Life has a distinct habit of taking over sometimes and the past few weeks have been an excellent example of that. Our island now has a brand new and very shiny community shop ‘Waste Not Want Not’ as part of its ambitions towards zero waste. It has rather hijacked my life but in the best possible way. It has me working with new people and making new friends. It has me waking in the night to sketch the next design for the window display and it has me irritating my daughter as I cut up labels from cereal packets as she is trying to watch her favourite television programme. Perfect!
This is all evidence indeed that I have rather fallen in love. I admit to being a creature who falls in love quite easily but this latest passion has real potential. As the shop begins to weave its magic into the community a lovely lady passing by on her horse stops briefly to ask whether a chest of drawers is for sale. Transaction completed, she and her adorable horse walk on. Inside the shop, after some very intensive days, we created something rather wonderful. I am not sure any of us working on the project believed that this could be achieved and as the creation took shape the voices dropped to a whisper just in case we disturbed the magic.
From people’s waste we have created the most elegant of shops that evokes an immediate sense of love as you step over the threshold. Every item in the shop has its own story but somehow we managed to create a classic epic that knows no boundaries. When we opened the sun dutifully shined and the people came. Holiday makers commented on how fitting the shop is in an island community and islanders just stood and stared. Every day the stock changes as an emerging well oiled team process donations and second chance items before placing them in the perfect spot. New members are signed up every hour as the Eco Savvy group continues to grow and new faces are welcomed behind the counter.
My favourite stories derive from the various upcycled items we have adorning our shelves. As curtains are made into quilts and cushions, credit cards are cut up to make earrings. Pillowcases are used to make our very own Eco Savvy bag that we hope will sweep the island finally riding us of plastic carrier bags. Needle cases, tea cup pincushions and beautiful candles on vintage tea plates give the shop an air of times gone by. My mother and I have told our story through our Make Do and Mend quilts that we have made in tribute to our mother and grandmother Ella Stevenson who can read about HERE. Encouraging a culture of reusing and upcycling is something that binds our little community together and I think we would all be thrilled if this message spread right round the island and beyond.
Despite all the creativity and elegance it is the people that I love the most. Our personalities are all different but our uniqueness means that we all bring bundles to the project. This new shop will thrive with community spirit and commitment behind it and early days suggests that this is indeed on the horizon. Our new horizon on the island establishes a ‘green model’ of operating that could be useful in every corner of the world. Bringing people together to actively engage with our terrifying waste problems is one of the most pressing agendas of the modern world.
So, as the fledgling ‘Waste Not Want Not’ community shop takes its first gentle footprints on our precious island we are smiling. Do smile with us…..
Speak soon xx