A Message from Ann: November 2013

Dear Friends,

It’s great to be back at The Scrap Exchange after my sabbatical. What did I do with my two months off? I’m proud to say that my main focus was making art. And also slowing down and valuing and appreciating every day.

The main lesson I came away with is that making art with other people is immensely valuable and empowering. It deepens relationships and creates community. It helps you discover new ideas and ways to innovate and explore. It helps you move forward in your life and work through important issues by going through the artistic process.

There is a reason the word craft means “power” in some languages.

I also learned the importance of staying focused and not trying to do everything all at once, and I will be working to keep these lessons in mind now that I’m back here at my job.

A great big thank you to Operations Manager Phoebe Brush, Board President Margaret McNab, Finance Manager Rebecca Currie, and all of the other staff and board members who made the sabbatical possible, and who kept things running smoothly in my absence. (And also to Melinda Wiggins of Student Action for Farmworkers for setting a great example for us all on the importance of sabbaticals and how organizations can craft policies to make them work.)

Thank you all!!!

And of course things kept moving along here while I was away, and everything is going full blast!

We have lots of advocacy going on — Daniel Bagnell, our program manager for collections and design, has joined the board of NCDENR’s statewide Environmental Stewardship Initiative (www.ncesi.org), a program focused on helping businesses achieve goals related to sustainability.

We’ve been partnering with businesses for more than 22 years, and have recently launched our Partners in Reuse program, in order to deepen relationships with businesses that are interested making a difference. Early adopters include AW North Carolina, Clear Vue Glass, and Craven Allen House of Frames. Do you work for a company that wants to reduce waste and make resources available to the community? Contact Daniel at “collections” ([at] scrapexchange [dot] org) for more information on how you can participate.

We are also hosting a group of citizens committed to reducing waste in our city — Don’t Waste Durham is meeting regularly, and concentrating on educating the public about alternatives to plastic bags and stryofoam packaging in restaurants and at food trucks. Let me know if you want more info, all are welcome to attend!

And it’s that special time of year coming up, where we celebrate the holiday season by … breaking things!

Yes, our third annual Smashfest will be held on its usual day, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. We’ll have music, fire, and ceramics for sale … to be taken home and treasured forever … or to be hurled against the concrete wall in the parking lot outside our front door and broken into a million pieces.

This is truly a unique event, and great fun for the whole family, especially if you have visitors from out of town. Come show them what Durham is all about!

As an added bonus this year, we’re very excited to have received funding from the North Carolina Arts Council to develop programming around this event, in collaboration with mosaic artist Jeannette Brossart. We’ll be working to expand audiences for arts and cultural activities and to engage the community with workshops and other events using Scrap Exchange materials, including Smashfest remains. So look for that to be happening over the next few months.

And of course it’s Third Friday again, with a new gallery show and reception on Friday, November 15. This month’s show is a Form and Function Design show — come and see what artists and craftspeople have done with reused and reusable materials to make everyday objects sustainable and artistic.

Also remember us if you’re starting to think about holiday shopping — we’re increasing inventory in the Artists’ Marketplace, and it is a GREAT PLACE to shop LOCALl! We’ve also built up our stock of fun kits made from Scrap Exchange materials — Create a Canoe, Make a Tiara, Be a Scientist. Check out the full line in the store!

And as usual, we have lots of classes and FREE community sewing and knitting available too … you will probably see me there! Making art!! With other people!!!

With much love,

Ann May Woodward Executive Director The Scrap Exchange

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