Building community is something that I consider daily.  As a Community Engager and gardener, I am eternally seeking creative ways to build my community and seek environmental activities on which we can build upon.  I am a firm believer that any community can be great if you connect the dots. When I saw this book…or rather when this book found me…I knew it held a few gifts that were meant for me.  I was so right in every sense of the word RIGHT.  With chapters like “Celebrations of Honor and Respect”, “Work With What You Have” and “Weaving Community Milestones” – it was not hard to focus on the messaging the author Sharon Kallis was gifting me.

Sharon Kallis is an artist in Vancouver who specializes in the use of unwanted natural materials for use in ecological art projects. Her projects have been known to build community by using traditional and non-traditional methods which incorporate art.  Describing the individuals who are most likely to choose this book as one who sees that in its own language, the Earth is telling that we are in trouble.  Are we listening and being proactive or ignoring the obvious??? Through the use of the three P’s, Ms.Kallis helps us define how we can weave a tapestry of opportunity. Places, Plants, and People  are the three P’s that can aid us in building community partnerships.

A few of the gifts Sharon Kallis shared are examples such as using piles of green waste or pruning’s from the local Public Works Departments to create eco-art.  Could the author be onto something here?  I believe she is.  We look at garden debris as something no longer of use to us.  If you really consider the end use of garden debris, it’s purpose has not been fulfilled – if you think outside the box. From weaving creative bracelets, baskets from ornamental grasses to creating natural dyes, garden debris can be incorporated into more than a compost pile.

Using this book – Common Threads – Weaving community through collaborative eco-art, by Sharon Kallis -is a blueprint that is so necessary right now.  If using  eco-art intervention is something that you are considering, allow yourself to get lost in this book and emerge an environmental creative.  After reading this book,  I am sure that like me, you will be inclined to rethink garden debris, connect with and reinvigorate your community by the use of  non-traditional ways to reuse gleanings from the garden. The ideas are simply amazing!


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