Wednesday, November 17, 2010

STARworks Ornament Sale & Open House Dec. 3

Hundreds of handmade holiday ornaments created by STARworks Glass and STARworks Ceramics will go on sale at a Holiday Ornament Sale and Open House Dec. 3.

To add to the fun, STARworks Glass is conducting demonstrations that show how some of the glass objects were created and STARworks Ceramics will conduct an ornament workshop.

The workshop sign-up begins at 4:30 p.m. at STARworks Ceramics and is limited to 50 participants. The cost is $5 for children and $7 for adults. The class will take place from 5 to 6 p.m., so that participants can also spend some time at the open house in the glass studio.

At STARworks Glass, the demonstrations will be ongoing and are designed to provide some insight into how some of the available hand blown glass items are created.

“This is an excellent opportunity to find a special gift for that friend or family member that you have a tough time pleasing each year,” said Nick Fruin, STARworks Glass coordinator. Another possibility for that hard to buy for person is a gift certificate for a glassblowing class or a ceramics workshop.

The open house will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and is free. Holiday refreshments will be served. STARworks Glass and STARworks Ceramics are located at the rear of STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise at 100 Russell Drive in Star. Call 428-9001 for more information or visit the website at

Thursday, August 12, 2010

US Senator Kay Hagan Visits STARworks

North Carolina's own Kay Hagan took time this week to come to STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise. She spoke to the STARworks business owners and toured our facilities including the garden, bio diesel factory, hot shop, ceramics, Comfort South and Wet Dog Glass.

Here Eddie Bernard shows Senator Hagan the properties of molten glass in our Hot Shop.

Nancy explains the STARworks Garden while Dr. David Jones, Central Park NC Chairman, and Anne Pärtna, garden coordinator, look on.

Senator Hagan checks out one of the massive Sunflowers growing in our garden. The sunflowers were planted by Star Elementary first graders in the spring.

We are grateful that Senator Hagan could find time to visit STARworks and see the cool things going on here in the center of our state. If you would like to tour our facility, we offer tours on the first and third fridays of each month at 1pm. Tours are free of charge and last about an hour. Tours can be scheduled for groups at any time by calling our office at (910) 428-9001.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

And the walls come tumbling down

With help from Frank Harmon Architects our demolition plans are coming along. Architect Will Lambeth(in white) and Tim Martin, a structural engineer joined me last week for a grand tour of our beloved building. Actually we probably shouldn't call it a tour, it was pretty much a full inspection with all ares that are affected by the demolition measured to the fraction of an inch. Will had a sweet Bosch laser tape measure, I was jealous. We spent time on the roof, in the basement and all points in between.By the end of the day Tim had a comprehensive sketch as seen below. The numbers were tiny but readable and he has been plugging them in the computer this week and the planning meeting is tomorrow in Raleigh. We will be discussing the design of the courtyard area that the demolition will create, and doors and windows to plug the openings also exposed by the demolition. Our hope is to bring some natural light into our currently unlit interiors. The demolition will create a 12,000 square foot courtyard out of what is currently a rapidly deteriorating center section of the building. In the 50's and 60's this area was the dye house of the mill. In 1976 a new dye house was built, and the area changed to house the boarding operation. Wet Dog Glass and the STARworks Glass Lab now occupy the new dye house area. Watch here for updates on the ongoing rebirth of the STARworks building!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Star Library Program paints Star Garden

This week the Star library summer reading program stormed the Star Garden eager to paint the all of the flowers and vegetables in the beds. Anne started the day with a garden tour and the kids helped pick some flower arrangements for the tables. I counted over 80 people including parents with over 30 kids painting.Most painted on paper, but on imaginative young lad created this diptych of cucumber and plastic plate. Genius, I think. Total outside the box thinking. That's what you get with these kids that read instead of zoning out in front of the idiot box all day. OK, I can't back that up but I will tell you this: The town of Star is lucky to have a librarian as dedicated as Ms. Claudia McIntosh. She and Anne put together a great activity for these kids free of charge.
It was hot, but the kids had a great time. Thanks to Anne and Ms. Claudia for providing enriching opportunities for our community's kids.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Erin Brockovich speaking in Winston Salem.

Say the name Erin Brockovich and you think strong, tough, stubborn and sexy. Erin is all that and definitely more. She thrives on being the voice for those who don’t know how to yell. She is a rebel. She is a fighter. She is a mother. She is an activist. AND, she is coming to Winston-Salem to inspire us to take action!

For details on the plight of the Yadkin River, and to register for the talk click here. It's free and sure to be thought provoking and inspiring.

This event is brought to you by Yadkin Riverkeeper, along with Presenting Sponsor Wake Forest University. The event will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. at WFU Scales Fine Arts Center, Brendle Recital Hall. Free and open to the public. There is limited seating and reservations are required.

