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When Powershop confirmed their order for recycled billboard bags, the first thought was 'sweet, this is going to be easy'.
Any ninny could create great bags from their stunner campaigns - this would be a cinch, the easiest project to date.

Award winning range of past campaigns by Powershop A brilliant Powershop ad campaign using artwork of Mrs Thatcher sharing some Christmas love

Whether it was using the campaigns above or the ones below, the artwork would ensure that this project could not go wrong.

Range of Powershop campaign artwork   Range of Powershop campaign artwork

Then came the news that the campaigns were two of Trump and one featuring a nuclear protest, and all were oversized.
A standard billboard is 6m x 3m and weighs a manageable 16kgs.

The billboard skins after they had been taken down.
Oversized campaigns meant the pile of canvas awaiting collection weighed in at a whopper 75kgs.

Tricky enough to manoeuvre at ground level, these sumos had been wrestled with up and down a Wellington skyscraper:
The amazing skill and bravery on show by the team at This Way Up Ltd using a cherry picker and abseil talents.
Given the comparison in tasks, no point grumbling and easy to forgive with all of Wellington's wind and rain,
that once back on terra firma, the canvas was heavily creased and full of slime. They had also been 'dealt to'
with a staple gun but since staples can be recycled too, best just to get on with it and 'make it work'!

A range of characters that understand that it ain't easy being green.   Metiria Turei and James Shaw
It was super good of Powershop to save their billboards and allocate a budget to re-use them.
All that was needed, was to call to mind a few mentors, who well understood the challenges of being green.

Here were the campaigns in digital format:
Powershop's Baby Trump campaign with the text 'Power you can love'.

Powershop's Electricity vs Power campaign of small NZ sailors at sea meeting America's nuclear submarines.

And here is what they look like in the flesh:
Baby Trump's arm looking more like multiple bums once cut down to size.
Due to the size of the image, innocent sections of baby Trump's arm morphed into questionable body parts.

Powershop's Baby Trump's thumb looking like... a dick!
And then there was the thumb!

The Electricity vs Power campaign also looked different when viewed close up:
Close up view of billboard artwork when printed for high rise buildings.

Mired in a sea of smelly wet canvas in the middle of a thoroughly wet winter,
I pictured the team at Powershop in their cosy fun-filled office and onesie power suits...

Powershop's onesie power suits.   Powershop staff at work.
Fair enough too - it takes a sense of humour and serious talent to make paying for electricity feel like good fun!
And that is what they do. Every week there are amusing deals and fun little packets of power to choose from.

And as it turned out, the sheer volume of all the canvas was a blessing...
The billboards once cut down to more manageable sizes with my trusty dog at my side.
It was kindly providing work that allowed me to be with my elderly dog, Jack, the Jack Russell.
A month or so shy of 17, he was becoming all the more precious with each and every day.
Being able to hang out with each other 24/7 was a gift and well worthy of smiling about, despite all the wrinkles of old age.

Wash day at HQ is always a talking point for the neighbours.
Once cut down to size and scrubbed clean, a corner had been turned and all was coming together nicely.

Jack, the Jack Russell say's his final farewell's to his friends and family.
Jack though was showing signs that our time together was running out. His Granny loaned us money to barter for a bit more
time with the latest in vet care and I decided that with what time we had left, he'd have my full attention. We'd go on a
tour of all his favourite parks and he'd be fed whatever his failing heart desired. Work went out the window.

Jack rolling overJack rolling overJack rolling overJack rolling overJack happy

And when time ran out a few weeks later, he died a natural death in my arms and on my lap, in the early hours of 27 June.
He pooped and peeed on me and I thanked him for being my friend for as long as he could.

The final farewell in handing him over into the care of a crematory.
We'd been a pack of two and a right pair.
I could count the number of nights we'd ever spent apart on a single hand, and I regretted them all.
Handing him over into the care of the crematory broke me.

The vet referred to him as a 'she' and I could barely string the words together to say he was a 'he'.
I got it. They were busy; their world was still turning. America's Cup was once again NZ's cup; they were happy.

On being cremated, he was returned to me in a bag with a label that had question marks after his name.

Sticker with question marks after Jack's name.

Inside was a box and a certificate with the name Chantall.
So bereaved as still find talking difficult, I sent a text to my mum to say I thought I had the wrong ashes.

I couldn't take anymore sadness and cycled home with what little energy I had left. On arrival, I locked the door behind
me and drew the curtains. By now NZ was celebrating the rugby world cup and I wasn't in the mood for any of it.

