At first glance, I knew this store was special. It’s environmentally friendly as well as a place where people can buy recycled material for crafts, projects, or whatever they want for a good price. I was given the task to come up with my own project utilizing items from the store. There was so much to choose from, and after walking up and down the aisles countless times I came up with the idea of making a 3D garden. This is different for me considering that any other time I make art I spend most of my time doodling, or sketching, and mostly NOT doing anything 3D or sculpture-like. I also haven’t done much gardening in my free time but I do enjoy looking at flowers and sitting in a nice back yard on a cool day. The idea of relaxing was also a big part of this project because I wanted it to symbolize peace and calm since humans as a race tend to be really stressed nowadays. Hopefully, looking at what I created will make people feel a little calmer. I wanted to create something that would stimulate people to think of this when they see my project as well as give myself a challenge by creating more 3D pieces than I am used to.
With this imagery in mind I decided to make a “Dream Garden.” I wanted it to be some place where people could imagine themselves going to relieve their minds. I also wanted it to be a bit extravagant, hence calling it a “dream,” because it’s not an everyday garden. So, to complete that, I decided to include many different flowers, a picket fence, an array of trees, and a coy pond. The coy pond is really special because coy are supposed to represent balance for the universe which adds to realizing that image. To add a pinch of fun, I created a swing for the garden.
I used paper for much of this project, such as the grass, the pond, the cobblestones, and the trees. I used cardboard for the picket fence, part of the swing, and the base. I also used a wide range of materials from the “RandomRoom,” like a park bench and fake mini roses, amongst other items.
So, in all this, “Dream Garden” is really much more than a garden. It is a representation of peace and calm, as well as fun and cool. It represents my challenge to do something I rarely do by creating a piece that I didn’t draw, but sculpted.
Other than creating my project I also had real work to complete, and everyday held a different task for me to accomplish. My day depended on store demand, like what items needed to be sorted and stocked first based on what donations we received. I finished many tasks including folding fabric, separating paper and beads, and arranging merchandise within the store to make it more appealing and easy for customers to look through. I even helped with preparing for workshops. For example, I aided in sanding squares of wood for participants to use more safely so they wouldn’t get splinters.
I also received the opportunity to share my thoughts on my time here with my fellow peers at Steppingstones. Complete with posters as my visuals, I presented what I did and how this job changed my life. Fortunately, I was able to share a positive experience about how I became more environmentally conscious, how I became aware of more organizational skills, and how I developed a knack for being able to separate things more efficiently.
If there was anything I learned from my time here it was definitely how to be on my feet more and obtain an organized space. I also got a lot better at folding fabric. Also, very importantly, another thing that I learned a lot more about are environmental hazards and how to be more conscious of the choices I make for the world. For example, many people, including myself, tend to throw away a lot of things that we don’t even know can be reused or recycled, like batteries or light bulbs, or even old clothes. Yet, we don’t know where to go or have a place to put them. Being at the Resource Exchange gave me a better understanding of more recyclable materials, and what to do with them so the world could be a little greener.
In all, my experience here was one I won’t forget. All the people here were nice and accepting, and they created a wonderful work environment, as well as gave thoughtful lessons that I will take with me in the future. For this I am forever grateful for the time I was graciously given to work here.