Upcycle The Book and The Learning Curve

Operation Care had placed my book Upcycle on their shelves for sale. All sales was to go to the transitional housing program for women and children, which needed costly maintenance. A volunteer who helps man the store sometimes was offended by something in the book, and removed all copies from the reach of customers.

We had a meeting- the director and two staff of Operation Care, and myself, regarding the book, the flyer i made for the benefit event and how we ought proceed.

as you can see i put two poems on the flyer which would serve as the program for the benefit event July 23. i wrote one poem about God, and included a poem which is among just a tiny handful ive written that i believe anyone in the world could identify with, since it is about being eachother- just the same. brother and sisters.

however, not only did the three in the meeting not identify with the poem, it offended them. they were not in this ‘alone together’- they were in this with God. the idea of it just being each other was interpreted as being without a god –

which was not the meaning i had intended. i simply meant we are in this together- whether we go to church, pray, atone, have faith in a God or serve a master, whether we are surgeons or clowns- red, white, or brown…

in addition to this, the director pointed out a crass word on one of the pages of my book- i said, but did you read the essay about this song? because it is the whole point of this book- how i came to be a poet or write songs in the first place.

she said she had only read some parts of the book, and when i asked the table, the others admitted they had not read the book.

this being said, i have art on my blog which is political in nature they did not think their donors would care for, and so they wanted no further association with me as an artist.

truly, they didnt do their due diligence, only at the 11th hour discovering art on my blog that disagrees with their patrons, and so forth. anything i did i had passed along for approval, but at this point they wanted me to put out the flyer as it was- but to make the part that says proceeds go to Operation Care smaller, so as not to emphasize it so much.

and they wanted nothing to do with the book. it was a learning lesson. i learned along the way that the library was going to have yoga lessons until members of the community complained that there must be separation of church and state. so now i knew where to tread, and how lightly. i also learned who my allies are and who i will work with in the future to spread community in this town which seems to be just now burgeoning with culture.

i said you still want me to do the event? you want the money?

they laughed and said of course. the following day i gave the first Upcycle workshop. i felt extra inspired and full of mojo. i began by explaining how i spread Gods love through poetry. and that to reach the widest audience, i leave words like God and Jesus out of my books, because you lose a percent of the audience straight away. when some people see those words, they put a book down.

i reached a few of the women- in our hearts we have the same stories. the same struggles and achievements. the striving for balance. the belief in ourselves. this was all that mattered to me in the first place, when i conceived of this vast project Upcycle.

i didnt try to sell my book at all. i was afraid who i may offend- it says in there- you are a vacuum /and i am a witch /who got carried away by her broom …

some people would take that literally. there are witches, ive been told, who lived right there in the town. and since i would rather move on to my next project here without being cast off – i did not release the album on the day of the benefit event as planned. i sure didnt want anyone offended by my lyrics to think Operation Care stood behind them or me- as an artist.

i am grateful to Operation Care, their many volunteers who gave plenty of time to the Upcycle cause- plenty of work hours for the workshops and benefit event.  and plenty of moral support to me, as i struggled to keep my ego and pride out of it and complete what i set out to do as well as i possibly could.

plus, i am grateful to the women i met- in particular Melissa Jesse, Rose Maggard and Sheila Fow- who sat and had tea with me repeatedly, and worked always with such enthusiasm, through the very last minute of the event..  your passions humble me and give me much strength- i was able to have utter faith in you while our shared faiths emboldened each other. xoxoxox

New Check Out My Album Upcycle New

Upcycle | Bree (bandcamp.com)

The album costs $10, but if you pay $20 or more i will send you a copy of the book Upcycle: Art-Making to Break Cycles of Trauma and Create Something Valuable

the book contains the lyrics to my songs with anecdotes and info on their origins, plus an essay about how song-writing and poetry enabled me to know myself, and what i wanted to be doing. In the process of living mindfully and meaningfully, creating when i could, i healed old wounds and now have 44 songs to show for it. (altho i wrote a 45th since the book came out- The Suicide Hotline Blues)


(cover art made from a photograph of a rubbish bin taken in Graefenberg, KY)

Announcing the Release of My First Album Upcycle

i suffer migraines continuously, 24 hrs a day. i generally wake feeling my best, and by 3 pm or so i seriously decline. but i wake early, so i get almost a full shift  feeling well and highly-functioning. then i cook and eat and tidy things and typically recline the rest of the night in front of the tube, where i will ultimately sleep.

recording Upcycle, there was an air freshener in every outlet, probably at least 30 of them visible to me, just walking through the studio. they are my number one trigger, and once i have a migraine from air fresheners, i will be sick for days. the taste of the chemicals will adhere to my tongue- i could brush my teethe multiple times but still taste them. i get sea sick and nauseated, often with vertigo, and the most awful shooting pains.

