The old-age adage: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Be it a plain Ikea find or a hand-me-down that has gotten a bit gnarly with age, don’t fret! Mrs Salvages is here to remind us that all around our own homes are heirlooms and knick-knacks in need of a little TLC.
Upcycling represents a variety of processes by which “old” products get to be modified and get a second life as they are turned into a “new” product of higher value.
Dagmara Wintnerova a.k.a Mrs Salvages originally from Slovakia said, “growing up, we were introduced to up-cycling quite young. I was always a person who loved being surrounded by colourful and cheery things and it wasn’t easy to find such things around. So we turned to find knick-knacks that we could repaint and customise for ourselves, and turn something boring into something pretty.”
“Before I knew it, it became a hobby. Once I moved to Oman, I started going to local markets with my products, to see if people liked what they saw. This was nearly 4 years ago, at the time not much was known about upcycling but slowly through the years, you could see that trend making its way into the region too and now, not only am I popular at the market but more and more people are interested in learning to upcycle themselves along with being interested in funkier, brighter items to display around themselves,” she added.
“Upcycling not only makes things look better but also adds value to them. I’ve upcycled tables that may not have been worth much, but after I was done with them— they sell for more than 3 or 4 times the original price and all it needs its a bit of colour, a few tiles or dots and voila!” Dagmara said.
A plain desk of Ikea or an old chair that has been scuffed up through the years is all pieces awaiting a bit of retouching in the eyes of Mrs Salvages herself.
“Upcycling not only makes things look better but also adds value to them. I’ve upcycled tables that may not have been worth much, but after I was done with them— they sell for more than 3 or 4 times the original price and all it needs its a bit of colour, a few tiles or dots and voila! and not only are you adding value but in today’s world of waste, you’re doing your part in not only reducing waste but taking something that might be waste and turning it into not only something beautiful but into something profitable,” she said.
Other than the bright upcycled pieces, on her Instagram page, another product that stands out is her macrame. “It all started as a curiosity”, she said, “I started macrame 2 years ago, I’ve always wanted to try it but to me, it was something that looked very difficult, but I really wanted to try it so one day I took the leap of faith and bought the supplies I would need and looked up how-tos on youtube and started and now I am hosting my own workshops and teaching others macrame which is something I never thought I would be doing, I still do enjoy doing decoupage and mosaic but macrame is the front runner at the moment but this is the thing about me, in a year or so it could be something else completely. I love learning and finding out new ways to create and make things that are not only functional but also aesthetic.”
Other than selling her own creations, Dagmara also teaches. As someone who learns to love new things and techniques herself, she realised that many of her clients not only wanted to own her creations but also learn for themselves how to create magic with their own hands and using their own creativity.
As we establish a new normal, all our lives changed including that of Mrs Slavages, she said, “as an artist, who spends a lot of time at home working, not much changed for me. But eventually, I noticed that I was lacking inspiration because a lot of the times, I get inspired by what I see around me, whether its people, places or being out in nature and spending so much time indoors really affected me at first. But soon after, I realised that we within ourselves harness so much inspiration and this pandemic really pushed me to explore that and find inspiration within myself. It is amazing how much you can come up with you to spend time with yourself.”
Her creations are endless, and to follow her journey on her Instagram @mrs.salvages as she upcycles, reuses and creates works of art from everyday things.