Last year I volunteered at one of the August pollination shifts for Zerolandfill (ZL) and wrote about it here. At that point in the season there were already stacks and stacks of donated materials in the warehouse. During that shift, my primary job was sorting and stacking a very generous fabric donation from the daughter of an interior designer who recently passed away. I did not see the dramatic difference in the contents of the warehouse before and after the first pollination. Walking into an empty room and leaving when it was full of tons of materials like Laura and I did last Friday was a very different experience
One after the other, cars and vans arrived full of donated materials. They were sorted, weighed and taken to different areas of the warehouse. One of my first jobs was carrying stacks of weighed glass to the glass table. As I write this, there are HUNDREDS of 12 x 12 inch pieces of glass in need of new homes. Some of it is plain, but some is striped and even polka dotted. I wish I could think of a use for the polka dotted glass but, alas, I cannot.
Along with the expected swatches of upholstery fabric, yards of outdoor awning material were among Friday's donations. I snagged a couple of pieces of this to reupholster two tired looking patio chairs. Here is a picture of the fabric--isn't it cheerful?
I'm not sure about the polka dots, but I know there is more of the striped fabric, at least enough to cover the seats of a couple of cafe chairs, if any of you are interested.
We were really busy processing new donations at ZL last Friday so I did not have a lot of time to select my own materials. My selections happened furtively in between running loads of fabric, wallpaper, glass and tile to their locations in the warehouse. However, in addition to the awning fabric, I did grab a few more things that caught my eye. Two large swatches of this fun fabric were already serged around the edges, so I grabbed them to use as placemats for my girls:
In the hot summer months we are perpetually drinking glass after glass of ice water at Casa de Costello and our four coasters are forever missing from the living room after being taken for use on bedroom nightstands. As I was sorting carpet samples, I found these industrial strength, rubber-backed discs, and decided they would be perfect.
I thought long and hard about whether to take these because I wasn't sure what I would do with them. Then I decided that between the two tables I wanted to tile and the work I wanted to do on my (dare I call it a studio? "supply pit" seems crass) work space, they would find a good home.
While I spent my time last week lifting, carrying and sorting, Laura was hard at work on two new features of ZL: the ZL Gallery and the ZL Lab. The ZL Gallery is a place where anyone who has created something with ZL materials can show off their work or that of their students. The purpose of the ZL Gallery is for creative people to share and inspire others with their creations. Items can be brought to ZL during harvest times and left for the duration of your harvest experience or this summer's entire ZL season. Items that are not picked up by 3PM on the final harvest date (8/24) will become the property of ZL. All items submitted to the ZL Gallery must be accompanied by a complete entry form. The form is quick and easy to fill out with a few questions about what the item is made of and how it was created.
The ZL Lab is a place to see how different ZL materials work with different tools and media so when you leave the site you know they will work as anticipated with your personal or classroom tools and media. The materials at the ZL Lab are divided into four categories containing the following items for you to experiment with:
Cutting: school scissors, Exacto knife, coping saw, utility blade and drill
Gluing: paste, glue stick, white glue, duct tape, hot glue, rubber cement
Applying Color: crayon, Crayola marker, Sharpie, acrylic paint, watercolor paint, tempera paint, colored pencils, ink pads.
Fiber Arts: fabric shears, regular sewing needle and thread, tapestry needle and yarn, iron
Please understand that the ZL Lab is a work station manned by art teachers willing to offer their professional expertise about media and tools. It is not free babysitting nor is it a place for you or your children to complete "make it and take it" crafts. (In other words, you can visit the ZL Lab to see what kinds of cutting materials work well with laminate, but you cannot complete your entire bird house, picture frame etc, at the lab. )
If you go:
- ZL Cleveland is located at 4750 East 131st Street in Garfield Heights. The harvest times this season are from 12-3 on the following Fridays: 7/27, 8/10, 8/17 and 8/24. Arrive on time, but not early. Last year the doors did not open until noon. You will see people entering between 11:15 and noon, but those are volunteers. If you are a few minutes early, form an orderly line at the door.
- Be prepared to get dirty. This event is held in a warehouse at what is essentially the county dump. While the donated materials are clean, the space is not. (After kneeling to sort fabric for about five minutes my knees were black.) Wear old clothes and close-toed shoes. Bring gardening or work gloves if you're interested in tile, stone, brick or glass.
- Think carefully about whether or not you should bring your children. I have nothing against children. In fact, I say this as the mother of two little kids, one of whom is a bit wily. This event is held in a big, dirty warehouse full of potentially sharp and heavy materials. There is no one available to watch your children except YOU (the ZL Lab is staffed by and for use by adults). There are some children who have a great time at ZL. They stay close to their parents, follow the rules and delight in choosing craft materials. There are others who run amok and create potentially dangerous situations. Please, know which kind of kid you have, what kind of day they are having and make your decision accordingly.
- Bring provisions. There is A LOT to look at. You don't want dehydration to bust up your good time, so bring a water bottle. If you decide to bring your children with you, bring some snacks (and wipes to use before handling the snacks--see item #2).
- Supply your own boxes and bags. Most of the boxes we received last week are being used to store donations. While there seemed to be several empty boxes at the end of last Friday's pollination, those will be needed by ZLF if more donations are received this week. While you can bring some sort of wagon or dolly to take heavy items to your car, there is a small staircase from the entrance to the warehouse floor, so you will need to negotiate that.
- Be courteous. Materials are available for free on a first come, first serve (and self-serve) basis. If you see something that you like or believe would be useful to you, take what you need, but don't hoard.
- Don't judge the other harvesters. Saying "I teach" or "I need this for my business" as a means of talking someone out of something you want implies that you are somehow more important than they are. Everyone believes they have a worthy purpose for the available materials--they wouldn't take them if they didn't.
- Be flexible. This year the International Interior Design Association is in charge of Zerolandfill. In other words, it is under new management and, consequently, you might notice some things that are different. Remember what it was like when you were newly in charge of something? Remember how unhelpful it was for oldtimers to tell you how "this wasn't how we did it last year"? The group from IDA has done a phenomenal job organizing tons of donations in a short time. Be supportive. Introduce yourself and tell them what a great job they're doing.