When I arrived at the Zerolandfill (ZL) Cleveland site on Friday, I was pleased to walk into the biggest ZL harvest crowd I've ever seen. There was a positive energy in the air as eager harvesters listened to an explanation from ZL's founder of what ZL was about and what to expect when they entered the warehouse.
Meanwhile, volunteers inside the warehouse made sure everything was ready for the first harvest of the season. Laura was busy setting up the ZL Gallery and ZL Lab for their inaugural use. (You can read more about the ZL Gallery and the ZL Lab here.)
The ZL Gallery will be accepting donations at the next harvest on August 10th. If you've made something wonderful from ZL materials, please consider temporarily donating it to the ZL Gallery. You can donate it for the afternoon, or until the final harvest on 8/24. Let your work serve as the inspiration for other artists, students and teachers!
At noon, eager harvesters descended on the warehouse floor searching through textiles, wood, glass, and stone. Elementary teachers counted out class sets of carpet squares and crafters happily collected candy-colored glass tiles. There were several children in attendance, many with their own little tote bags for choosing treasures. I ran into my next door neighbor and her grade school-aged daughter who was excited to tell me about the quilt she was going to make from some fabric she found.
In my last post I wrote a caveat about bringing children to this event, but from where I was stationed on Friday, all of the children looked like they were staying near their parents and following directions. Here is a picture of the floor shortly after noon:
It was my intent to take more pictures throughout the afternoon, but several donations arrived and I was busy weighing and sorting. I didn't take another picture until two o'clock when I stopped to take a break just as a man was bringing in this very generous donation from American Greetings:
The boxes in the foreground and the plastic wrapped boxes on the pallet in the background contain 480 binders. ZL receives 100s of binders that are donated by designers, but most of those have the names and logos of various textile companies on them. The binders from American Greetings that I saw were all 5 inches and plain black. Since they arrived toward the end of the afternoon, very few of them were taken by harvesters. If you want to get your classroom or home office in order and need some organizational tools, get to ZL at noon on 8/10 and you should be able to help yourself to as many as you need.
My spatial relations are not the best. Clearly, I need to spend more time with these in order to create something that shows them to advantage. All of you expert Tetris players out there can probably see it right now and are cringing at my ineptitude. By all means, I'm open to suggestions.
Some other volunteers beat me to the awning fabric, so there was not as much as I thought there would be, but I did pick up a few yards for The Milk Belly Princess' teacher. She expressed interest in having more sewing projects for the children this year, which I'm really excited about. Her methods for teaching little ones to sew amaze me ( she taught The Milk Belly Princess to sew a button and do basic cross stitch) and I want to support those efforts in any way I can. Hopefully, she likes cool colors:
I'll admit, my nerdy English teacher instincts got the better of me when the font on the labels drew me to this box:
The remaining ZL Cleveland harvests this summer are from noon until three on the following Fridays:
- August 10 Pollination and Harvest
- August 17 Harvest Only
- August 24th Harvest Only
If You Go Part Two: I wrote some basic guidelines here. The following are some thoughts I want to share with you based on my most recent ZL experience. I know that stern directives delivered in bold, capital letters can seem bossy and harsh, but it is not my intent to be off-putting. Please understand that this message is being given with love and the best of intentions so ZL can be the best it can be.
1. PLEASE CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING: If you have benefitted from this organization in the past, ZL could really use your help during one of the remaining harvests this summer. It would be especially helpful if you could volunteer on August 10th because it is both a pollination and a harvest. While it is exciting to have the selection of materials replenished during harvest times, this means volunteers are needed to take in donations AND organize the selection on the floor. On Friday we were a little short handed to start and really short on helpers at the end of the afternoon. Volunteers are allowed in early. However,with this privilege comes the understanding that at noon you will stop your personal shopping and pitch in for the duration of your shift. If you are interested in volunteering (truly helping, not "helping"--you know the difference--the way you want people to assist you when you move as opposed to what your toddler does for you in the kitchen) send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. RESPECT THE YELLOW LINE: Like I said, the event on August 10th is both a pollination and a harvest. This means that donors will be dropping off their samples at the same time harvesters are selecting their materials. Designers will drop off their donations on the far side of a bright yellow line where they will be weighed and sorted before being put out for harvesters on the other side of the yellow line. ZL takes pride in being able to share the number of pounds of material it keeps out of landfills, therefore, ALL ZL DONATIONS MUST BE CHECKED IN AND WEIGHED BEFORE THEY CAN BE HARVESTED. Items will be brought to the harvest area when they are ready. Standing on the yellow line and asking about materials that still need to be weighed slows down the volunteers. If you are truly worried about missing something and want to see everything that comes through the door, please see item #1.
3. YOUR STASH = YOUR BUSINESS: Keep all of the items you plan to take with you by your side at all times in your own labeled reusable bags, boxes or a wagon (but remember, there are stairs). If you find that you have too many items to carry or keep track of, take a load out to your car, then return and browse some more. There is no guarantee that items you place "off to the side" will be there when you return. Chances are, if you see something amazing, then walk away from it, someone else will think it's amazing too.
4. BYO-B(and-Aids): I learned this the hard way last week when I was looking through the tile, slipped and fell. Since I left my kids at home, I did not have my "mom purse" with me and I was completely unprepared. Fortunately, Kate, one of my fellow BAYarts teachers, was able to help me out, but next time I might not be so lucky.
I know there are potential ZL harvesters out there reading this who still aren't sure about coming because they want to know more about what it's like. Do any other volunteers or harvesters have any advice to share? I'd love to read it.