It was a crisp fall morning. In the distance, the outlines of trees resembled people. Some were tall, slender, brown bodies; some with sparse green-yellow clothes, some naked, some with arms spread, some folded, some heads straight, and some hidden. I got out of the bed, stepped outside, and to my amazement, discovered these beautiful sticks laying in the grass. To most, they are just sticks, but to me, they were pieces of art.
As I went to pick one of the sticks up, I recognized the brilliance of this simple object that had fallen from those beautiful people-like trees. This small yet remarkable brown stick that fell from the branches of the tree was part of nature's way to renew life for the coming spring. On that brisk fall day, I picked up every stick that fell in the small backyard of my house and brought them inside. My mother was annoyed and immediately asked why I was bringing garbage into the house. But that didn't stop me. I had an idea, and I knew these sticks that she saw as garbage could be turned into something beautiful.
I took those sticks into my room and placed them on my desk. I then took a small brush to gently remove the dirt and some of the bark that had started to decay. They were even more beautiful than I had first imagined. The next day, I asked my father to pick up a 3x4 shadow box frame at the local store and waited in anticipation until he arrived home. When I got that frame in my hands, I immediately started working on my computer desk, which I turned into a makeshift studio. As I carefully observed, no two sticks were alike, even though some fell from the same tree. The vivid image detailing the randomness of nature was sitting on my table. As I put sticks together in different patterns, I saw various shapes and I quickly recognized that I could use nature to create art. I opened the frame and began assembling the sticks in patterns that made sense to me. I closed the back of the frame, locked it, and felt my heart pumping to turn it over and see what I created. When I did it was beautiful! I had taken something that would typically be discarded and turned it into something worthy of being displayed on a wall – I had created art. That first piece of art still sits next to my bed, though I have created more shadow-box stick art since then. Some have been given as gifts to friends, but more importantly, some have been sold for a loftier goal.
The funds raised from selling these shadow boxes help to support a charity I have created. The charity is called
Redacted, an umbrella 501(c) organization. Working in conjunction with Redacted Charity, a local non-profit, we are providing safe drinking water to women and children in developing, and underdeveloped countries. Being a young and impressionable woman spending many of my family vacations residing in my grandparent’s village, I know first-hand the struggle these women face daily to fetch basic clean drinking water for their families. Similar to how I gathered sticks to make art, I plan to continue gathering funds and resources to create change in these communities with need. Every autumn and beyond.