Saturday, 4 April 2015

Homegrown Reuser: Jan Przysiezniak

There are a LOT of creative reusers in the Edmonton community and in Alberta! So I decided to profile a few of them for the Reuse-it Edmonton blog to learn their tips and tricks for reusing. First up is Jan Przysiezniak, who runs JellyParrot Trashcrafts. You might recognize him from his booth at the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market.

Who are you?
I'm Jan Przysiezniak. I run JellyParrot Trashcrafts. I make useful things (notebooks, belts, etc.) out of repurposed things (used paper, bicycle tires, etc.). I studied to be a scientist (neurobiology) but didn't want to write for a living. I've always had an interest in do-it-yourself recycling. Now it's how I make my living. My schooling and obsessive nature help with understanding of and working on details to make a sellable product. I sell my work at the Old Strathcona Farmers' Market. I do some yard work in the summer, for extra cash and to get outside.

I also make things like pedal-powered devices, lamps from found objects and bicycle parts, person-sized sculptures from bike parts, bags from truck tie-down straps, shower curtain rings from bicycle spokes, stringed instruments from found lumber, flutes from found electrical conduit, furniture and yard equipment from found lumber, etc.

I live in Edmonton, in the Bonnie Doon neighbourhood, in a shared rental townhouse. I don't own or drive a car. I cycle, walk, bus. I help people fix their bicycles at Edmonton Bicycle Commuters, on Monday nights. I'm vegetarian. I play recorder. I refuse to be part of the rat race. I like my frugal living.

What materials do you use and where do you get them?
I make journals from this:
- One-side-good paper, donated, or scavenged from recycling dumpsters.
- Vinyl records and their cardboard sleeves, donated.
- Miscellaneous boxboard and flat things for making journal covers, scavenged from my home recycling box or elsewhere.
- Clothes hangers, donated by my neighbourhood dry-cleaner (TODD cleaners).
- White glue, bought.

The belts contain this:
- Scrapped bicycle tires from Edmonton Bicycle Commuters (EBC) community bike shops, United Cycle, Velocity Cycle.
- Scrapped bicycle frame tubing, bottom-bracket lock rings, headset spacers, fender struts from EBC.
- Stainless steel nuts and bolts bought from Edmonton Nut & Bolt.
- Tremclad clear lacquer bought from Home Depot.
- Time on the bench grinder at EBC, in exchange for some volunteer work and the occasional new grindstone.

For other projects, I use the few scraps I've accumulated at home, or go looking for materials when I have a specific project in mind. Sometimes I find that it takes less time to make a part than to go out to buy it.

What is your favourite piece of work you have done and why?
My favourite piece was the most functional:
In 2012 I helped Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton (OFRE) upgrage their hand-cranked apple crusher so it could be pedal-driven. Now it just races through bags and bags of apples. Ninety percent of the materials for the upgrade were reused/repurposed.

What inspired you to do this?
My inspiration was the need for OFRE to speed up their fruit processing.

Do you have any tips/ inspiring words to share to newbie reusers?
Reusers are already inspired.

What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?
Keep doing what I'm doing, but more, and less boring.
Play more music.
Cycle out of town more often.
Keep living slow and never get sucked into the rat race.
Never retire.
Help save the world from humans, for future humans.

Where can we find you?
I sell my work at the Old Strathcona Farmers' Market, every Saturday, 8am-3pm.
I have no web site, but I can be reached at

- Michelle (volunteer)

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