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A New Purpose

“It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.” – Richard Whatley

I have been thinking a lot about what a ‘throwaway culture’ we live in. We have so much in our great land. I dare say we throw away about as much food as we eat, we rarely wear a thing out before acquiring a new one of whatever it is, and many of our products are single-use.

A while back, I decided it was time for a new pair of work boots. I have not decided on a pair yet, but I have narrowed my options. I wanted to choose a boot that is recraftable. In the future, rather than buy a new pair every other year, I plan to have them recrafted. During recrafting, the soles and laces are replaced, and any damaged eyelets or stitching are repaired. The result? You get your soft, broken-in leather returned to you, ready to wear again for a couple more years. 

Aside from rebuilding items for multiple uses, I have genuinely become intrigued by ‘repurposed’ materials. I get a unique satisfaction from taking something condemned to the landfill and finding a new use for it, especially when the resulting project looks like the materials were meant for that purpose all along. My grandmother used to have a sewing room, and through my childish eyes, it appeared to be in total disarray. She had scraps of material piled everywhere and boxes of all thread colors. I did not realize back then that she saved small scraps of hundreds of different materials for later use. It was not uncommon, especially for her and her peers. Today, patchwork quilting is a dying art. The tiny, little scraps of material are not very useful individually, but together, they can make a beautiful work of art (there are many possible analogies there). It is also fun to think about the source of the scraps; a shirt with too many holes, a ripped pair of jeans, or leftover cuttings from a previous project. Some people even make keepsakes from clothing pieces of loved ones. I love that!

 It saddens me that the disposable mentality even bleeds over into our relationships with people. When we are unhappy in our relationships, do we recraft them or dispose of them? Hereafter, I plan to focus more on a recrafting and repurposing mindset. If I can value my old boots enough to give them regular care and repair them when they are broken rather than throw them away, surely I would value relationships with my loved ones much more. As for repurposing, if we can find a new use for an old thing, maybe we can also enrich our lives by finding new ways to use the talents we already possess. 

“Anything in existence, having somehow come about, is continually interpreted anew, requisitioned anew, transformed and redirected to a new purpose.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

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