This month we cast our proverbial Spotlight on Plastics and some of the various forms they comes to us in. Plastics, in their unending variety of forms make’s them a popular material source in our reuse line-up.
We’ll spend the month exploring plastics, how they are made, how they are recycled, what we are making with them, what artists make and their history too.
You can follow along our curious journey through our weekly newsletter, which you can sign up for on our contact page.
I love learning about new things, or leaning new details about common things. Just today I learned that plastics have been around a lot longer that I realized in manmade forms like bakelite jewelry from the early 1900’s. Plastics were drawn from nature years earlier from the sappy gum of Rubber Trees in the Rain Forest.
Plastics have been a means to do good in the world of product making. Durability and reuse have been focuses as our world has expanded, so have it’s uses. Many plastic uses have leaned toward convenience, take the plastic water bottle for example. Convenience items tend to be more lightweight, single use and disposable. That’s where the value of plastic gets difficult, and how plastic litter pollutes our oceans. This awareness is inspiring and demanding change. We’ll explore that too.
I look forward to sharing creative projects and interesting discoveries with you this month. Let’s get this plastic journey started, learning something new with National Geographic’s Plastics 101.
Founder & Owner
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Aesop
Here we are nearing the end of a challenging year, though whoever said it wouldn’t be?
Many of our lives have changed dramatically to say the least, mine included. I am learning though, in my mid-life stage that challenges, obstacles and issues nudge me, ok, sometimes push me in good new directions.
I am thankful to be pursuing a new path with CReATE STUDIO, using everything I already have. Turns out, I have plenty to pivot a new way.
Thank you for welcoming our change and being part of amazing community we serve.
I hope this years thankful time connects you to the direction you’re meant to go with the people you love around in person and spirit. Good things await there.
Light Up Your Holidays.
We’re so excited to be partnering with CMATO to connect contemporary art with everyone through our Family Art Day collaborations. We share a common passion make art accessible to everyone.
We have another date set for virtual art fun inspired by their upcoming Defining Beauty exhibit and the gift of giving this holiday season. Mark your calendar for Saturday, December 12th from 2-3pm for a Zoom session in the spirit of giving.
Make one, Give One. With our day light hours getting shorter and our evenings getting longer we welcome lantern light. Let’s make one to keep and one to share. During our Family Art Day session you can make two glass and paper lanterns, one to give and one to keep using a few basic recycled materials you have at home.
Make it a family affair. You can light up your holidays and register for our Family Art Day at cmato.org. Be sure to learn more about their featured contemporary artists while you are there. A list of materials to gather for our Make One, Give One event will be provided upon registration.
I look forward to creating with you and your family.
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