Inspired by our focus on natural things for November, I recently recalled a bit of charming poetry I had leaned in seventh grade, memorizing it as a monologue for my drama class.
Trees by Joyce Kilmer has stayed with me all of these years. I thought it would be fitting and fun to share with you in the spirit of nature and the majesty of trees. Many of the natural materials we use stem from trees.
Enjoy, Joyce Kilmer’s Trees.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Poem credit: Poetry Foundation
This month CReATE STUDIO Spotlights Natural Things; little cast-off treasures from nature we find around us everyday.
As a child I enjoyed the simplicity of a twig or fallen flower. I imagine you did too. I think that joy still lives within us. If we are inclined to notice the things nature leaves for us the joy comes back.
Pinecones are the obvious awe. To our eyes they are favored as fall decor, make cute little owls or even have been know to be dressed up as a pineapple! Twigs, spray from fallen branches that are so fun to gather for fairy homes, forts or in baskets by front doors.
Acorns look sweet, collected in a bowl or as a cap to a little gnome.
If we look closer we notice the symmetry, detail and, subtle colors of these natural wonders- too good to throw away or rake up. They inspire us still with their beauty and potential.
This month we spotlight natural things as natures art material. We look at how they are used in art, how they are recycled, how they impact our planet and what we, at CReATE make with them.
You can sign up for our newsletter and follow us on instagram to follow along. Let’s get caught up in curiosity together.
I have been exploring post-consumer packaging this month with an emphasis on Cardboard. Through the studio I strive to be a part of the recycling solution we need in our community and our world. Our human impact weighs on the planet so here we can explore changing that through small actions like creating with recycled material, buying reusable products and, products that have already been made from recycled materials.
As I wrap up the Spotlight on Cardboard, I have explored companies that produce products from recycled or natural materials like All Birds who is B Certified, and makes all array of shoes ( we have received some of their shoe boxes as donations) and Pratt Industries who uses recycled materials to make Home Depot’s Cardboard boxes. I use those boxes when I buy new for our Cardboard Doll Houses. calrecycles.gov offers resources to Californians, with a Recycled Product Manufacturer’s directory so consumers can look for products made from recycled materials. B Corps like All Birds are companies follow rigorous environmental and ethical standards through brands they sell, we know and love.
We’ll keep creating the way we do; helping kids and families connect to their creativity through the creative reuse of recycled materials. I’ll continue to provide food for thought as I share about recycling, reuse, the impacts we face as a planet our Spotlight program as I explore the materials we reuse throughout the year.
Taking a look at Cardboard this month has felt scratching the surface of a great big world. The story will continue I am sure.
Next month I will explore the natural things around us. We reuse the gifts nature leaves behind like pinecones, twigs and leaves. Until then, let’s create!
I am a fan of documentaries. I especially enjoy films about the planet and our environments. Netflix recently released David Attenborough’s A Life On Our Planet so I had to watch. It was humbling. He is a truth teller.
I wont’ give anything away here but the film did remind me in a sense of what I have been blogging about the last few weeks; recycling, packaging, and the over abundance of it all and more.
I highly recommend watching it. Have a family conversation afterward.
I was reminded about the part we can play here on earth among the many things we do and live by. We are so lucky to still have choices.
We can start small by
reusing a cardboard box, eating a vegan meal, planting a garden or tree, buying package free, reuse…
The time is now and the place is here.
Photo credit: Netflix
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 how2recycle.info, corrugatedrecycles.org and sfiprogram.org. 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.
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.
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.
Founder & Owner
*Photo credit: Jeenah Moon/ The New York Times / Article by Colin Moynihan
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.
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.
“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!