Thursday, September 16, 2010

Let's Talk Trash

The first meeting of the Recycled Art Group met last night.  5 of us to start.  Not bad.

We chatted about trash, what can we do with it...threw out ideas, played with some trash I had around.


I feel energized by the creativity of the evening and I'm going to use that energy to the max.

Next meeting - we need to come up with a name for the group and we're open to all suggestions so please let me know if you have something clever.

A trashy broad

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fair Trade Futures Conference, Boston, MA

I've been in Boston for the past few days for a Fair Trade Futures conference.  My goal is to learn more about the Fair Trade market as a whole and to find new products for Idiosyncrazies.

It has been informative and inspirational at time.  Chaotic and crazy as well.  There are wonderful people that I've connected with and have learned their stories about what part of the Fair Trade pie they fit into:  Producer, wholesaler, retail, faith based organizations, importers, brokers. 

Similar to my previous occupation there are more women involved in the group than there are men, but then if you look at the history of Fair Trade and who Fair Trade supports the most, this will not surprise you.

Many of the hand made products are made by small groups of women who have been trained to make these items as a way to support themselves and learn a craft that will continue to support themselves.  It is not a welfare or a charity, it is way of empowering people to help themselves by teaching them a craft.

Not surprising to me was the link between Fair Trade and environmental groups. Many products use cruelty free, recycled, organic and eco friendly materials. 

We had a wonderful speaker this morning:  Dr. Kevin Danaher who is the co-founder of Global Exchange, one of the companies I buy Fair Trade products from.  In a clean George Carlin kind of way he gets his points across with humor and blunt honesty.  Points we've all heard before, but often forget:  "it's not about I/me, it's about us.  All of us.  The human race as opposed to any singular race.

He mentioned an idea that someone had that our congressman/women, being civil servants that they are should wear uniforms and the uniforms should be similar to the NASCAR drivers with all of the little patches representing the corporations that they represent so that we all can identify them!  I LOVE this idea. 

But one of the most interesting points he made was that we are selling two products:  the item itself and the story behind the item.  That struck a chord with me.  That is how the beginning of this blog began...with the story of how Idiosyncrazies came to be.  A dream of what I wanted it to be, a clear vision of what kind of products I wanted in my store and the people who make the products that I sell. 
Jack, Michael, Paul, Yvonne, Jeannie, Helen, Wendy, Susan, Beverly, Kim, Maribeth, Eric, Judy, Lois, Dori, Beth, Nina, Sasha and Veronika, Mary Ellen, Laura, Norma, Marge, Clayton, Anita, Abby and Abbey, Veronica, Donna...and others.  I don't just want to sell their products...I want the "story" behind it.  It helps me believe in what I am selling to my customers. 

It's not selling really - it's believing.

Fair Trade products have a lot of different stories and I've learned a few of them this weekend. 

There have been 2 markets in which some of the wholesalers and some of the direct producers have set up small samples of their products so that we can touch, feel, smell, taste and see what they are in person.  This has also been very important to me.  It's a piece of the story.

I have to laugh at this concept of selling a "story" because of a job that I had very briefly.  I was let go from that company because I could not tell the owner the story of the product I was supposed to sell.

That is because I didn't believe in it.

The stories I have now...I believe in each and every one of them!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Recycled art

On September 16th we will have our very first meeting of the Idiosyncrazies Recycled Art Group. 

I've never organized a group yet, so this is all experimental right now, but I hope it will be interesting.

The main idea is to make art out of trash. 

The concept is not new, but sometimes you just need a group of people to bounce ideas off of and have fun with it.

I hope it will be a serious group that doesn't take itself too seriously.

The plan is to meet once a month and talk trash...and what creative things we can do with it.  There have been so many things that people are starting to do with trash now that amazes me.

Terracycle is a great company.  They find all kinds of creative ways to make new products out of non-recyclable materials.  This reduces waste from landfills - which is a good thing!  They also have a series on National Geographic called Garbage Moguls which takes you through the whole process of how they make new items.  The creativity in that little company is amazing AND - they are based out of New Jersey!  (not that we have a lot of trash or anything) is a great site for consumers to go if you want to learn what you have to do to help reduce the amount of trash that goes into our landfills.

Check out what some artists have already done with trash:

Ultimately what I would like to have this group do is to learn about the medium they choose, educate others about the importance of recycling, up-cycling and reusing items that we would normally just throw away.
And finally my ultimate plan would to be to have an auction 1 or 2 times a year and the proceeds would go to a local environmental group or a local school art program.

So - if you live local and want to join our group please do.  You don't have to be an "artists" just bring some of your creative ideas and maybe some of the artists can bring it to life! 

Let's have fun with it!  Let's learn from it!  Let's create with it!


A trashy broad