Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tweet, Tweet

I started twittering today. I'm not really sure why, considering that I already keep a blog, text like mad, and update my facebook status practically on the hour. I'm not quite sure I do anything that's really interesting enough to be twittered about, but maybe. You can do it from your phone via text message. This concept really fascinates me. Blogging + texting!?

I can hardly contain myself.

We'll see how it goes.I'll be twittering about my general life, not sustainable things, specifically. Then again, that's sort of what Upcycle Diaries is like, anyway, so you're probably used to it. I'll try to pepper the twits with something deep and meaningful every so often.

You should start twittering, too.
Follow me here.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cindy Tower

On friday night, I went to the opening for the Cindy Tower exhibit at the Sheldon Art Galleries here in St. Louis. Although the space is a little weird, it was a lot of fun. At one point, i was standing next to a handful of the most important arts patrons in St. Louis, listening to them talk about St. Louisy stuff. Cindy Tower's art work is really interesting. She paints abandoned factories and industrial plants using a very vivid and dynamic style and color pallet. There's a sort of impressionistic flare to her brushstrokes coupled with some sort of social commentary on the nature of abandoned, industrial places, almost as if Bernd and Hilla Becher met Camilo Jose Vergara and had a baby with Van Gogh. At least, that's kind of what her artwork reminds me of. But that's not really why I like it.I enjoy the social commentary, or at least, the implication that there is something to be said about these sorts of spaces, the neglected and willfully forgotten sites of long-since-outsourced industrial production. Her paintings made me wonder why it is that we are so furverently and furiously building new factories in far away places when so many of them sit here, overgrown and decomposing. It's disappointing and rather infuriating.

The fact that Tower can find (and create) beauty in and from these wrecked artifacts of industry will hopefully lead to a broader discussion about how we choose to value places like those depicted in her works. I say hopefully, because, like with any other kind of art, it would be quite easy to view these are merely aesthetic works, art that is meant to please the eye and dull the mind. I believe that art- especially art of this magnitude, with loaded imagery and subjectmatter- should be used to provoke and inspire.

Hopefully, it will.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Beautiful Things

I don't really have anything of substance to report (still). Bed production has come to a screeching hault because *eye roll* school.

but here is a beautiful video

And here's an image I wove of a friend of mine for her birthday (i hope she doesnt read this blog because I havent actually mailed it to her yet...)

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Status Report

The bed is running a little bit behind schedule, but not really. All the cardboard strips were cut earlier today and now, all four panels that will ultimately become my sleeping surface have been woven. I will post pictures maybe later tonight, maybe.

But until then, check out this site (click on the "Installation Work" tab) It's pretty cool.
Apparently, woven cardboard sleeping surfaces are not unique to my own mind.

But that's okay.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Test Lap

Here are some pictures from the first experiments regarding the cardboard bed. I took several cardboard sheets and cut them into 20"x1" and 39"x1" strips (a twin extra long bed is 80"x39". this panel is 1/4th of the entire bed.). Then, I wove these strips together. The resulting surface has an interesting texture and seems comfy.

I hope to have the bed finished by this weekend.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

More Sketchbooks

Three more sketchbooks! Two are for people, one I made just because.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Monday, February 9, 2009

Potluck Ubiquity

I'm tired of potlucks.

What is it about college and the overwhelming abundance and ubiquity of bad potlucks? Okay, so in theory, potlucks are a beautiful and poetic idea: gather up a group of your favorite people and have each of them bring a tasty dish to some sort of gathering. It's wonderful; diverse people get to share diverse culinary experiences with one another in a very intimate way. But like so many other things, potlucks work theoretically most of the time and rarely in actuality. Usually, these events degenerate into potato chips, soda, and dessert parties that, while fun, are boring and shallow in a culinary sense.Being the born and bred culinary fiend that I am, I much prefer the dinner party to the potluck. And while the dinner party has images associated with it that run contrary to those of the potluck (dinner parties: stuffy, formal; potlucks: organic, egalitarian), I feel that they are simply better. From the foodie's point of view, dinner parties allow for one thing in particular: quality control. As a dinner party host, you have the ability to set a menu, pick dishes that go well together, and even select appropriate drinks for your meal. Here, the host shares themselves with their guests by not only offering a welcoming home, but by designing a creative and palatable culinary and nutritional experience. These are experiences that can be rooted in personal preference, cultural tradition, and creativity. In essence, the dinner party strives for quality of culinary and personal interaction, not the sheer quantity that the potluck favors so.

The potluck is reckless. They are unstructured in an almost irresponsible sort of way because potlucks rely not only only on a varied set of culinary abilities (which can or cannot be a good thing), but on the portability of food items. How many potlucks have been ruined by poorly managed tupperware? Each of these variables, when taken separately, can surely be a source for creativity and improvisation, but when combined with each other (plus a dozen or so people), they can quickly result in unappetizing and inedible culinary havoc. So, as a rule: 1) potlucks suck, 2) they're really not THAT cool, 3) dinner parties rule.

My answer to potluck lovers is very simple: let me cook for you. Come to my dinner party and if you MUST bring something, bring a nice bottle of wine (Leave your Double Stuf Oreos at home).

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bacon Explosion

This is entirely unrelated (and maybe antithetical) to anything on this blog, but it's so so tasty. Last weekend, will fischer, deej, and I made the Bacon Explosion. Here is a chronicle of our journey.