but this was our one shot at making the album, and there was just under two weeks to accomplish it. i took a lot of medications, drank double the water i normally might, and just buckled in for the ride.

another common migraine trigger is called ‘let down from stress.’ this means, once the body completes a 70 hr work week, or came home from a beach vacation, the migraine may wreak havoc.

meanwhile, rain, and quick changes in the barometric pressure of the atmosphere is a next major trigger. and so is pms.

so when the adrenaline wore off a few hours after the Upcycle event July 23rd, one mighty migraine set in, and there it stayed put until September 9.

i was beginning to wonder whether it wasnt permanent. i had lived two and a half years at the level 8 of 10 pain, never to come down to a seven or six. i had done it with a spouse and caretaker- and yet here i was, by myself and doing ok. i was ready for this to be a next phase in my life.

but Labor Day weekend the migraine pain was scattershot. and finally, my routine of waking up well and doing what i can until i cant resumed.

and the first thing i did when i felt well enough was to release the album Upcycle-
13 songs (two are bonus tracks) they are a diverse sampling of my 4 dozen songs.

i fancy myself a song-writer, poet, and artist more than a singer. the songs and poems i wrote told me who i was and what i ought to be doing. they showed me the sides of myself others might not generally see- and demonstrated to me how to reveal those sides, along with the rest.

In the book Upcycle, i explain how and when and why i began writing songs. All of my lyrics are in the book as well…with some anecdotes and info on the song origins. I invite to to listen and read and see what all has shaped me via song.

The Upcycle Event – and Afterwards

The Upcycle event at the Stargazer Plaza on Main in Shelbyville raised $2015, which is amazing because it was near 100 degrees. This was why almost all of the action took place between 11 am and 12:30 pm. Monies were raised through sales of upcycled art and furniture, raffle tickets, books, locally baked goods, musical performance, and various tip jars situated near the food donated by Chef Brent at The Bell House, and at the demonstration booths run by Sheila Fow and Melissa Jesse.

There was a page and a half article about the event and my vision for it that ran twice in The Sentinel News – once for subscribers, and a second time for every country resident. This was the reason many attendees cited when i asked what brought them to the event. One woman said she wanted to make art, and another had brought a broken bird house she wanted help mending, and upcycling.  Some came for the raffle, and most all said they were in support of Operation Care, and the women in their transitional housing program. Folks of all ages lent a hand- one 9 year old girl raised $21 for Operation Care by making and selling lemonade.

I am satisfied with the monies and awareness raised- considering that being outside in the heat was the last thing most bodies desired. Had it been a more temperate climate, many more people would have come along to see what we were doing. The notion of upcycling as art-making to break cycles of trauma and make something valuable and empowering was imparted to the public by the artisans and other volunteers, and I was able to meet many allies from the greater community.

Press Release for Upcycle Event at Operation Care July 23rd 11-3

Bree Bodnar
greenpandapress@gmail.com
(616)216-4715
www.theartistBree.com

Waddy resident Bree Bodnar was awarded an Arts meets Activism Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women for her project Upcycle: A book, album, workshop and event to benefit the Transitional Housing Program for women and children at Operation Care in Shelbyville, KY. Upcycling is to repurpose or restore materials to create something of greater monetary or environmental value. Bodnar gave the word an additional definition: using music and art-making to break cycles of trauma and create something valuable, and empowering.

 

Upcycle: Songwriting & Art-Making to Break Cycles of Trauma and Create Something Valuable (Green Panda Press 2022 66 pp.) combines Bree’s (she drops her surname when published or performing) 44 original song lyrics-one for every year of her life-with a personal essay about how she used poetry and songwriting to transcend trauma in her life. Each song includes anecdotes and background info. The book will be available at Operation Care’s Encore Shop beginning June 10th, and may also be ordered at any bookstore or local library, or by emailing greenpandapress@gmail.com. The cover price is $15.00. All proceeds go to Operation Care. Bodnar will conduct a workshop with the residents of the Transitional Housing Program to impart skills used in upcycling items which could be sold to supplement their incomes. She wrote her book to illustrate for them ways in which upcycling can be an avenue to simply enjoy the natural therapy of creating art as a means of transcending abuse or any other life trauma, and to encourage them to explore genres and use their voices in whichever medium speaks to them. Bodnar also collaborated with several musicians, including locals Lewis Mathis, Mason Daugherty, and Wes Thompson, to record her album Upcycle, which will be released at www.theartistbree.bandcamp.com on the day of the Upcycle benefit event this July 23rd 11-4 at Operation Care 708 Main Street.

