BY Cady Kuzmich
Clifton Park — Michelle Greene, of Clifton Park, has been breathing new life into well-loved objects and furniture since she was just 15 years old. She grew more passionate about the craft as a young mother sprucing up old items for her five growing children. Her upcycled work can be found at the Artique Co-Op located along Crescent Road in Clifton Park.
A brief interview with Michelle Greene, owner of Michelle’s Upcycling Shoppe.
Q: When and how did you begin your work upcycling?
A: I have been upcycling items since I was 15 [years old]. I enjoy making something even more beautiful and more useful than it was before. I was a young mom and would upcycle items as my children grew. People were amazed with what I could make [from] nothing. So, I started doing items and posting them online and people loved them. I started my own business almost four years ago. I had a little store in Greenwich [and] loved it but my son needed another spinal fusion so I closed the store and [focused on the] online [shop] again. Now I am in Artique Co-Op in Clifton Park and I love it.
Q: Do you remember your first upcycling project?
A: I do. It was my son’s dresser that use to be my brother’s. I repainted it [and] added Winnie the Pooh stickers. It was perfect.
Q: Are you from Clifton Park originally? If not, what brought you to this area?
A: I’m originally from Liverpool, New York. I moved to Stillwater when I was 12 years old and moved to Clifton Park in January of this year. I always loved Clifton Park.
Q: How would you define what you do?
A: I define what I do as giving items a new life a new look and a purpose.
Q: What’s your specialty?
A: My specialty is furniture. I love redoing and upcycling furniture.
Q: How many kids do you have? Do they ever help you or start up cycling projects of their own?
A: I have five kids — three boys and two girls. They all help and love seeing the finished work. [My daughter] Paige has created a lot of her own items. She is very talented. The boys help me lift [things] and paint sometimes. [My daughter] Ava loves to tell me what a great job I did.
Q: Do you have another job?
A: I am a full time cosmetology student at Paul Mitchell. I will own my own salon one day. I will always upcycle and be in Artique. Upcycling is my passion.
Q: How did you gain the skills necessary to recycle and repurpose? Do you have any formal training working with furniture?
A: My skills come from practice, trial and error, and just having fun.
Q: Could you speak to the environmental importance of upcycling?
A: It is always better to upgrade your old items or buy upcycled items [because] it’s not being manufactured in a factory polluting [the] air and it’s important to support your local family-owned businesses.
Q: What has been the most challenging/rewarding project so far?
A: The most challenging [project] was an island I made out of a dresser. It was a lot of work and [I made] a few errors but in the end it was an amazing island.