Earth Saver Interview: Jodi Large

Who is Jodi Large and why should you care?

Jodi Large is one of the most conscious people I have ever met. Jodi currently works for IBM as a User Experience Director. She is an artist, a visionary, and a beautiful spirit. Jodi has been working with me for over 5 years on Little Bits and the Earth Savers Gang. She is our illustrator, graphic designer, and artistic director (in her spare time.) She designed our brand logo and came up with the initial character design. Jodi has met the love of her life, Adam Cutler who also works for IBM and has been instrumental in helping us with the ESG (Earth Savers Gang) since it's conception. Stay tuned as we will be covering their sustainable wedding in some upcoming posts.

MR: What does global warming mean to you?

Jodi: Global warming to me is a scientific thing. I don’t absolutely understand all that it means but I do believe that we have shifted a natural balance. The earth has a normal process and we have interrupted it.  [more]

MR: How does that knowledge alter your daily life – how does it effect your consciousness?

Jodi: It’s subtle. In the grand scheme of things we are little people going about our little lives – we don’t see the forest for the trees. At some level we have to be made aware of the fact that we have done significant damage, but we can't see it from our small perspective.

I am humbled at my own audacity when I really think about it. The audacity that I can be so thoughtless about how my actions and choices impact other living things.

MR: So you take this to heart on a personal level?

Jodi: Yes because I have to…I am an individual who is part of an entire system. I cannot afford not to. Without me it fails and with me it fails. It’s kind of Buddhist I guess, but the premise is something like 'we are none of it and all of it at the same time.' We are of God and God is of us. I don’t espouse being very religious per-say, but I believe in all of us being interconnected. I believe that the actions one person takes impacts everyone. The hardest thing is to be related to the truth of it, and people don’t want to look at themselves. They would rather look elsewhere. This is the essence of unconsciousness, which is the exact issue we face now. To become conscious we must look within.

MR: Can you give me another example?

Jodi: Well, look at us, I mean here we are depending on the scientists to tell us what we should be doing and like…how much time we have to get in action. But…hello! …we can look with our own eyes and see what needs to be done. Look around.

We live on Narragansett Bay and I don’t need a scientist to tell me that bacteria, e- coli, lack of oxygen, garbage and pollution are killing the bay. Only on my little beach at the end of the road could I see these things and I know that my little beach is a tiny example of the huge problem we face. I feel like shaking my fellow man sometimes and saying – 'you are throwing this thing away…where do you think it goes? Do you really believe that the garbage fairies come and take that plastic bottle away so you never again need to be reminded of your thoughtlessness?'

Reminding someone to be mindful of their shit is mind boggling…we are unable to see the consequences of our actions. Our rhythms can be in-tune with nature and the earth is responsive to our actions as if we are one organism. Humans need to stop thinking of themselves as separate. We are a culture of make-believe.

MR: Ok Jodi, I personally love this train of thought so much…I'm going to ask you to keep going because it looks like you have more to say…tell me more.

Jodi: Ok, here’s more….if you ask a kid where their chicken comes from they will say a grocery store. They freak at the thought of killing an animal for their food. We have two children blessed to me through my fiancé. They were with us for the summer and amazed that they could eat something that grew in our very own yard. They are 6 and 9 and it’s clear to me how far removed and convenient we have made life for our children. To such an extent that we have handicapped them.

Out of convenience comes a lack of understanding, which equals ignorance. If given the choice, I would rather understand than be given the easy way out…maybe that’s just me, but ultimately I guess it's the story of “teach a man to fish vs. feed a man a fish.” I’m not this way all the time…there are times I want the easy way out but there are consequences for that and the consequence is “disconnection.” We are completely disconnected from our place in it all…we are separate from it.

MR: So Jodi; who was your eco-hero, or helped to teach you the foundation of your own consciousness?

Jodi: My grandfather was a naturalist, and he used to go on “what's it” walks, and it was on these walks he would teach, explain, demonstrate to me the interdependency of everything in the woods.

MR: Give me an example:

Jodi: He would take something and make complete use of it. For instance, if he hunted a duck, he would eat the duck and make fishing flies out of the feathers. In the summer he would fish and that’s what they would eat. He was a hunter but he would use it all.

He was a huge influence on me all my life; taught me to listen and observe and witness. His theme was that there was knowledge all around us and all we had to do was had to do was listen, and observe.

MR: Where do you think our mindlessness all began?

Jodi: I think somewhere around the 1940’s people had to be very resourceful and ultra conservative. I remember being fascinated with the concept of The Victory Garden.

