Discover the joy of upcycling with Jamey

Jamey Gill from Jag Cag Design

When she's not being a supermum, roadie to her two sons, and a successful marketing director, Jamey Gill is an extraordinary maker and designer. You can check out her amazing creating and upcycling projects on her site Jag Cag Design.

We also had the pleasure of having Jamey show us some of her tips and tricks on our guru live sessions over on Instagram. Catch it here if you missed it.

We got chatting with Jamey to discuss how she got into the world of making and where she draws inspiration. Read all about it.

Your DIY and making skills are incredibly varied. Where did it all start?

"Thank you so much! If you ask my mom, she'll tell you that I was born with creative bones. From a young age, I would envision toys that I wanted to make, such as a jointed doll made from popsicle sticks, and both my mom and dad would help me bring these visions to life. They are both extremely creative people themselves. They taught me to fix what was broken before buying new, as well as encouraging me to learn how to sew and create art projects of all kinds. I am very lucky to have them as teachers and role models!"

When you upcycle things, is it because you're keen to avoid waste, or is it simply creative juices flowing?

"Both! I've always loved turning cast-off objects into beautiful and/or functional pieces again. When we lost our home to California wildfire a few years ago, I sifted through the ashes for days, saving bits and pieces of our previous home (such as burned pieces of my boys' childhood toys, pottery, and twisted silverware), knowing that one day I would have the energy to create something new with them again. Slowly, I have been refashioning these burned items into home decor and holiday pieces. I have a big box of these items, and there's a heart-gripping sadness to see them when I open that box - but when I am able to make them useful again, it brings me joy. Even when I am working with pieces that are less meaningful (not from the fire), reworking them into something new and useful again makes me feel like I am doing something good for the planet, as well as making my creative heart happy!"

Jag Cag Design repair with Sugru

What has been a surprise upcycled success?

"Oh gosh, great question! Honestly, I am so thrilled with the way that my Upcycled Junk Pumpkins came out this past Fall! I used Sugru for them, as well as some pieces from that box of burned treasures I mentioned earlier. I got so many messages about them - they made people so happy! I love that with a little bit of junk and some Sugru, I can help people smile!"

Jag Cag Design pumpkins with Sugru

Tell us a bit about your jewellery making

"I started making stamped metal pieces when my boys were in a traveling rock band (they really were in a REAL teen rock band - they opened for artists like Eddie Money and Foreigner, it was so fun!). They needed merchandise to sell, and we didn't have much money to purchase any for resale, so I made most of it instead! One of my favourites to make was bracelets made from their used guitar strings. I still make those today! I also hand stamp metal pieces, and use old belts, vintage keys, and pieces of broken vintage jewellery to create cuffs, necklaces, keychains, and more."

We know you're an active member of the Hometalk community where you must get lots of inspiration. Where else do you get your ideas from?

"I do love the Hometalk community! I'm also very active on Instagram, and follow a number of creative accounts that inspire me on a daily basis. There are so many creative individuals in our world, and I find that Instagram is a great way to connect. I also love going to yard sales and shopping at thrift stores. I am always on the search for other people's cast-off pieces that I can turn into something useful and fun!"

If somebody had never upcycled anything but wanted to give it a go, what's a fun and easy starting project?

"I think that the Garden Caddy I made with Sugru is very easy, and so fun! Plus, it has a number of uses - you can carry it through the garden to gather veggies, fill it with flowers, or even use it as a catch-all in the office, craft room, or bathroom. You can find a step-by-step tutorial on how to make it here."

Jag Cag Design repurposed garden caddy

Brilliant, thanks Jamey! If all this talk of making and upcycling has got you cooking up a few creative ideas of your own, stock up on some Sugru and get crafting. Or, if you're looking for a little motivation, there's plenty to be had on our Projects & Inspiration page.