 

At the Upcycle Benefit Event Sale, attendees can meet local artists and shabby-to-chic artisans to learn about their method and process, browse upcycled art, furniture, and wares to purchase, and watch live upcycling demos. They may bid on items upcycled by residents of the TH program, or buy tickets for various items to be raffled. For a small fee, members of the public can create their own upcycled bird houses, frame art, drink trays and more from rescued materials, to take home. There will be free bruschetta and other refreshments courtesy of The Bell House. For heavier fare, one might opt to purchase tacos from local food truck Taqueria La Nayarita, and top it off with some locally baked goods from our bake sale. Sponsors for the event have paid for ads, provided items to be raffled, and donated supplies to help raise money and awareness for the Transitional Housing Program at Operation Care, which in addition to other things, provides women and children with shelter, and a program that helps them move from homelessness to self-reliance. Sponsors include The Barrel Room, Texas Road House, Nugget & Co., 6th & Main Coffeehouse, JP Wood Designs, Pontrich Floor Covering, Chalk Couture, Sweet Waddy Jane, Gaines Painting, and more TBA.

 

Bree is a poet, publisher and artist from Cleveland, OH. In 2014 she moved to Pleasureville, and now resides in a former post office in Waddy, KY. In 2001 she founded Green Panda Press which produced hand-made poetry and art chapbooks, anthologies, and ephemera of the independent press. Currently it puts out trade papers in the print-on-demand format. Come What May: Collages from a Single Photograph (Least Bittern Books 2017) selects 300 full-color pages of her collages made with a mouse using the computer program Paint, each from a single photograph. She has several poetry collections and memoirs, including And I am Also Invasive (Birds and Bones 2016), The Dark Junco Morning (Green Panda 2016), Matter Ring (The City 2012), and was chicken trax amid sparrows tread (Temple Books 2009). She co-wrote Akol Atyii Madut’s memoir Sleeping with the Sun In His Eyes, about escaping genocide in Sudan and ultimately working at a Whole Foods in a suburb of Cleveland, OH. She edited and published Valga Krusa, Charles Potts’ 2-volume memoir about Berkeley poets and the COSMEP conventions of the late 1960s. Her drawings and collages appear on the covers of dozens of small press poetry books. Some recent work and an interview may be seen at the international bilingual poetry site  Read Carpet. KFW awarded her an Artist Enrichment grant in 2015 to gauge how nude studies are received in various regions of Kentucky, and an Arts Meets Activism grant in 2021 for her project Upcycle. She enjoys hiking and identifying native plants and birds.

Announcing Upcycle Event Sponsors from the Community

I am very happy that so many members of the community are sponsors of the Upcycle event at Operation Care July 23rd.

 
Attendees can enjoy refreshments, complements of The Bell House.
 
Items to raffle & ads paid for by The Barrel Room, Texas Roadhouse, Nugget & Co., Sweet Waddy Jane, KP Wood Designs, 6th & Main Coffeehouse, and more TBA.
 
Pontrich Floor Covering & Chalk Couture have donated supplies so people can upcycle something to take home.
 
Taqueria La Nayarita food truck will be onsite for taco treats.
 
Please join us! Meet local artists and artisans, browse upcycled wares made by the women in Operation Care’s transitional housing program. Watch local craftspeople doing live upcycling demos. Make your own bird house, drink tray, tee-shirt gift bags, and more- from upcycled materials. Get a copy of Upcycle: Songwriting and Art-Making to Break Cycles of Trauma and Create Something Valuable (Green Panda Press 2022). Pick up some locally home made goods from our bake sale. All proceeds to Operation Care. Take advantage of this opportunity to help others and meet new friends, while you are at it!

 

Seeking Sponsors for Upcycle Event

Seeking Sponsors for Upcycle Event to Benefit the Transitional Housing Program for Women and Mothers with Children at Operation Care in Shelbyville, KY

The July 23rd event promotes UPCYCLING: using art-making to break cycles of trauma and create something valuable and empowering.

Art, furniture, crafts and other items for sale by Local Artists & Artisans, plus Raffles, Bake sale, Food truck, local author Book-signing, Silent Auction & more

Sponsor our ads in the Sentinel-News to help is reach a wide audience that will attend the event (minimum $50). Sponsoring the event will get your logo/company name on the event program (minimum donation of $35). Gifts/baskets to be raffled or auctioned are another option.

Contact Bree Bodnar (616) 216-4715   2982 Waddy Rd. #2 40076 greenpandapress@gmail.com  ~pay by cash/check/ppal  ~Checks
made out to Bree Bodnar or paypal to leastbitternbooks@gmail.com