In those days because everyone was so frugal and had to be sustainable if you wanted to eat, they had to grow their own food. It was a small garden in front of your house that you would grow your summer garden and use those and pickle and can. Then came the 1950’s and the McCarthy Era…it became gluttonous and the marketing engine started to rev…“you too can have a shiny new…fill in the blank.” Everything had to be easy, shiny, and new. Everything had a glossy gleam and it worked. It took hold of the American psyche. The image of perfection and abundance was something to aspire to and ease and convenience were the ticket to get there…”keeping up with the Jones” represented the “American Dream.”

MR: This is the definition from Wikipedia: "The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."[1] coined in 1931

Jodi: You can see how it was absolutely bastardized into a competition of More or Better…as Americans, most feel a sense of entitlement and deserving.

MR: Talk to me about you and you love of broken things…

Jodi: I find beauty in all sorts of crazy things…I find beauty in all things, but I have a love affair with broken things that have been tossed away and left to nature.

Nature does amazing things with man-made objects…it makes them into little abstractions of themselves. It takes them and makes them a new color, shape and gives me pause to consider their place in the world. Adam and I put them together in art pieces and hang them as mixed media or sculpture. It’s just one way to use things that already exist, with their innate beauty and make them work for another purpose.

Dsc_0670 This might be way too artsy but I love the visual conversation between objects.

How does a broken army figure that’s washed up on the beach relate to a piece of driftwood or an old domino…how can I make them meaningful in a piece that speaks to me or my audience?

It goes back to the definition of beauty for me. I think my pieces inspire something. It’s not junk, they're objects of beauty. If it’s not useful or beautiful then don’t have it in your home. Our cultural definition of "what is beauty" is jacked. If you can find beauty in imperfection, you can find beauty in yourself. It opens up your spectrum to what’s beautiful and meaningful. I get overwhelmed by all the beautiful things in the world. It’s a personal expression of truth, not a giant, mass media agreement of “perfection.” This, to me, is one of the keys to unlocking the power we have to counteract our collective destructive behavior.

MR: How do you do your little bit?

Jodi: I reuse the hell out of everything. For example, I get this great yogurt in these great glass jars and I use them as vases because they are simple, elegant shapes. They also served as a snail estuary for the girls this summer…we poked some holes in the top and observed the climbing habits of periwinkles. Also, I believe in second chances for everyone and everything. This is another key on the ring for unlocking the power of the future. We deserve another chance to make things right for the environment.

 

 This picture is one of the many gorgeous pieces made by Jodi and Adam using broken bits…a toy plastic plane in a mixed media setting, paint, stamps, maps and postcards.


MR: What’s your favorite book?

Jodi: Geek Love…a story about the beauty of imperfection and what lengths we will go to for love. Also The Jungle by Upton Sinclair..

MR: What is your favorite movie?

Jodi: Dancer in the Dark with Bjork…big fan.

MR: What is your sign?

Jodi: Cancer

MR: Who is your favorite singer/songwriter?

Jodi: Bjork and the Postal Service

MR: Who are your heroes?

Jodi: Ed Begley Jr. and the founder/owner of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard.

MR: What kind of car do you drive?

Jodi: An ’88 Mercedes wagon for local travel and Mini Cooper for commutes. We're a two car home..I would love to change that…to not need one at all.

MR: If you could have your dream job what would it be?

Jodi: If I could sustain a living on making art and user experiences. What I do now is pretty dreamy- I make things good or better and that’s a pretty cool job as it is. I would work with you full-time actually on the Earth Savers Gang.

MR: What Earth Savers Gang character are you and why?

Jodi: I’m Penelope but I love Olivia. I like both of them. I love Olivia's sensitivity and her listening but in terms of my doing, I am more like Penelope, taking old things and reusing them with an artist's mind and heart.

MR: If you were to create your own Earth Saver hero…who would it be?

Jodi: I’d be the Rusty Crusty Saver. That’s what I would call myself…savior of broken rusty things that need a second chance at life.

MR: Was this interview fun for you? why?

Jodi: Yes..I love talking about this. It’s nice to be able to articulate the things I hold in my heart because very few people actually ask.

MR: If you were to leave our readers with a thought, what would it be?

Jodi: Before you throw something away, look to see if it can have another life…give it a second chance. They're not so different from you and me. Like us human beings, we need a second chance to make things right again with the earth.

For more interviews with movers & shakers by Monica, visit Earth-Saver Gang Blog

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