Walking into The Green Palette, a wooden table wrapped around a tall tree sticks out like a green thumb.
Owner Marc Anthony created the tree from all sustainable materials: pallet wood, bark and reindeer moss.
The Green Palette is a sustainable design furniture store that promotes sustainable living, according to its website. The store had its grand opening on Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14 at its 215 Main St. location.
Anthony said he would use this space to host “Green Minds” workshops as a way to teach customers how to become “more green conscientious.”
He said his idea for green workshops was an expansion of a concept used by 3rd Ward, a Brooklyn-based company.
“I expanded on the concept keeping it all about using recycled, reclaimed or sustainable materials,” Anthony said. “When I saw what they were doing I wanted to open up a store where we could have workshops with kids and at the same time sell amazing sustainably made pieces of furniture.”
Anthony said he had the opportunity to build his store when his family moved to New Paltz after his wife got a job in the Education Department at SUNY New Paltz. Anthony said he was pleased with the turnout of the grand opening.
“It went pretty well,” Anthony said. “We had a pretty nice turnout with the kids coming to the sustainable arts classes.”
Anthony said he will host green workshops which will link philosophical mathematics and art. Anthony said using Leonardo Fibonacci’s theory of number sequences to create storage boxes from cereal boxes is an example of the sort of workshop customers can experience at The Green Palette. He said the workshops he creates are essentially lesson plans using sustainable materials.
For the first workshop, children used egg cartons to cut out geometrical shapes and paint them.
Wendy Troman, 44, and her daughter Gillian, 13, attended the workshop and said they enjoyed the experience.
“The egg carton project we did was creative. It reminded me of the arts and crafts classes my mom used to teach at our old home in Pennsylvania,” Gillian said. “We always tried to reuse materials from around the house, especially from the recycling bin, to make new things.”
Anthony said he hopes to move out of the 600 square ft. location by next year to comfortably hold more workshops. He said he wants his store to be a place for children to experience art since the budget cuts at New Paltz schools have left children and their parents scrambling to find a creative outlet.
Troman said she thinks this store was needed to cater to the artistic community in New Paltz and to foster a more environmentally friendly attitude in the area.
“Yes, we think New Paltz needs a store like this because a lot of creative people live here and the arts and crafts projects inspire kids and adults to come up with new uses for old junk instead of tossing it into the landfill,” Troman said.
Anthony also said he plans on hosting Pallet Puppet Theatre to teach children new languages. Students can make puppets from sustainable materials and one child will be chosen to tell a story with his or her puppet using that language.
Anthony said Spanish will be the first language children can learn. He will tell a story in Spanish first to familiarize the students with the language. The workshop will run for four weeks before a new language is chosen. Anthony said an important aspect of learning a foreign language is the oral communication. The puppets will stimulate conversation to help children better understand the language, Anthony said.
“Puppets are one of the best ways to learn foreign languages for kids or adults,” Anthony said. “Unfortunately, [children] have no one to talk to. The puppets allow us to create a voice.”
Anthony also wants to include college students in his workshops. Students will be given a chance to attend workshops and build furniture for their dorms or houses with recycled pallets. He said the students don’t need a background in mathematics because he plans to teach them those skills and help them cut and put together the wood.
“We’re not looking to get rich off of it,” Anthony said. “Hopefully kids can see garbage and see it as art.”