Yearly Archives: 2020

The Life of A Cardboard Box

A cardboard box appears to have a whole life before it gets to us, the consumers. If you’ve ever looked at the bottom of of your shipping box your likely to see a series of numbers, maybe a barcode, a stamp of the company who made the box and perhaps a stamp referencing recycling.

I am scratching the surface of a few boxes lives as I google, and These all tell be about the sustainable practices of the cardboards producers. There are box certificates that tell me which company made the boxes. I don’t yet know what the printed numbers mean- perhaps they are style numbers for the different box sizes.

Before the boxes were boxes they were paper, a while before that, trees. Some boxes are recycled so they have traveled their path before with a second run at the recycling plant, then to the company who will turn them into paper for cardboard. I know from my brief time as a product maker there are many regulatory steps one must follow to make an item for sale. This is a good thing. It keeps the producer of the product accountable through the creating process but I haven’t yet seen a way that we as consumers can get boxes back to their origin.

Boxes, I am coming to realize are big business. There is so much involved in the creating of them, so much care and intention into the making of them, the selling of them but, it stops when the boxes are sold. They get purchased by the companies who will use them to package and ship the products they sell.

We buy the products that come in the packaging. The ownness of the box it appears, then lands on us consumers and the trash companies to take care of the next and final steps- to reuse or dispose of or recycle the box. Should it? Should some responsibility, accountability befall the company who uses the box to ship, some to the producer of the box as well?

Our current end of the line process doesn’t seem to work, especially since learning that the U.S. was selling recycled cardboard to other Countries and now those don’t want it. As Annie Leonard says, “there is no such thing as away…”. Is there something we can do?

I envision a community us, people who want to help form healthy practices and a cycles for good for the things we use. Contact me if you want to join me in exploring the life of the cardboard box, to understand how it really impacts our world from start to finish. I think that is where change can happen.

Jemma W.
Founder & Owner


After blogging about the seven year clock last week I got to thinking, I’m in a unique position to see first hand just how much product packaging we experience as consumers. As I pick up donations weekly and sort through them I would estimate that 75% of the donations I process are product packaging. That’s significant! The packaging materials I see break down to plastics, cardboard and paper. I can’t decide which there is more of.

We reuse a lot of packaging materials at CReATE but frankly there’s more out there than even we can currently use. I know we’re just scratching the surface on the impact of all the packaging by using recyclables at art materials but it’s a start. There are many avenues to explore. All month I’ll be blogging about creative reuse at the studio, packaging modifications to the products we buy and practical reuse at home.

I will continue the conversation all month long exploring how to address the need for packaging reform with individual companies, one product at a time. Next week, cardboard boxes.

Does packaging get to you too? Let’s connect. As the saying goes, we are stronger together.
Jemma W.

Point Taken

I heard about the change of the Metronome clock in Union Square to The Climate Clock, temporarily displaying the time we have left to prevent the irreversible effects of global warming. I hit me hard. Point taken.

The signs of global warming impact on the world have been showing for years. Melting ice caps, starving polar bears and dwindling open spaces have all been signs. I have noted them, felt them but somehow kept them over there in my mind. Teenager, Greta Thunberg protesting by herself, speaking up and speaking out has been inspiring. It still feels over there, somehow outside my reality but it’s not. Non of the change, the depletion, the neglect, the stripping of resources, the single uses, door deliveries. It’s all part of my reality, our common reality. As former President Barack Obama has said, Climate Change is not some far off problem; it’s happening here, it’s happening now.”

Reuse is one of my solutions to the effects of global warming, reuse the things we have through creatively partners two needs I think we have; to help the planet and to nurture ourselves. But I have to ask myself, can I do more?

I see so much packaging in the donations I receive. Everything we buy comes in packaging, often layers and layers of it. There is almost more than we can use. We would have to do an incredible amount of creating.

I’ve got to do something more. To begin, I am going to spend the next five weeks exploring how I can help minimize product packaging. Product packaging is a huge topic I realize, but I can start somewhere. I will share my process here.

I can do something more to contribute to shifting the effects of the climate clock. If Greta can take action as one person. I can too. I don’t need to be just one person exploring this. If you feel like doing something to look at how to minimize product packaging contact me. We are always better when we work together.

Jemma W.
Founder & Owner

*Photo credit: Jeenah Moon/ The New York Times / Article by Colin Moynihan


Modeling For Others

I have been listening to The Michelle Obama podcast on Spotify. In a recent episode she talked about mentorship. Among they many interesting points of conversation throughout the episode she said in effect, If there is someone younger than you around you, you are a role model. It’s true. As a kid I always looked to the older kids. I have often looked to people more mature than I for guidance in my adult life too.

This idea that, by default I a mentor inspires a new perspective in me. I hadn’t thought of myself as a role model before but I am. I am a parent and I have younger people around me through the studio. The topic of mentoring is also helping me think accountably about my attitudes and actions to others in general.

It’s funny how a simple thought or expression will be inspiring like that. Are you looking for a little inspiration? Explore the idea of mentorship. Good things are sure to come of it.

Make A Paper Gift

I came across an old Kid President Pep Talk video the other day. It’s message was right on cue for the challenges we’ve been facing this year. He said something that really got me thinking, “what will you create that makes the world awesome?” I immediately though of making a gift for someone. Giving someone something hand made is special and makes the recipient feel special too. This works for grown-ups and kids. Chances are, when we do something nice like making art for someone, they will feel good and feel happy to do something for someone else. Paying it forward-that’s awesome.

