Stories and dialogues around making-caring-hacking with locally-available materials around the world.

  • What would a Resource Recovery Network for Pōneke look like?

    What would a Resource Recovery Network for Pōneke look like?

    Waste Free Welly is an open and collaborative group of individuals and organisations working to progress the vision of zero waste in the Wellington Region. In 2020, responding to Wellington City Council’s target of reducing waste to landfill 30% by 2026, they proposed to develop a region-wide resource recovery network.

  • new handles

    new handles

    Great examples of new/replacement handles, often improving upon the original, as seen in Hamburg, Solingen & Freiburg.

  • Freeboxes


    During my time living in Germany I have enjoyed coming across these ‘Freeboxes’ on my wanderings around the cities, where people leave things for others to take, often housed in handmade structures. Sometimes you also come across things on the sidewalk, with the note ‘Zu Verschenken’. – Xin

  • Sandwiching


    Useful technique for fixing things onto grills and fences, here seen used by professionals and non-professionals alike, at subway and shop entrances around Hamburg.

  • Circular seating

    Circular seating

    Outside an icecream kiosk in Berlin, seating made from a variety of salvaged wood pieces.

  • Sidewalk seating & gardens

    Sidewalk seating & gardens

    In certain neighbourhoods of Berlin, a local regulation (Baumscheibenpatenschaft) allows and encourages the modifications of the space immediately around the trees along the footpath by locals. Walking around, I found a variety of seating, made from pristine and salvaged materials, accompanied by different gardens.

  • Towards an art/making practice that is kinder for the planet

    Towards an art/making practice that is kinder for the planet

    A conversation between Monique Jansen & Xin Cheng February 2022 Xin: Since our collaboration for Speaking Surfaces at St Pauls St Gallery, I have been wondering about an art/making practice that is kinder for the planet. As we talked about before, we buy art supplies from Gordon Harris, but actually everything comes from overseas. Recently […]

  • Epiphytic berm garden

    Epiphytic berm garden

    Extraordinary example of a ‘tree-grate garden’, with epiphytic planters, a spirit house and various creatures in the gardenbed.

  • Hand-made bowling ground

    Hand-made bowling ground

    Along the Landwehrkanal in Neukölln, Berlin, one could encounter the personalities of the locals by walking: there is a bowling ground made with scrap wood, beer bottle caps as the washers, and tin cans as ashtrays. Although made by the association 1. Boule Club Kreuzberg e. V. , it is open to use by anyone, […]

  • Appropriate technology, mealworms & 3D printers | a conversation with Angus Donald Campbell & Chris Berthelson

    Appropriate technology, mealworms & 3D printers | a conversation with Angus Donald Campbell & Chris Berthelson

    Xin and Adam connect up with the new head of the University of Auckland’s Design Programme Dr Angus Donald Campbell and PhD candidate Chris Berthelsen to share stories of local making from Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Tāmaki Makaurau and South Africa.

  • planters


    Great examples of reuse found at the community garden at Tempelhof Airfield in Berlin.

  • bike carriers

    bike carriers

    Various ways of increasing carrying capabilities of bicycles. See in Hamburg, Berlin, London. Core-flute with slots, tied to existing rack with zip ties. The inner-tube lashing enables several banana boxes full of grocery to be transported.

  • bikes as signage

    bikes as signage

    To get around city regulations on not cluttering streets with sandwich boards, bikes have been fitted and parked semi-permanently to advertise wine bars and neighbourly convivial gatherings. Here observed in Hamburg and Berlin.

  • sweatlodge in Basel

    sweatlodge in Basel

    By the river Rhein, beside a self-made skating ground, a sweatlodge with a wood-burning stove within. Made of various blankets, insulation material tied together, on a frame of wooden sticks. Pegs secure the ropes to the ground. Enter through a low opening on the side. Note the chimney visible on the left of the structure.

  • Material Cycles, Do-ocracy & Care | a conversation with Gilly Karjevsky

    Material Cycles, Do-ocracy & Care | a conversation with Gilly Karjevsky

    Gilly Karjevsky and Xin Cheng first met at Floating University Berlin in spring 2018. Late February 2022, they met up online, between a Wellington summer and Berlin spring, and shared some recent projects and reflections.

  • Joule Thief & a New Xmas Tradition

    Joule Thief & a New Xmas Tradition

    We have been getting ‘waste’ from the Sustainability Trust, and learning about the industrialised processes required to break them down into raw materials and ‘recycle’ them. For example, with old CFL light bulbs, the glass from the tubes is crushed and turned into insulation fibreglass for houses, the mercury is made into dental amalgam, the […]

  • Repairing a Machete

    Repairing a Machete

    After fixing the roof, PK started to make a new handle for one of the machetes used by the volunteers. PK was so delft at this it was hard to take good photos. Using another machete, he carved a new handle out of fresh bamboo to the diameter of the metal part. Then some used […]

  • Bamboo structures

    Bamboo structures

    In Northern Thailand, human-dwelling is an arrangement of the local forest We helped with building cob houses from local clay and elephant dung, and took shelter under roofs made from leaves. One week, PK, a local carpenter, came to repair the kitchen roof. How finely he could split freshly-cut bamboo into thin strips for fastening […]

  • Variable Multihook

    Variable Multihook

    Coathanger-turned-multi-purpose hooks made by Jim from the shop ‘Odds and Ends’, Dunedin 2016

  • CDs updated

    CDs updated

  • Encountering Everyday Resourcefulness: a drifting assemblage

    Encountering Everyday Resourcefulness: a drifting assemblage

    …the meaning of everyday resourcefulness lies in not putting up with or passively accepting the ‘less-than-ideal’ situation one finds oneself in. Instead, one practices ‘the courage to think for oneself’, and looks for where one can do something – finding and burrowing out creases in the given situation, exercising the agency to make, modify, tweak, improvise with what is around – so it suits one’s actual and unique needs, desires, preferences.

  • Washers


    In an eco-village a stone’s throw from the most expensive apartments in Korea, many ways of insulating dwellings flourish. Fold-up plastic bags, bits of vinyl flooring are all used as washers for fixing bubble-wrap and similar sheets onto windows and walls. 

  • Bamboo Clamp

    Bamboo Clamp

  • Chandelier


    Composite light and mobile, made with a variety of found and made lampshades.

  • Mending


  • Radio improvements

    Radio improvements