Village Building Convergence

I am floating on a cloud of inspiration and joy! ❤

Traveled up to the beautiful forests of Portland, OR to run the waste management at City Repair‘s Village Building Convergence.vbc logo

A 10-day Community Building, Permaculture Action, Paradigm Shifting Festival where neighbors came together with visitors to create community spaces that feature public art, gathering places, permaculture gardens and natural building in a process they call “placemaking”.

During the day there were 40+ hands-on Community Action projects around the city and at night we all came together for workshops, delicious meals, dance and play.


The first day of festivities I coordinated a River Clean Up along the Willamette River in partnership with Solve Oregon, Surfrider Portland Chapter and The VBC. 

kateandsarah  river clean up rivercleanup

We gathered trash to clean the river bank and to collect material for trash art or “Tart” to be created throughout the week. Picking up trash feels like a treasure hunt, looking for interesting colors, textures and beauty in discarded materials. Here is a picture of the sorted trash (aka free art materials:) from the river clean up.


I call this trash picking practice Tart Waste Management. Creating trash art to get people to think about the life cycle of the materials they come across in their daily lives.  Everyday new friends would come together and create art out of these discarded materials. Here is a picture of Kate & Eric about to cut up some trash and some trash found on my walks around Ladd’s Addition.


For the waste management during the festival we put out Compost and Recycle receptacles to make it easier for attendees to know what goes where and to encourage conversations about the absence of trash.

recycle compost

The VBC was the most inspiring gathering I have ever attended. All of the people there were so loving, warm and divinely activated! I am filled with gratitude for being welcomed so open heartily into their inspiring community.

Combing our love for the whimsical trees of Oregon we began creating this tree mosaic out of the “trash”. IMG_8634 IMG_8641IMG_8650

Kin-necting and working the passionate people of the VBC made my overwhelming feelings regarding the state of the world subside a little. I kept thinking, wow! Here are some people living their values and effectively engaging and inspiring future leaders!

The festival was so close to zero waste! They used reusable plates and utensils for dinner (many thanks to all the dishwashers!), they had stainless steel city repair cups at the event for sale and the plastic solo cups they did have were cleaned and reused. There was hardly any trash created at the festival, but the two main trash items were coconut bliss bar packaging and Plastic solo cups for serving beer and komubcha.

I really wanted to figure out something we could do with the Solo cups and came up with the idea to create Han Solo and tie him and the tree piece together with saying “May the Forest be with You” ❤ Infinite gratitude to all the beautiful souls hat came together to create this art!

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The last day of the convergence was the most inspiring day for me! In the morning I went over to “Share-it Square” to help re-paint their intersection and to get a tour from Mark Lakeman, the founder of City Repair, of all the beautiful things they had done in their neighborhood to create a living community.

Touring around the neighborhood made me feel like I had been transported into an enchanting ecotopia! Cisterns, grey water systems, cob structures (benches, saunas, chicken palace), solar powered t-stations, kids play houses, information stations, gates joining neighbors yards, community compost system, gardens, green roofs, shared art spaces, and best of all a community swing! 🙂 They are taking steps towards going 100% off the grid while still living in the city!

cisterns cob bench pri  tstation chickenpalace thorse

The hub of all this activation is The Planet Repair Institute, where they had the first VBC 15 years ago.

Here is a video of the intersection painting this year.

The day after the festival a bunch of us all got together at Kelley Point Park to celebrate, swim and relax along the river.


My friend Kirk and I picked up trash along the shore and created this fairy home together. ❤ 🙂


The next step is to bring this inspiring convergence back to my own community in San Luis Obispo 🙂



Check out this video of Mark Lakeman talking about the VBC and the roots of City Repair and the Village Building Convergence:


Sending infinite love ❤

Sarah Bellum


Art X Trash X Manufacturers

Let’s start with a quote from Annie Leonard, CEO of GreenPeace and Creator of Story of Stuff;

“For decades, the producers of disposable packaging and products have tried to say it’s our fault that their toxic throwaway junk litters our landscapes, fouls our waters, and kills fish and wildlife. Their most ingenious and insidious effort was the iconic “Crying Indian” ad, which showed a supposedly Native American man (actually, an Italian-American actor) paddling a canoe through a trash-strewn river. As he walks along the shore, a passenger in a passing car throws a bag of trash out the window. A single tear rolls down his cheek as the narrator intones: “People start pollution. People can stop it.”

The ad first aired in 1971 and had a huge impact on a generation awakening to the environmental crisis. We watched it over and over, shared the faux-Indian’s grief, and vowed to make changes in our individual lives to stop pollution. That was exactly what the ad’s creators wanted, since the ad was produced by the garbage-makers themselves.

The ad was part of a strategic effort to brand waste as a problem that should be solved not by stricter regulations, but exclusively by getting individuals to feel responsible and focus on changing their day-to-day habits.” – Annie Leonard


Putting the responsibility onto the people instead the corporations manufacturing the waste causes not only environmental harm but lays a huge burden on the people of this Earth. People everywhere struggle with guilt and anger towards themselves and others for our over consumptive culture.

When in reality the manufacturers producing materials that don’t break down in nature need to take responsibility for their waste. The Earth works by building up and breaking down. A tree flowers, fruits, falls and returns nutrients back to the earth as it decomposes into the soil. Huge companies are creating materials that take thousands of years to break down and rapid consumption has caused these materials to pile up in the ocean and landfills.

zero waste system

One way to combat these synthetic materials from over taking your community is to ban them through policy change. An example of a material that needs to be banned is #6 polystyrene, also known as “styrofoam”. It is not recycled in San Luis Obispo county and is filling up the ocean and landfill at an ever increasing rate.

