Summer Save Me
(Good headphones recommended.) It's early summer in Virginia. You are sitting at a glass table on a screened-in porch and the season's first big storm is arriving. You are listening to the wind blow sheets of rain against the porch and the surrounding trees; and the thunder soon joins you in applause. You sit there, listening, for almost an hour, as the storm moves across the state. After a while, the thunder grows distant, and the birds come back. If you listen closely, you can hear the streams bulging with enthusiasm on their way to the Bay.
Prettier Than Heaven
It’s prettier than heaven here
When I notice the dancing birds
When spring has come and the sun is waiting
I will take every moment I can get
To come out of abstraction.
To think, if I do anything.
I think: I will do everything.
I feel and will feel and more than
Trust in the summer to save me.
As the birds and flowers have tried to tell us
In their songs:
You, me, we—
Aren’t we a bit alike?
Alive and brave
Not a thing we do goes unnoticed
All ripples are waves
And that is why we run so fast
Into the ocean.
Photos from John Schengber.
What is upcycling?
Upcycling is the creative process of transforming old or unwanted materials into new goods. It’s the flip side of traditional recycling (aka downcycling), wherein unwanted materials like plastic bottles are converted into less useful or marketable products (e.g. a massive hunk of recycled plastic). What’s more, while upcycling clothes is an easy way to breathe new life into old garments, it also spares the environment of the carbon-intensive process of new textile production.
To upcycle for Summer Save Me, we sourced a handful of blank garments from Richmond thrift stores and transformed them with screenprinted designs. Each garment is completely unique and embodies the intersection of art, street fashion, and creative reuse.
To summarize with another six word manifesto:
Enough new t-shirts. Wear old ones.
Drawings from TJ Rinoski
The six word manifesto (or memoir) is a common exercise in writing and creative circles. It pushes people to distill their very being into a quick turn of phrase, and it inspired some of the art direction for the Summer Save Me art show and product release.
For example, if you look closely at some of the poetry on the upcycled shirts, you’ll notice that many of the phrases are made of six words:
I Think, If I Do Anything.
I Think: I Will Do Everything
To Come Out Of My Abstraction
I Say To Summer: Save Me.
Attendees of our Richmond art show, also titled Summer Save Me, were given the chance to write their own six word manifestos in the theme of summer. Some took the task to heart, and others joined in for the fun of it. Check out what they wrote, and make sure to add your own in the comments section below.