that will ruin the integrity of a beautiful vintage item. I will never paint wood that should not be painted. I will never destroy a book to make a trendy house decoration. Books should be read. I will never paint a globe, so as to not see the land divisions of that particular time. That is a part of history and history should not be forgotten. Also, I find that shit really interesting. I might chalkboard paint something, because chalkboards have always and will always be cool. However, I will not chalkboard paint a mid century dresser with dove tailed drawers. I won't melt records into bowls... Actually, I have done that, but to be fair, I did listen to the whole thing and it really wasn't anything to brag about on facebook or anything and I was pretty sure that no one else would be yearning to hear that particular record, so.... yea. I might fuck up some records every now and then. Just know that I will make sure to give the record a fair trial before I cut it up and make a purse out of it. I'll never bastardize a designer dress or make a shitty skirt out of a perfectly excellent vintage t-shirt.
I'm giving this vow, because with the power of the internet, idiots are out there blogging about how they re-created a vintage piece, copying another shitty blog who destroyed a perfectly built hutch and painted it into a trendy nightmare, thus ruining the finish and patina that the item was intended to have. It kills me sometimes that people will paint an item to be look "shabby chic" when in reality, if you think an item "needs" to be painted, then it probably already is "shabby chic". Sometimes, re-paints are necessary. And sometimes they stray far from it's original finish and look really cool, but what happens when every skillfully carved victorian dresser is painted silver long after the silver trend is over? Do you strip and re-paint it? Re-store it? Long to have a blonde wooded dresser the way they were made back in the day?
Here is the long and short of it folks. I think the 80s are a good marker for when the manufacturing business changed. True craftsmen of quality goods were pushed aside to make way for a more "economical" business model. Meaning that, manufacturers wanted to save money by using the cheapest materials possible and pay the least amount of money to hire people to make said products. And now we have pressed wood entertainment centers that fall apart after a couple years. Dresser drawers break the minute you put away your sweaters and and hastily sewn seams unravel after minimal wear. This has become the norm. This is what its come to.
When your grandpa says, "Back in my day, people used to care about what they built. They would take pride in it and make it beautiful. A piece of art." He's speaking the truth. Everybody's grandpa has said that, in so many words, at some point in time. Or our dads or uncles... They've all said it and they're all right. "Back in the day", shit was built to last. And last it did. Except for maybe cars. Cars have come a long way in their available safety features. They may not always look as cool as they used to, but I got to give it up for science and research on that one. And big up to engineers who designed my car so that I would have better chances at getting from point a to point b safely. But, in the general sense of the term, these general goods that we use on a daily basis, are being manufactured to fail. The older items, however, were built to last. Grandpa, Uncle, Daddy, Brother was right.
So, when I see some of these bloggers out there posting upcycle projects that destroy genuinely good vintage pieces, I can't help but cringe. Don't get me wrong. I love a good upcycle project, but not when it destroys the integrity of a well-built piece of history. Please, crafters, do your research on things before you chop them up and paint them! Make sure you're not ruining the value of something by changing it. Think about re-storing things to their original grandeur first, before painting it a trendy color that will be out of style next season. By all means, don't stop fixing things up, don't stop upcycling. Don't stop saving things from going into a landfill. Just please make sure you do your research first and consider preserving vintage rather than changing it. They don't make these things like they used to and if too many people jump on the upcycle band wagon without the proper knowledge of the things they are potentially destroying, pretty soon we won't have anything left.