Monday, May 24, 2010

BALLE High: Back and ready to rumble

The CPNC and STARworks crew just got back from the BALLE conference held in Charleston SC. For those of you unfamiliar with the organization, BALLE stands for Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. BALLE is a network of more than 80 community networks with more than 21,000 independent business members across the U.S. and Canada. Every year, their annual conference brings together community leaders in sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, zero waste manufacturing, independent retail, community capital and pretty much green everything.

Because the conference was in Charleston this year we were able to take a whole crew of us down for the weekend to get inspired and re-energized for the work we do.

David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the Worldand most recently Agenda for a New Economy and The Great Turning, kicked off with a call to arms to change Wall Street and “bigger at any cost” business by changing our “stories” from fictional stories of empire to authentic “earth community” stories that highlight local self reliance, social justice and living capital.

Marjorie Kelly, author of The Divine Right of Capital and Michael Shuman, author of Going Local and The Small-mart Revolution did a great job describing new models for alternative economies that include innovative tax laws and community land trusts, “B” corporation models and cooperatives.

India Pierce Lee of the Cleveland Foundation gave an inspiring presentation about Evergreen Cooperatives and their Cooperative Laundry project that demonstrates there is far more to eradicating poverty than merely creating “jobs.”

North Carolina was well represented at BALLE this year: Our good friend Eric Henry of TS Designs, along with farmer Ronnie Burleson of Stanly County and Brian Morell of Mortex Apparel wowed the crowd with their brilliant Cotton of the Carolinas Project. T-shirts made from cotton that is grown, ginned, spun, sewn and printed within 750 miles! Dirt to shirt!

Lyle Estill talked about Pittsboro's Piedmont Biofuels and Piedmont Biofarms. I also ran into Tony Kleese from Earthwise, and it was great catching up and talking to him about community based food systems.

Probably the most moving presentation was Lily Yeh’s story of The Village of Arts and Humanities, a community-based art organization in a North Philadelphia inner city neighborhood. Yeh, a native of China, says leadership is an art and art is a form of leadership. She told the story of how art helped people in her adopted community reconnect with each other and new community values. Yeh, members of her staff, and people in her community have quietly used sweat-equity, recycled materials, and other community resources to refurbish abandoned homes and construct new ones. They have also created after-school programs, a youth theater, a crafts center, and 14 parks for more than 10,000 people. Watch her presentation at the Bioneers Conference here.

Just when you think you’re doing all these brilliant things, you go and hear someone like Ms. Yeh. Humbling. Just plain humbling.

There was too much information and too many incredible experiences and people to write about here. But that's BALLE: there are mighty big shoes to fill in even the smallest communities. If you’re looking for glory, go somewhere else. If you’re looking for energy, inspiration, humility, and transformation, go to BALLE.

We're back and we've got a lot of work to do. The good news is that there are a lot of good people to help us. We just need to connect.

So it’s Monday, and I’ve got a lot of new websites to check out and emails to send and new ideas to think about. I hope you do too.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Senior walkers take over the STARwalks trail!

Walk, dance, play, work in your yard…30 minutes a day can help you stay in shape and feeling good. Physical activity is essential for all of us. Children, adults and seniors can benefit from moderate activity every day. Take a walk with a friend on The STARwalks recycled walking trail. Recently area seniors were invited to STARworks to see and experience the new recycled rubber trail installed in front of the facility. The STARwalks Partnership consisting of people from Central Park NC, STARworks, the Troy Montgomery Senior Center, Montgomery County Health Department, Montgomery County Council on Aging and the NC Cooperative extension were awarded a grant from the Fit Community program to build the trail and launch a walking program to encourage seniors to engage in a healthy lifestyle. The trail is made from 100% recycled materials. Almost 1000 large rubber truck tires were recycled and didn’t end up in a landfill in the building of this 1/8-mile loop. The permeable surface allows water to pass through it, allows aeration of the soil underneath, and helps eliminate water runoff pollution from asphalt or concrete that can end up in nearby streams and rivers. The low-impact rubber surface is less tiring because it reduces stress on walker’s joints, particularly knees and feet. The walking program rewards senior participants with a pedometer after 10 hours of aerobic activity and a T-shirt after 20 hours. Come take a walk on The STARwalks trail! This project was made possible with a generous grant from the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund, USDA Rural Communities Development Initiative and Central Park NC.

Walkers try out the new walking trail at STARworks. The 1/8-mile track is constructed of recycled rubber.

Walkers and agency representatives came out for the opening of the STAR Walks walking trail in front of STARworks.

A Bayada nurse takes a walker’s blood pressure. Other gencies that assisted with the event included the Montgomery Council on Aging, Montgomery Health Department, Home Care of the Carolinas.