Category Archives: reuse

Out of the mouths of babes.

Wise words from a six year old.

You know the changes in the world are big when a six year old talks about them. Lyle’s dad told me a story about how she likes to create at home. She reuses everything she can get her hands on. Lyle stopped her dad on a trip to the recycling can recently asking for the box he was holding. She said “reusing a box means one less piece of trash and one more piece of art”.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. I love that Lyle is aware of the bigger picture and, where things really go.
Perhaps that’s the next layer of conversation we can all start having with kids. The next time you take the recycling out for disposal you can tell your kids about where things go from there.
Waste Management has a Recycling Plant and Landfill right in our community. They process the trash we throw away and the recycling we pass along. From there, recycling collections may go to an MRF -Material Recovery Facility to get to more specific destinations.
There is a buzz the final steps for items like cardboard specifically, there is just too much out there. Talking a page from Lyle’s book and reusing everyday recyclables is a great way to help shift our habits at home. Make art not trash!

Reuse inspires nostalgia

The other day a gentleman was walking past our studio and stopped to look in. Our reuse style seemed to inspire him. He looked around for a few minutes taking it in as he drew himself to the counter where we have our giant ball of masking tape on display.
He told me a story about being a boy in Los angeles during World War Two and how during that time there was a competition with the families in his neighborhood about who could make the biggest aluminum foil ball. They were all was saving every scrap of foil they could find to add to their balls, even gum wrappers. That memory brought a few more that he shared about that time so long ago. He said he hadn’t thought about any of those things so long. It was seeing the tape ball that brought it all back. We were both inspired by what seeing our tape ball triggered. Nostalgia is funny like that, it rides on the wings of subtle things like something baking in the oven a song that’s playing in a store. Even a funny tape ball can do it taking us both back to a moment in time where saving things was a thing.
I loved seeing his memories unfold. Hearing them was like going back in time.

Mother Earth

Last year I started our monthly Spotlight on 12 material genres we reuse at the studio and some areas to explore about them. We explore what we’re do with them, what local artists are doing with them, where they come from and whether they’re recyclable or not.
As we’ve queried each month I’ve been getting more curious about the materials thinking about how they are produced and only recently, what their origins are.
I was surprised that I hadn’t known the very beginning of where plastics come from. I knew that they are largely man-made but there had to be a beginning. I discovered that they are often made from oil that is extracted from the deep recesses of the ocean and land. Oh my! I think of how much is made of plastic in our day to day lives and further how much is made for single uses like various plastic packagings, zip-loc baggies, utensils, water bottles and on and on. That’s a lot of oil to benefit all of us people. It’s left me thinking that I can do more, we can all do more by at least using things more than once and with care.
I know there is so much to do to cut down initial uses all together but I am thinking of the uses we have already in our lives as we we shop.
Thoughtfulness is a beginning, being aware of the origins of things from our beautiful earth, she always gives with love and the very least we can do is appreciate and relish the gifts she shares. A tin can comes from metal that is mined, a can has so many reuse possibilities-if nothing else it’s a pencil holder.
In our consumerism we forget to do what Marie Condo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up does and inspires in us, to thank and bless the things we have while we have them. We can be proactive by finding ways to use then reuse them before they must pass on. Marie uses shoe boxes with out the lids to organize drawers. This use concern isn’t just about plastics, or any other material genre we focus on, its about all the materials that are intended for single or temporary use. Try reuse at home, if you have a box, make it a play thing or use it to organize or share it with a friend who may be moving.
The things we have, are gifts while we have them. Let’s thank our Mother Earth for always giving to us with open arms. We can show appreciation with our mindful uses. At the studio we reuse things to make art, sharing a piece of ourselves with the word. Art makes the world more beautiful, that’s a great way of saying thanks.

Great idea!

Loving this clear carry-all tote.
As Dr Wayne Dyer once said, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.”
I think that includes plastic bedding package sleeves.

Cleaning up

I got a 4Ocean bracelet in the mail the other day. Selling bracelets is how they fund their ocean clean-ups. I first saw their story on instagram and followed their story from there. They use a simple model to address a really big problem-trash on our oceans, most of it being plastic.
I see how litter happens, seems innocent enough to drop something unbeknownst to you and there it sits, perilously close to a gutter drain (which drains to a lake or ocean). I walk my dog a number of times of day and see trash along the way during every walk. I feel responsible for picking it up and I am, I want to be an action taker. If the noticer doesn’t do something who will? We are the change we wish to see when we see. 4 oceans is out there on the high seas picking up other peoples trash but I don’t think they mind it in a sense. They have purpose and intent and they are creating change for our oceans and sea life and inspiring people like me. It’s the ripple effect. One good turn turns to another and another.
To learn about 4Oceans and their bracelet for a pound of trash plan check them out and let the good vibes that come with taking some action inspire you.

