Hello, Reduction Rebels. I have to introduce you to Mahe Zehra Husain (MZ) from Altered Upcycling. She is a mathematician (she has completed her Masters in Operations Research from The University of Texas at Austin), works at a software house but is also a passionate and published upcycling artist. She is constantly looking for ways to upcycle all the trash around her in an attempt to make the world greener one small craft project at a time.
Eve’s interview with MZ from Altered Upcycling
1. On your site you say you stumbled upon some great techniques while studying for your masters in engineering. Can you tell us more about that?
Well, I have always been crafting and use it to balance my life which is otherwise quite filled with numbers and mathematics. While doing my masters I discovered die-cutting machines and started using them to emboss and cut soda cans and plastic packaging. My first book ‘Crafty Cans and Perplexing Plastic‘ was born at that time.
2. What are your origins as an upcycler?
My parents have always encouraged us to think out of the box and use what we see around us creatively. My father taught me how to use power tools at quite a young age. That, coupled with the fact that I loved to craft and make stuff led to my art style which I like to call altered upcycling
3. It seems as though you look at green crafting as a type of therapy? Can you talk more about that?
I feel doing something creative and using your hands, whether it is crafting or cooking makes a huge difference if you have a career that is very demanding. I deal with my stress by turning to my crafting and spending time in my studio. It allows me to free up my mind and give it a rest while making something which is very rewarding. Sharing what I make with my facebook community is an added plus since I get to connect with artists from all over the globe.
4. How many books have you written/published? And could you tell us a little about your journey in writing and publishing?
I have written about a dozen books to date and am working on a couple more. It has been a rewarding journey and I have learnt a lot! Self publishing has become quite easy and it allows you to share what you know with people from all over the world. That to me is the most important aspect of self publishing. You don’t need to get a publishers permission to share what you love!
KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) in particular has been a very easy platform to use and I encourage artists to explore and use the tools available. In fact at Altered Upcycling we have started a series of books that are put together by artists from all over the globe. The books feature upcycling projects that range from furniture to bracelets!