Brinkley Reuse Centre announces upcycling competition winners
The entrants had to be equally creative and thrifty to conjure these pieces of art.
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Have you ever seen someone turn a coat hanger into a fish?
A sewing machine into a tractor?
Perhaps an oil drum into a barbecue?
Nope, not by magic; those were some of the entries in a recent upcycling competition at the Brinkley Reuse Centre.
George McInnes, farmer, came in first place with his piece 44 BBQ, an actual functioning barbecue crafted from a collection of odds and ends, giving them a renewed purpose.
“It’s made from scrap metal that I found around my farm and saved from scrap heaps,” Mr McInnes said.
“The main body is a 44-gallon oil drum from the US Department of Defence in World War II.
“It’s a great conversation piece and when you’re cooking with it, it’s a challenge not to get it too hot, or to not let the flame go out, which is all part of the fun.
“You won’t see another one.”
Mr McInnes said upcycling was an art form that had a practical purpose.
“We’re saving things from becoming landfill and getting buried,” he said.
“I wanted to create something that was recycled, functioning and mobile; I didn’t want it to just be a static display.”
Fellow competition entrant, Devon Amber, mastered turning old sewing machines into vintage-looking tractors.
“I find most of my materials from garage sales and old farming implements” he said.
“I’ve made about 50 tractors, and they all look totally different.
“I’ve used chain links to make tanks, clothes hangers to make fish, all sorts of things.”
Site manager Beck Page said the Brinkley centre was an asset not only for those who were crafty, but for the wider community.
“We take on homewares, kitchenware, clothing, dog blankets,” she said.
“We give things away to people that are experiencing domestic violence, homelessness, those who are in need … we try to help where we can.”
It was a rewarding place to work, she said.
“I’ve been here almost 10 years, and one of the highlights has been bringing different people together,” she said.
Mr McInnes agreed.
“You and I connected when I needed some PVC pipe, and you asked what I needed it for,” he said.
“I told you that I was going to use it to make a bird feeder, and you gave it to me for free … at the end of the day, the birds were the ones who would benefit from that, not me.
“It’s not just about saving landfill, but also about bringing joy and enthusiasm to people, making connections and improving people’s mental health.”
The Murray Bridge council’s assets and infrastructure general manager, Heather Barclay, said the reuse centre’s transformation had been extremely beneficial for the community.
“It’s coming up to four years since its been under the Adelaide Hills Region Waste Management Authority,” Ms Barclay said.
“It’s a cherished part of the community, because the shop itself is very affordable and people know they can come here and find all sorts of things and unusual items.
“Also, everything here is being saved from going into landfill, which keeps tonnes of rubbish out of the ground.”
Councillor Wayne Thorley praised all the entrants for their outstanding efforts.
“Everyone who has entered the competition this year has such creative imaginations,” Cr Thorley said.
“I understand that to do something like this, you are putting yourself up for critique, so I thankyou for entering and for promoting upcycling.
“I think everyone here today is a winner.”