A LEGACY OF THRIFT
by Ruth Eckles
She took colored pencil shavings and transformed them into flower petals; punched holes in Styrofoam meat trays and they became festive garlands; yesterday’s greeting cards were converted into three-dimensional trinket boxes. He built and designed houses that could withstand hurricane force winds, rarely used anything other than second-hand lumber, saved vegetable seeds and never put away a shovel dirty. “A Legacy of Thrift: One Couple’s Life and the Family They Influenced” honors Raymond and Leola Glover, a couple that was handcrafting boxes from salvaged wood, whittling walking canes from tree branches, and sewing quilts from scraps way before words like ‘sustainable’ or ‘upcycled’ ever came in vogue. The installation, which displays a wide variety of family memorabilia including quilts, furniture, ornaments, World War II ration cards, vintage photos and documented memories, will run until Monday, July 16th, at The Scrap Exchange, a non-profit creative reuse center.
“I’m drawn to reuse because of the way my parents approached things in general. Which is you take care of them, you use them over and over and over again, and if they break, you fix them,” says Ruth Warren Glover, who collaborated with sisters Lee Stadler and Lynne Mann to curate this intimate family tribute.
Warren, a reuse artist who has worked at The Scrap Exchange for over 6 years, first as a volunteer and currently as the organization’s marketing coordinator, says she couldn’t think of a more appropriate place to hold the exhibit:
“The whole concept of thrift and reuse is the thing that ties it all together.”
While modern concepts of reuse emerged out of a growing awareness of an abundance of “stuff” filling our landfills, Leola and Raymond grew up in the Great Depression; a time when work, food, and resources were scarce. Raymond’s father died young, leaving his mother to raise 8 children on her own. He worked grueling hours as a child laborer in North Carolina’s tobacco and cotton fields and was never able to finish the sixth grade. Against all odds, he pulled the family out of poverty, but his hard knock life left an indelible mark:
“Having next to nothing as a child helped forge his lifelong commitment to save and value everything he touched. He abhorred any kind of waste,” Warren says.
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