BY AMANDA MOSES
Throughout the summer, members of Spring Creek Teen Central’s Girls Empowerment Movement (GEM) created an upcycling activity that will end in December with a holiday craft fair in the Brooklyn Sports Club (BSC). Together with Teen Central’s staff, the group gathered old pieces of clothing and developed new garments with them.
Plain denim jackets were painted with cool designs, old pairs of jeans were transformed into purses, and other garments were made into jewelry. This form of craftwork is called upcycling, which is the process of reusing and repurposing something that would have been discarded.
The process is simple; teens can bring in clothing or choose pieces that were donated to Teen Central to upcycle. They then envision and draft out their fashion concept. Teen Central provides their members with fabric markers and paint, as well as glitter and beads, to create a colorful piece. In addition to participating in a recycling-based program with arts and crafts, the teens are also taught how to create a DYI YouTube channel (which Teen Central hopes to launch around the holidays). Members learn creative techniques and how to capture their creations on a DSLR camera.
This initiative will culminate in December with a grand crafts fair, featuring a wide variety of art-based creations. Teen Central also hopes to launch a program called Baskets to Pallets, an activity that involves the teens harvesting herbs grown in the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) and creating essential oils, perfumes, lotions, soaps, and other natural products. They will also learn how to make healthy, raw vegetables that do not require cooking on a stove. The items created in this new activity will be sold during the December crafts fair, teaching members entrepreneurial skills as well as healthy eating habits.
Photos courtesy of Spring Creek Teen Central