This past weekend we had a Surfrider X ECO SLO beach clean up at Sandspit in Montana de Oro. Tons of volunteers came out and we picked up almost 300 pounds of trash in 3 hours!  Bottle caps, cigarette butts, balloons, bottles and TONS of little pieces of polystyrene.

With the advice from artist and activist Peggy Oki, I am starting a visual petition called ” Own your waste”. A petition to get manufacturers to take responsibility for the waste they create. If I find a piece of trash on the beach that says “skittles” on the wrapper, I think Skittles brand should  Own Their Waste and pay a littering fine.

Here are some pictures from my visual petition attention to the manufacturers who are creating the waste:

Be a part of the “own your waste” visual petition: Take a picture with trash that you pick up on the street, beach, creek, etc and send it to me to add to the visual petition.

I was so astounded by the amount of trash we collected at the clean up I took some of it home with me and created a trash rainbow 🙂 I love revaluing materials and creating something happy out of refuse. The white clouds are completely made from polystyrene pieces. Everything was found on Sandspit , a beach that by first glance seems very clean.


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XOXO Sarah Bellum

❤ ❤

Creative Space

Do you have a space where you are inspired by the people around you? Do you have a space where you feel free to create with no distractions? What kind of space does that look like for you?


I have been dreaming about developing my sewing skills and connecting with other people around SLO who share my obsession with fiber arts and creative energy in general. At first I thought the answer would be to have a craft night at my house, invite some crafty people over and cook some food. While it was a good time, the creative energy and high productivity that I crave wasn’t there.

I want to create a space similar to my partner, Scott’s sign painting meetings that he attends every Tuesday night. His group is full of passionate and skilled sign painters that meet once a week in a badass warehouse where they can create openly with plenty of space and no distractions. I have been determined to find a space that people can come and work on fiber arts projects, free of distractions and full of creative vibes and passionate people.

My partner Scott turned me onto SLO Makerspace, a warehouse full of creative people and incredible tools!  SLO MakerSpace is a community resource dedicated to education and creativity. It is an open, collaborative machine/wood/electronics shop and craft center where one can build projects; teach and take classes; and build networks connecting with local people and resources.  I set up a work trade with them so I can use the warehouse whenever I want. We are going to host a Stitch and Bitch every monday night at the warehouse and I am so STOKED! makerspace Makerspaces are popping up in cities across the nation gifting people everywhere with a space to create. Click here to find a makerspace in your area! 

Surrounding myself with creative passionate people will definitely make my art grow to new heights! I am excited to share my new project with you all next week!


XOXO Sarah Bellum

Raw Sculpture Experiment

A couple years ago my boyfriend Scott and our friend Vassar made an interactive art sculpture in our front yard.  This Public art brought together our community in a FUN new way.


 The installation was a huge billboard and an 8 ft rectangle box with a four panels of plywood along the outside. Vassar painted a huge arm in a cast on the billboard with the words “sign my cast” inviting everyone to stop and be a part of the installation. It even showed up in the local newspaper!

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The first night we had all our friends over for a huge party and had a blast. Painting and allowing the creative juices to flow.

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We had tables, paint and lights set up so everyone could paint on it and have FUN.

After the party was over we decided we wanted to have a similar community art day every week, so every Thursday we would get together and paint all day and into the night.

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People slowed down when they passed by our house and it always made people Smile. If we were out there painting we would always invite them to grab a brush and join us. Kids faces would light up and they would get super excited to participate. We supplied chalk for the really little ones. 

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 This community art experiment made me realize that open participation and creativity without boundaries truly brings people together. The box was dynamic and always changing. Layers upon layers of paint, each person painting on top of whatever was already there.

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People in the community loved it and we kept in the front yard for months (until we got notified to take it down). We still have it in the backyard and bring it out occasionally for special events, sometimes we even transport it!

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Public Art brings communities together in a fun way and builds a strong foundation of interconnectedness.


The joy caused by our neighborhood art box will always inspire me to create and share with people around me.

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 We are all interconnected and we are all in this together.

XOXO Sarah Bellum

scott and vassar sign my castgood times

Water’s right to flow free

In a world where everything is cased
in disposable plastic waste
the elegant creatures of the sea
are choking on plastic debris.
I take a step back and shift my perspective
on materials deemed worthless, unwanted and defective.
cleaning and crocheting trash into fun
never stopping until our single-use addiction is done
banned forever! never more!
change begins here on shore. 
change begins with you and me
protecting waters right to flow free. 

XOXO Sarah Bellum

yarn bomb heelsYarn bombing is FUN! My bike is next! 😉

up-cycled sweater yarn

Bag to Bikini Photo Shoot 2014

Waste Less, Live More! 
Photography: Hayley Marie Photography & Liam Photography
Models: Chase Kennedy, Candice Clements, Kyliegh Grant, & Christina Riordan
Special Thanks to: Jackie Vanderveer, Johnny Kenny & Nick Del Giorgio
Avila Beach Bikini Fest 2014
Sarah Bellums 
Eco Bikinis

Sarah Bellum X West Coast X Hoop Cam

The Mission of Sarah Bellums eco designs is to transform harmful waste into functional and fun beauty. By revaluing trash, I hope to inspire people to start using reusable products and take an active role in protecting our shared and limited resource, WATER. *Bikinis handmade from up-cycled plastic bags*

Waste Less, Live More.

**Please watch in HD for best quality**