4oceans.com

Make this!

We made used CD Button Spinners at MATES STEAM Night for super simple fun in motion! You can drop-in to the studio and make one with us or try it at home.
All you need is:
a CD with a 2 or 4 hole button hot-glued to the center
then string the lace through 2 holes in the button and tie.
Hold the looped string halfway on each side of the spinner and wind up by turning the CD so the string twists then pull each side of the sting out, then gently pushing the string in over and over to keep the motion going kind of like a yo-yo!
*Decorate the CD with paint or sharpie markers to create a more colorful effect.

Pinspiration

I have recently been inspired to reconfigure our Pinterest account to align with our Spotlight attention on twelve different material genres each month that focus on we have and use at the studio.
Pinterest is a fantastic resource tool I find myself turning to often. As a virtual “pin board” it allows me to keep a paperless connection to all of what would otherwise be “tear sheets” (as my dad used to call them during his Illustrating days). My dad had a huge collection of magazine and book page inspiration that he used as a go-to resource library of sorts which is exactly what Pinterest is!
Our spotlighted boards allow us to collect and share ideas and ways to reuse things that would otherwise be thought of as cast-offs by many.
This month we are Spotlighting Yarn and String at the studio. Check out our Pinterest Board of the same name to see what we make with yarn at the studio, what artists make with yarn, how it is being “recycled”, as well as where it comes from and other interesting things to know about yarn and string. As the month wares on our board will surely grow with ideas galore about this creative medium and it’s extensive reuse options. I am so excited!

Spotlighting Yarns

As we Spotlight Yarns (and String) this month we wonder, Is yarn or string recyclable?
When we searched, we found that there is awareness about yarn and the concept of recycling with websites that sell recycled yarn , we haven’t found current information that yarn can be recycled at a recycling plant so lets keep re-creating with it at the studio! We’ve also got a fun resource of ways to reuse yarn on our Pinterest account. Check out our Spotlight on Yarn page for inspirations.

Scatter Joy.


I had read “the life changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo and just finished watching her series “Tidying up with Marie Kondo on Netflix.
I had gotten a lot out of the book when I read it but I got even more from watching the show! There is a very important message for me in her tidying up method and the sensibilities that go along with it that are about sparking joy. She was so creative in developing her method for connecting with joy.
For years I have had a vision board I made with a piece of a card that says scatter joy. I realize after watching the show that that message was an underlying piece of creating the studio for me- to scatter a little joy in people by enabling them to be present and to create what they are sparked through inspiration to do. Marie’s message about sparking joy is really special. It’s wrapped up in gratitude, in appreciating what you already have and in seeing the value of it. It’s loving what you have that helps you love where you live. Those are the kinds of things I have been personally striving for for years. Being grateful for what you have has a space at create studio, Creating can be such a close connection to joy and loving what you make is a wonderful feeling. Those creations go home. Sometimes they stay a while and sometimes they are parted with but all that really matters is if creating them sparked joy. Thanks to Marie, I think I will keep a little mantra in my mind at the studio and in my day to day, “scatter some joy”. Perhaps here the universe is saying spark joy through creativity. Ok!

School Projects Are Pure Gold.

Dr. Maria Montessori’s quote “Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening but by experiences in the environment” resonated with me.
I have long thought the home-assigned school project was education’s way of connecting children back to process by providing parameters that kids could explore on their terms in an environment that was outside the school setting-thereby creating space to figure out the task in their time. Now, as a parent it wasn’t always convenient or easy for me and my kids to do the project but it was a vital way, I could see, that my kids could take all the information they had collected in their minds at school and put it together in their own way. I have my daughter, Maisy’s 4th grade mission project hanging on the wall at the studio. It was a shoe box, a sheet of thick paper and a few pieces of moss, drawn out and arranged to look like a diorama. That was a project that taught both of us that value of keeping it simple. We went over the concept of creating a curve in the paper that would serve as a background and by doing so, we created the illusion of a bigger space-just like at the Natural History Museum. We worked together to plan the project but she did all the drawing. Maisy figured out the details of her project in her own process and we had the space to trouble shoot it. I imagine if I asked her she would remember making it. I still do because it was a hands-on experience with various elements to include and parameters to keep. She learned so much more than Missions during that project and I haven’t forgotten it. 
Today, we love having kids make their projects at the studio because it adds an element of fun and ease to the “to-do” of a home-assigned project that everyone (parent and child) would love to have check-marked off their to-do list. The time they spend together at CReATE, talking, planning, figuring and creating are rich beyond words. They are deep in learning which is food for the brain, and they always leave feeling a sense of achievement and pride and I like to think, a little bit of connection too. Dr. Montessori had it right, experiences in the environment are golden.
* learn more about our win/win school project program here.