The ashes.

Perhaps to test for intellect, Jack's name was placed under the bow- Chantall was the name of the person in attendance.
Still not believing it was really him, I examined the ashes and sure enough found bits of his coat, tennis ball, and metal joints.

Relieved, but not wanting to deal with the outside world, a good two weeks further was spent with just the two of us.
No internet and no visitors. Just two friends catching up on sleep and helpful books. It was still winter and it felt right.

That is so long as I didn't think about work. In the end, there was nothing to do but tell Powershop the truth and offer to
make it right. To their credit, they were wonderfully good about it all so it was time to get going again.

Off cuts left over from the recycling of Powershop's billboards.
The off cuts were rounded up and I bid them farewell too.
Oversized and orange-tinted belly buttons and nipples were a step too far for turning into bags.
They had to go, so together with all the off-cuts, they were taken to a TransPacific recycling station.

The 'hair' however, was put aside and saved. As for what use... you'll soon find out.

The pile of rusting staples removed from the canvas.
For now, with all the staples removed, they too were sent on their merry way.

Given the journey and duration for the following bags to be made, feel free to join in with all involved to say...
Hallelujah and about blimmen time!

A recycled laptop bag made from Powershop's billboard campaign of Electricity vs Power A recycled laptop bag made out of Powershop's Electricity vs Power billboard campaign

A recycled laptop bag made out of Powershop's Electricity vs Power billboard campaign A recycled laptop bag made out of Powershop's Electricity vs Power billboard campaign.
Ah, yes... the flag known in all directions and on many a foreign shore, that it is sure to be closely followed by armed troops.
May this flag bag be the exception to the rule!

A recycled laptop bag made from Powershop's Electricity vs Power billboard campaign.   inside view of recycled billboard laptop bag made by
All the panels were matched and used throughout the bag to provide an easy to clean surface for the inevitable spill and splat.

Inside view Inside view of inner pockets and keyring holder
The back panel includes soft padding and inside are extra pockets and a handy keyring holder.

A recycled laptop bag made from Powershop's Electricity vs Power billboard campaign.   A recycled laptop bag made from Powershop's Electricity vs Power billboard campaign.
Ah... now look at that. Another US flag, that when teamed up with the power of pink, it's followed by a giant peace symbol.

A recycled laptop bag made from Powershop's Baby Trump billboard campaign.   A recycled laptop bag made from Powershop's Electricity vs Power billboard campaign.
A big thumb up indeed to the team at Powershop!

Recycled laptop bags made from Powershop's Baby Trump billboard campaign.   A recycled laptop bag made from Powershop's Electricity vs Power billboard campaign.
Set to be used as Powershop prizes, it is hoped that they all find a happy home.

Even the 'thumb' one:
The recycled laptop bag with a thumb that looks more like it was built into the campaign as a secret Da Vinci code.   Inside view of the bag with the 'thumb'.
Possibly the funniest Da Vinci code ever, but they took no credit, saying it was a genuine fluke.

May it bob and bounce its way around town, bringing cheer to many a commuter.

A recycled laptop bag made from Powershop's Baby Trump billboard campaign.
In total there were 65 bags made and a few were made using panels with artwork that had nothing to say.
And in doing so, offering the gift of silence for a moment of reflection.

Our thoughts and feelings are like politicians. Most come and go; some serve a good purpose and create the conditions for
happiness. Some we need to question and some are a reflection of what the majority are thinking. Some seemed like a
good idea at the time but then linger on and fester. Some we give too much attention and pay far more than they
deserve, and some if not helpful, we'd do well to let of. Those that work their way to the top using fear, lies, hate speech
and aggression need care and help.
Well funded mental health services are an investment in our collective well-being.

That's why the hair was saved and the off-cuts have been turned into tote bag fundraisers for
Live More Awesome, a fun-filled NZ charity working to break down the stigma around mental health.
Tote bags made out of the left-over pieces of billboard canvas.   Tote bag fundraiser for Live More Awesome.
Join in via the the Trade Me auction, which ends Friday, 1 December.

Thank you for reading. Thank you Powershop. Thank you Mum. Thank you Jack.
A thank you handshake with Jack, the Jack Russell.
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

-Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye
A team photo at Powershop, Wellington, NZ
Cheers to all at Powershop - a wonderfully pink powered team of people to work with and for.

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