January 24, 2011

A Rendezvous With Upcycling Pioneers

This weekend I attended the 40th Alafia River Rendezvous, the Southeast's largest pre-1840's interpretive encampment. Hosted by the Florida Frontiersmen, every year over 1200 participants come to Homeland, Florida and live in camps while portraying many different cultures and regions of Early America. Over 100 craftsmen demonstrate or sell a large variety of historic artifacts or reproductions. What does this have to do with upcycling, you ask? Pioneers, by necessity, were Upcyclers. They knew that the only way to survive was to be self-sufficient, and were forced to sustain themselves with what little they had. The results were often ingenious and innovative, some even revolutionary. Best of all, the beauty of their craftsmanship elevated these inspired objects to Art.

The day was crisp and lovely, and I was transported in time to a peaceful community of kind and gentle neighbors who shared a kindred spirit of love and appreciation for our history. Their knowledge of the tools and trades of this period was impressive and vast. I found myself wishing I had been there for their entire eleven day stay...One would need at least that much time to truly relish all that was there to offer: authentic food, drink, music and tales told round the fireside at night. But alas, I had but one day... it makes you consider the purchase of a canvas tent and some pioneer attire.


Mustang Sally and the Hamjo's


  1. What a great perspective on Upcycling! We should strive to make upcycled items that are ingenious, innovative, and revolutionary (UPvolutionary?), and I love the idea that we are carrying on a tradition passed down from pioneers.

  2. Thank you, Gena! Love your coined "UPvolutionary! I agree, it's an honor to know we are reconnecting in some way with our heritage. I just read an article that people are cooking and dining more at home, it started because of the economy, like the handmade movement, but we are finding out how wonderful it is to get back to basic family values and methods in our homes.

  3. I'm so glad to have found your page! Thank you for the photo of our Jackson Creek band (third photo down... playing in the tent. :) Hope you'll come back to Alafia this year!

  4. Thank you, Katie, for stopping by, it is a fantastic event that everyone should have a chance to attend! I hope to be there for the next one!