SA 2014 Part 1: From Brooklyn to the Greyton Green Park

Here is the first installment in a collection of photographs that I took during a five day journey to the Western Cape of South Africa and back to the land of Brooklyn, NY. I was honored to be invited down for the weekend to help with and host the Third Annual Trash to Treasure Festival of Transition at the Greyton Green Park.

Herein is pictured my journey from the trains of New York City to the streets of Cape Town and beyond to the beautiful hills and surrounds of the Riviersonderend Range and river valley, to see the foundations and base layers of one of the first eco brick constructions in South Africa:

– Jo Stodgel 4/29/14

The GOOD TO GO Coffee Cup Canvas Project in Dumbo, NY

As part of the DO School Sustainable Cup Challenge Fellowship here in Brooklyn, NY, my fellows and I organized the creation and dispersal of 13 coffee cup canvases to NYC based artists. I held on to 2 and contributed some artwork to the project as well.

The Cup Canvas Project arose as an artistic and community response to the dilemma of the millions of coffee cups disposed of daily in NYC. Normally, these cups landfilled up to 500 miles away or “downcycled” into inferior paper products. Our cup canvases demonstrate that wasted materials can become something wonderful.

A canvas is made by covering a wooden panel with 10 cups (a New Yorker’s weekly average). Together the 16 panels represent 2 seconds of cups disposed of in NYC.

Artworks such as these may not solve the severity of our wastefulness, but they provide a fresh way to see the issue and offer a platform for conversation about hyper-consumption and our disposable culture.

For more info on the Good To Go campaign and projects visit:

Cupcycle Artworks on Display and Auction 4/22 in Dumbo

The acquisition, cleaning, stapling, flattening, opening, nailing, and painting of single-use coffee cups has occupied a lot of my time for these last few weeks. I am excited to see what comes of it all in the next few days as we prepare for the final Good to Go exposition and event for the Sustainable Cup Challenge which we are planning.

If you are in NYC, then come join us in Dumbo on 4/22 at the reclaimed wood showroom of the Hudson Company, from 6 to 9. There will be a bit of live music, food and refreshments, the unveiling of a collaborative piece with a local stitch-master, and a silent auction of the coffee cup canvas panels which 14 artists (myself included) have been tasked to paint/create on.

The eventbrite page can be found at:

A Visit to the Red Hook Studio of Alfred Stadler

I learned about Alfred just the morning I met him from my DO School Challenge Lab facilitator Scott Francisco of Pilot Projects. He encouraged me to reach out to Alfred in hopes that I might be able to use an industrial sewing machine to sew a whole load of disposable coffee cups together (as I am experimenting of various ways of upcycling them for our projects).

I left a message on Alfred’s voice mail that afternoon and he quickly got back to me and agreed to meet that evening. I took the F train down a ways to Red Hook from Dumbo and walked the few blocks to his studio near to the water’s edge near many a dock and storage yard. He buzzed me up into his work space – a big airy room with tall ceilings and all sorts of tools and materials covering the walls. He set his designs for a new backpack aside for a while to welcome and chat with me and quickly we were deep in a rich conversation about the predominant disposable lifestyle in New York.

He told me how much it ailed him to see materials so quickly used and thrown away, and spoke of his disdain for synthetic materials in general – all the plastics and polymers that poison organic systems and fly in the face of the natural aesthetics which he so deeply loved and respected. He went on to describe with relish some of the materials that he works with – hemp, cotton, flax, linen, jute, the magic fiber of wool, and of course… leather. He showed me a variety of the old-school tools that he uses on a regular basis, and spoke fondly of being able to take a few of them in a small backpack and make all sorts of things wherever he was.

It was an inspirational meeting and luckily we got to experiment a bit with some of the coffee cups as well. Check out some of Alfred’s top-notch hand made bags and other goods at

– Jo Stodgel 3/28/14