Trashmagination Goals for 2014

My plan for Trashmagination in 2013 was to understand possible ways that creative re-use could become a bigger part of my life. It was a year filled with research, organizing and soul searching, but not too much hands-on experimentation. 2014 is going to be about making things real.

For 2014, I have two goals currently underway, and two that will depend on life in the next few months.

Goal #1 – Become a certified Weaving A Life instructor

Last summer, I met Susan Barrett Merrill on one of my green lifestyle tours and I loved how her method of communal weaving created a magical afternoon. I want to do that, and definitely while using recycled materials. Susan is also a life coach, and I could use that in my life as I try to wrap my arms around Trashmagination. So I have just started weekly coaching sessions with her for the next four months.

Already in one week, coaching with Susan has helped me gain focus. Besides coming up with this plan, I have totally reorganized my working area, taking away project materials that just get me day dreaming and leaving only the items I need to complete these goals in the near term. The cleaner space also reduces my stress dramatically.

I am not sure what form this will take in the long run. But I love Susan’s approach, weaving, the idea of weaving trash and I hope I can share this with groups in whatever forum makes sense as time passes.

Goal #2 – Have a table at the Maker Faire in Reston on March 16

I loved attending three Maker Faires last year, and was over-the-moon excited when I found out that the local Maker Space was hosting one in my own town this March. It’s destiny!!!

The main reason I want to have a table at this Maker Faire is to gather feedback from people in my community about what they would love to happen here related to creative re-use. I’m going to have a bunch of clipboards (made from recycled materials) asking a bunch of questions and encouraging people to sign up if they would like to be notified about when a certain creative reuse opportunity comes up. Basically, I suffer from “too-many-dreams” and could use some narrowing based on the energy of my community.

I also want to find people who want to take this journey with me. While I have a ton of energy, I am a huge believer in diversity of brains. Also, when I interact with eager people, it’s like adding fire to fuel.

At the Trashmagination table, we’ll have two activities – making butterflies from milk jug plastic and my trademark “caperpillar” craft. I love both these crafts because they appeal to the brain that likes to be told exactly what to do, and they also appeal to the brain who wants to do something unexpected. I am somewhat obsessed with this fact – that people are afraid, and you overcome people’s fear either by giving them structure or taking it all away. I want to be able to nimbly do that in every circumstance.

The creative reuse children’s activities are fun, but making kids’ crafts is not my goal. They are meant to be bees for honey – i.e. attract people to the table so I can get their feedback, and keep the kids busy long enough for caregivers to interact.

A side benefit of the Maker Faire is that it might force me to come up with a look-and-feel for Trashmagination materials, although if it doesn’t come together for March, that’s okay. Bob had a great idea to make pass-out cards from cereal box cardboard, rubber stamped with my URL. I don’t know if it is necessary to have a whole designed postcard or even a branded sign. As long as I have something basic for now.

Besides the children’s activities, I will also display a variety of Trashmagination items so people get the idea that this is not just for kids.

Inspiring signs at Crazy as a Loom in Hudson Falls, New York

Inspiring signs at Crazy as a Loom in Hudson Falls, New York

To Be Determined Trashmagination Goals

Originally, these goals were for sure. But something wonderful happened this week, which is that I have been accepted to attend the Innovation Engineering Black Belt program in February. I have been asking to attend this training for more than a year, but for a variety of reasons, it was not practical until now. I am so excited but I am also nervous, because if you do this right, it’s like doing a masters program in a few months. I have my masters in Journalism, and that took two years, so I have some idea the stress I am going to experience this spring.

However, I think these goals are solid and would be awesome at moving along my Trashmagination journey.

Goal #3 – Start a Trashmagination Youtube channel

In our family, the television is only turned on for the old folks, and only for a few shows, mostly British. I’m seeing my kids curled up with the iPad wherever it feels most comfy. I have lost myself a few times in DIY Youtube channels such as Working Class Foodies and Beat Making Lab. A Youtube channel is the obvious choice for Trashmagination because:

  • I love teaching – all ages, all levels. But I don’t like teaching the same thing over and over, so this allows me to teach once, teach many.
  • I have made many instructional videos for work that get a great response from my colleagues for the humor injected into what could be dull software training. Time to teach something interesting!
  • One of the first products I want to make is kits with a link to a video. If you bought the kit on Etsy, you could go watch the video on trashmagination.com. In the future, Bob suggested that when I open my creative reuse center, there would be a option where you pick up your kit and a tablet, then find a comfy spot to make your item. I like this idea because while I love teaching in a class setting, I know it doesn’t suit some learning styles such as introverts, people would want a “quick rewind,” people who need to step out to deal with something – like a nursing mom or someone working with a child with autism.
  • I need a vehicle for people to get to know me and my passion for Trashmagination. I want to be in people’s minds so that when they see an opportunity related to creative re-use, they think of me. While the blog was a good first step, I think many people don’t like to read and want to be “edutained” with a video. Plus I am this unusual person, with all my quirky ways of teaching, and that could be more clear in video.
  • I have basic video editing skills, so I know I can get started on my own, and I look forward to getting more sophisticated in that area. Plus I have Bob who has an excellent eye for improving story lines / video structure.

Goal #4 – Run a Trashmagination summer camp for kids for one week

I like this project because it has a real deadline. Deadlines are very good at squeezing stuff out of me – like Halloween results in great recycled costumes. Would I make a costume just any old month? Nope, but every October I make a great costume.

I have taught creative recycling classes with kids through the Family Nature Summit, but not for a whole week. I have a vision for this class that the things we make will be recycled – yes – but also useful. Nora attended a great art camp last summer where most of the projects were made from recycled materials. But most of those projects have since been photographed, taken apart and recycled because they were not useful. I think people know when they are making something that will be tossed. And we need to make some things of that caliber because we are learning. I actually enjoy taking apart old projects that are below my abilities now. I may keep a few, but most need to be ripped apart and re-used.

The ideal projects would also possibly help someone. How does it change the dynamic for a person when they are making something that helps someone? I think it adds this wonderful layer of thinking outside of yourself. Here’s a wonderful example. Veronika Scott did a design project in school. Her goal was to make a coat that could become a sleeping bag and also a self-contained bag. Then a person living on the street could get a single item that transforms to their needs in the moment. Now Veronika runs The Empowerment Plan, which hires people from the street to sew the coats.

What could we make from recycled materials that would help a group in Reston? When Veronika was figuring out her project, she came from that place – what could I make that would help people? I have made catnip mice from upholstery scraps, but I don’t have a long list of projects that fulfill this requirement yet. But as I said, that might be stage 2 – let’s start by just making things that are useful to the maker.

I have a lead on a place that would like me to lead such a camp, but they need to figure out whether that makes sense for them. If that doesn’t work out, I could find another location, and perhaps offer it during a week when most other camps are over for the summer – the week before school starts. I know every year we struggle to find a place for our kids that week, so I bet a lot of other families will be in that same boat even after registering for the majority of their camps. So I don’t have to figure this out immediately. Even if we just had 10 kids who were our friends, that would be a great place for me to develop my ideas & try new things.

So those are my Trashmagination goals for 2014! I look forward to blogging as they proceed!

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