Since CReATE STUDIO is spotlighting paper this month and it’s probably the most accessible material to make art with while your at home, why not use it to make art for someone. To keep it simple I offer the idea to paint or draw a picture. They make amazing gifts that come right from your heart. Creating something that makes the world awesome can start today with a a piece of paper and a small investment in doing good. Thanks to Kid President and Soul Pancake for the Pep Talk and the idea to create something that makes the world awesome.

Beyond Four Walls

“Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls.-Erin Kenny

There have been some silver linings in this Pandemic, one of which is more outside time (baring sweltering days here and there). It’s been amazing to see people out and about so often; playing, walking, biking and through this new path for CReATE STUDIO, creating.

Our spirits are much bigger than the confines of our bodies and minds. We can stretch beyond our four wall experiences and into the outdoors where possibility, creativity and imagination lie.

I loved this quote about not children bouncing off the walls if we take away the walls. That was my antidote during melt down moments when my girls were younger. Now that I have some hindsight on parenting and the things that worked, getting outdoors was hands-down the best tried and true tactic. It’s magical.

I am thrilled that the studio can now tap into that magic with outdoor creating that comes to you. Get your kids outside. We’ll be waiting there with hands-on eco art fun to explore.
Contact us to book a gather session. Let’s get outdoors!

A Bit Of YouTube For You

I have been making D.I.Y. project based YouTube videos weekly since we closed due to COVID 19.
My goal has been to bring the Creating-A-Home series, a long standing post series I have been sharing on instagram to a more personal level with kids and families through video. I want to not just give you an idea but do it with you.

Through it I hope to engage a more connected creating at home connection to viewers. To give you a hand to hold, encouragement to create with a simple idea, then fly your own way with it.

Most materials I use can be found around the house, if not easy replacers. That’s the fun of it, wok with what you’ve got. There’s a White Stripes Song, Rag and Bone, where Jack White talks through the the song about making stuff from things he finds around a house.

Creating-at-home is the kind of activity that brings you to the moment, gets you in a fun zone.
Join me on my creative reuse journey on YouTube. We’ll make something together and you’ll enjoy a little creativity in your day.

What Kids Make

Creating things shows us who they are.

Freedom happens when they have time and space to use their own imagination to make what they desire.

This Barbie Room is really a few sheets of paper, a little bit of fabric, a box or two, and some pieces of plastic. The pieces come together harmoniously to create an amazing little space that sure I’d like to relax in. We can see what the creator imagined.

My heart sings at the sight of creations like this, seeing what kid get inspired to dream up. I feel like I am seeing them in a most authentic state where the only person they truly need to impress is themselves.

Your kids will impress you and surprise you and after all is said and done you’ll know them that much more.
Visit our other blog posts to see some of the amazing projects kids make.

Jemma W.
Founder & Owner


Expose Your Kids To Art

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
-Edgar Degas

Edgar said it pointedly, art makes us see things. Often in our daily lives we may not see things the way we do in art because we live them. We are too close to them. We have expectations, we anticipate outcomes.

Art takes us away, it pulls our thinking in new directions. The pieces we see stir curiosity, wonder and sometimes a strong sense of feeling. What a gift art is for us.

Art stirs the same expansive openness for children too. Once when my girls were small we were in London and visited the National Gallery. They had a room where all the art was placed on the lower third of walls with little question prompts for kids and families that invited the open thinking pathway. This is the stuff we want our kids to keep as they grow.

We are fortunate to have museums in abundance in and around the Los Angeles area that welcome kids. Even more so we have great museums right here north of LA. Just a few to note in Malibu’s Getty Villa, Thousand Oaks’ CMATO, Camarillo’s KidSTREAM, Ventura’s Ventura Museum of Art and Santa Barbara’s Moxi and Museum of Natural History.

Though museums are not open right now, most have interactive programing that invite art exploration. Here’s a list to explore.

Lastly, my favorite go-to museum app for well rounded access to art is Google’s Arts & Culture where you have regular prompts to view art pieces, themes, history and more.

Women in Business

A monthly blog series

A list of women leading Fortune 500 Companies came up on Google the other day. I don’t know how I got there but, curiously I looked over the list. There are 37 Female CEO’s on this years list, making up 7.4% of the total Fortune 500 CEO’s. That count is a record high but this area isn’t really my interest. It did get me thinking of women in business though.

I’m a woman in business. I running a small company. I don’t think of myself unless I have something about woman in business to frame it against. I have two daughters who are entering the work force and have interests in particular career fields. As a mom, I want them to have the freedom to pursue whatever their career interests become so, in that mindset I would like to see the Fortune 500 list expand to include more women and more diversity with women.

Aspirations to make the Fortune 500 list is not my desire today, but I do like being in business for myself. I enjoy being my own boss and doing the deciding. Contributing my community through my investment in creative reuse the way I envision it is gratifying. I love marrying the less likely but more importantly connective nature of creating and recycling. I like how it connects kids to their ideas, families with each other and communities together.

I’d like to share the being my own boss-experience without all the paperwork that goes with being a boss. I want to connect other women with their desire to lead their own paths.

Working on the next steps for CReATE STUDIO includes women in communities across our counties ( we border two here) and beyond. I don’t need to be on someone else’s list of women, I want to build a list of women to create with me.

This journey is just beginning. The lists I am making now will help me have the list of women I am envisioning.

This blob starts an ongoing series around women in business. Monthly I’ll share about women I know and women I meet. This is part of my process for creating.

Jemma W.
Founder & Owner