Upcycle, please

Thursday, February 5, 2009


This is my favorite sketchbook I've made in a long while. The cover is a weave of a flyer from the justice concert in chicago for new years eve and the skid row history museum in la.

upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hobo Chic

So cardboard bed, kinda silly, right? Wrong. It actually makes a lot of sense. I'm slightly obsessed with cardboard as a building material, pass time, and all-around plaything. Its fun, its cheap, and easy to find. What's not to love!? And that's exactly what makes it perfect for my bed. I dont really mind dedicating time to desinging/building a bed, but I definitely do mind dropping a bill or two on it. So, I wont.

I heard and read a lot about how cardboard (and paper, in general?) is particularly good for retaining heat. Theres a reason why the downtrodden often use cardboard as a building material. This, of course, is an entirely different situation, but with similar goals in mind.

Now, don't be fooled by those silly european design firms that'll try to sell you a cardboard bed for $300. I mean, it's a neat bed, but i dont know. Its just a bunch of cardboard. but this guy knows whats up. What I'm going for is maybe somewhere in the middle, part high design , part stack. Here is a small test model that I made:
I took a sheet of cardboard and cut it into 1"x20" strips. I'm taking these strips and weaving them together. The strips are going to be held in place by pieces of twine. The beauty of this weaving system is that it takes a two dimensional surface (which would be enough to grant me more insulation/heat retention) that when woven together, creates a third dimension (this third dimension fulfills the other goal of softness/being elevated off the ground). Granted that I'm not really elevated, just liften slightly above it at certain points. But really, that's all I'm looking for: A tiny bit of elevation.

You'll notice that the pictures I posted yesterday featured weaving patterns and motifs. While those pictures were chosen for that very reason, it should be stated that my weaving and their weaving are two totally different kinds of construction. The chairs and beds from yesterday use a weaving system that is in tension (that is, the weave is attached to the frame of the bed/chair and maintains a roughly taught surface). My weave is not in tension, it just sort of sits there. The reason for that is that I don't know that tension is really necessary for my application. I want the illusion of tension, the vaguest and most subtle hint at being lifted off the ground.

upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Weave Machine

sketchbooks for some very special ladies

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Design Build

Originally, I set out not in a crusade against comfort, but in an attempt to challenge how we've manifested our desire for comfort. I believe that we need soft, warm, pleasant places upon which to rest our souls, but I do not believe that the beds we have today are quite the right solution. They're too much. Too big, too processed; too far removed from the simplicity and innateness that is sleep and rest. I seek something that is simple and pure, something that fulfills that desire for darkness and dreams using the absolute minimum.

I'm in the process of designing and building myself a bed. Well, not a bed, something to sleep on. A sleeping surface? The requirements are quite simple: my sleeping surface must 1) lift me off the cold, cold floor ever so slightly, 2) give me a soft place to rest, and 3) be made of a material that is cheap, has a low environmental provenance, and would be interesting to work with.

Basically, I'm making a bed out of cardboard.

It's inspired by these pieces of furniture:

It's just not as fancy,

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

A Bed of My Own

Every since I moved into my apartment in St. Louis at the end of the summer, I have been sleeping without a bed (i.e., on the floor). I dont own a bed frame or even, a mattress. Instead, I sleep on an eggcrate mattress pad and a folded blanket or two. My reasons for this seemingly ridiculous and probably unhealthy decision have been very obvious to me and of course, pretty murky for almost everyone else, but they have been rooted almost exclusively in the desire to ultimately live more with less.

That is, I don't own a bed because I do not necessarily believe that I need one. Subsequently, I'm not entirely sure you need one, either. But that's a different story. I came to the not-a-bed decision rather easily, over the course of a several months-long deliberation and seemingly constant lack-of-funds lifestyle I enjoy living. At the end of the summer, I decided that I would return to school and move into an apartment with only what I could carry with me and what I had stored away previously. My school, in its unending generosity and graciousness, had always provided me with a bed and mattress to sleep on. When I decided to move off campus, I found myself bedless and cold. And that was when I began to question the notion of a bed being absolutely necessary to my existence.

As I began hinting at this questioning, I was met by much resistance, from almost everyone I talked to about it. It was absurd for me to NOT have a bed. Ludicrous. And not to mention, just plain inconvenient. Of course, these rhetorical struggles and nay-sayers only fueled my desire to be fussy and bedless. I became fascinated by the intense opposition I encountered. Why was everyone so against not having a bed? Was it merely tradition and habit, privileged notions of comfort, or perhaps something more innate. I wondered how deeply seeded the desire for a soft place to sleep went and if it could be overcome (and whether it was wise to attempt such a thing).

I have spent a semester sleeping on this makeshift dream vessel. The dreams experienced therein were neither pleasant nor sound. And that's part of the problem. The bed itself has been comfortable, psychologically, but taxing physically. The floor grew cold and hard. There are a few grooves in the floorboards that my body fits into quite snugly, but that thermal mass has been a bit too much with this winter weather. The floor is too hard, too cold. I naively jumped the gun. It was as if I had watched a PETA video and went straight to level five veganism, foregoing consideration of something more moderate, less rash; as often is the case, I was unwilling to find a compromise between my morals and what was physically possible.

Obviously, It's time for plan B.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco
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