Meet the Artist: Send On Upcycling

Introducing Upcycling Artist, Tegan from Send On Upcycling. Where every item is hand crafted from retired climbing ropes!! From her home in Brisbane, Qld, Tegan crafts the most incredible creations from ropes that you have ever seen!

Find out why Tegan started creating and why she is so passionate about the value of handmade.

Tell us about your creations and your handmade process.

All of my bright and unique pieces are handmade from retired rock climbing gear. Most climbing 'soft goods' (think ropes, harnesses, etc) have a maximum lifespan of 10 years from the date of manufacture, even if they're never used! When they're heavily used, they rarely last this long.
Once they're no longer safe to climb on, they're destined to end up in landfill.

That's where Send On Upcycling comes in. I take in retired rock climbing gear, that has reached the end of its usable life. I then clean it up, strip it down, and upcycle it into a range of awesome items like belts, bags and coasters.

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Tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a handmade artist.

Honestly, it was a bit of a weird and winding path to get to where I am! I've always loved creating, and have knitted or crocheted handmade gifts for friends and family for years. However, this was always just a hobby, and I never saw myself turning this into a source of income (I hate to use the word 'job' for this!).

I love the outdoors, and since 2017 have worked as a rock climbing and abseiling guide, as well as an outdoor educator at school camps - running all those awesome activities we all remember fondly (or not so fondly...) like canoeing, high ropes and archery. I also worked at the retail shop of a climbing company I guided for, and it was here that I started being asked the question;

'What should I do with my old rope?'

Looking into this question, I discovered that;

  1. We have no recycling solution for nylon ropes (or really, the vast majority of rock climbing gear), and;
  2. There were actually some super cool people overseas making incredible things from this gear - but I couldn't find anyone doing it locally.

When it came to retiring my own rope, I figured I may as well experiment with it myself, as the alternative was sending it to landfill. And I found myself absolutely loving it!

Creating something new from beautiful materials that would otherwise have ended up in landfill felt amazing. Again, I figured this would be a hobby, but when I started a family last year I found myself needing to do something from home that would inspire me. So, grabbing some old gear from various companies I worked for, I experimented more, came up with a range of products, and launched Send On Upcycling!

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What is your inspiration or where do you find inspiration?

My initial inspiration came from several different companies and individuals in the UK and US creating amazing pieces from old ropes. My ongoing inspiration comes from two places.

Firstly, from the amazing conversations I have with people at my stall at markets.

I absolutely love the chats I've gotten to have. Not all suggestions are immediately feasible - for example, I'm asked all the time about dog leads! However, it's important to me that all parts of my pieces are upcycled, and I'm yet to find appropriate attachment clips that fall into this category.

But I've certainly been able to consider and develop some ideas from this space.

Secondly, my inspiration comes from the materials themselves!

Sometimes the material will just feel like it SHOULD be something, or two colours will be begging to be together. I get stupidly excited by things like a harness colour matching perfectly with a rope. It really is a lot of fun!

Where did you learn your craft?

Aside from the little bit of sewing touched on during high school Home Ec classes, I'd really never sewn before starting to explore the idea of launching Send On. So, I bought myself a sewing machine, and started to teach myself to sew the same way I'd previously taught myself to knit, crochet and macramé - through the wonderful world of YouTube!

I think we're so incredibly lucky to live in an age where the wealth of knowledge of skilled and amazing creators can be accessed with the click of a button. While it takes countless hours to really hone a craft, anyone and everyone can start learning through these avenues. It takes away the barriers to entry of the past; of needing to know someone who could pass on these skills, or being able to afford lessons.

The great thing about working in the outdoor recreation industry was that I had ready access to retired materials to practice with. Each new product is the result of a bit of behind the scenes trial and error, and it's been a lot of fun figuring things out and seeing what I can do with different items. I'm learning new techniques all the time as new projects require, and just having so much fun with the process!

Discover Australian Handmade Artisan Send On Upcycling

Why is handmade artistry so important to you?

For me personally, it provides a much needed creative outlet.

'I started Send On Upcycling after coming through severe post partum depression and anxiety. Working with my hands and losing myself in the design process helped me to find "me" again.'

With my twins now 14 months old, the project continues to help me find balance and peace.

Discover Australian Handmade Artisan Send On Upcycling

As a consumer, I just love knowing that my dollars are going to support individuals who have dedicated time and effort to learning their craft, and poured love and passion into creating each item.

Tegan is a much loved member of the Madeit Collective, posting regularly in our Facebook Group ~ The Home of Australian Handmade ~ and sharing her new creations as they are released. If you haven't connected with Send On Upcycling designs already, make sure you join our FB Group and say hi!

Discover Australian Handmade Artist Send On Upcycling
Click here or see below to discover the handmade creations by Send On Upcycling.

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