Meet the Makers: Upcycled Studio

408564_228003647335249_1770801447_nKen and Diana Swallow are a husband and wife creative team who combine their artistic talents in Upcycled Studio.  We first met them in 2013, when they came out to our then Mini Maker Faire, in Pasco.  We’ve grown a lot since then, and so has their collection of remarkable and inventive art!

Ken Swallow

Ken with his upcycled Millenium Falcon at our 2013 event

Ken creates sculptures from broken vintage pieces as well as modern parts. Anything from fun alien looking bugs and creatures to animals, and his some truly unique Kenbots. There are no rules, no instructions, the main goal is to create something fun and unique from pieces that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Diana creates jewelry from pieces borrowed from Ken’s workbench along with semiprecious gemstones and copper, sterling silver and aluminum.593daa84-98f7-4765-a129-6c494f147c39

One day a customer gave Ken an old dictionary and after it sat on the dining room table for a while and since Diana has a background in graphic design, Ken suggested she “do something with this old dictionary”.  She started using quotes and vintage etchings to create art printed on old dictionary pages. That eventually expanded to creating art and scanning it to use in designs or creating art digitally to use on prints on both dictionary pages and on heavyweight professional matte paper.

You can find Diana’s work on her Blue Poppy Gallery on Etsy . Prices range from $10 to $20 with special deals for multiple purchases. At Gulf Coast MakerCon, they’ll have  quotes for literature lovers and a special collection for SciFi and for fellow geeks like them.

the band “Most of our art embraces the recycling or upcycling of pieces into something new. If we can keep pieces from ending up in landfills and create a piece of whimsical art in the process it makes us happy,” said Diana.

While they  sell under different names online, together  as Upcycled Studio, they participate in shows and indie markets around the Tampa Bay area and one of their favorite parts is seeing the spark of creativity in the eyes of young and old alike.

“We see people identifying parts they recognize from our sculptures. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong but it helps people see things in a new light and that is very satisfying.”

parlimentAs a special gift to Gulf Coast MakerCon attendees, all of Ken and Diana’s pieces will be priced at wholesale prices, so stop by their booth early for the best selection.  There will be also be pieces not shown on the website priced at wholesale, as well,  including motorcycles, and a brand new addition to the collection – Owls!

“There  will be a parliament of owls looking for new homes priced at just $20 each,” said Diana.


Come check out the whimsical and amazing work of Diana and Ken Swallow, and the fun that is Upcycled Studio, at Gulf Coast MakerCon this Saturday!


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