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Visit to Reuse Center in Seattle: Seattle Recreative

ACR board secretary and regular volunteer Karen Miller recently had the opportunity to visit Seattle and found the gem, Seattle Recreative.  


Caption: Seattle Recreative’s storefront on Greenwood Avenue. Photo source: Ian McGregor




I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel the world in my job as an environmental engineer. When I travel to new places, I try to eat local foods, hike, and visit other reuse centers for inspiration and to meet like-minded members of the reuse tribe.

Recently, I visited Seattle Recreative, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting creativity, community and environmental stewardship through creative reuse & art education. Seattle Recreative (SR) has a very similar feel and history as Austin Creative Reuse (ACR) in that they’ve operated in their 2,100-sf storefront for about five years (ACR has had their storefront for a little more than 4 years and is in 1,800-sf, not including Suite 1301). Both ACR and SR have around 10 employees and process on average 15,000 lb of donations per month. Both centers are bursting at the seams and haven’t seriously pursued business donations due to a lack of space to display the donations.




Marva Holmes in Seattle Recreative’s Maker Space arranging items for a social media photo shoots




Jenna Boitano, Executive Director and Co-Founder of SR, generously answered all my questions and provided a tour of SR. She comes to the reuse world via serving as Executive Director of Crayons2Calculators and serving on the board of The Scrap Exchange, both in Durham, NC. I also met Marva Holmes, Education Manager and Lead Teacher. 








The Playspace has is full of materials, providing endless opportunities for exploration and creativity.


One of the most charming aspects of SR is their Creative Playspace, which is open every hour the center is, and offers an opportunity for young children to develop their imaginations in a social environment.  

The Playspace allows children the opportunity to initiate independent play and explore their ideas in an informal group setting with their peers.







Seattle Recreative’s Paint Playground




Adjacent to the playspace is the toddler classroom where the walls and floor are covered with paper for the Paint Playground, open every Monday through Friday mornings, offering young children the chance to paint to their hearts’ content. 









One of the many creative display solution


SR has a wonderful retail center selling various reuse arts and crafts items. Some of their displays are very creative and pleasing to the eye.











Another of the many creative merchandising displays.














SR’s instructions to create alcohol inks out of dried up markers.


I especially enjoyed the poster with directions on how to make your own alcohol inks out of dried-out markers, and I purchased a marker (only 5 cents!) to make my own at home. (Update: ink has been made and appears to be very vibrant. However, I have not yet had the chance to deploy the ink on a project). 








If you find yourself in Seattle, please consider visiting Seattle Recreative!

2018 Annual Report

ACR Annual Report 18-19 (4) (1)



ACR Road Trip: Reuse Centers Around Texas


Over Memorial Day weekend, staff and board members of Austin Creative Reuse got a big dose of inspiration. We visited two amazing nonprofits with conservation and reuse missions. We brought home fresh ideas we can implement here, a stronger network of reuse centers in Central Texas, and a new appreciation for our awesome team and everything that makes ACR.


We also brought home 800 lbs of graduation tassels…why? Read on….






“Fill a Classroom Not a Landfill”

Our first stop was the Welman Project in Ft Worth.  Welman was born back in 2008 when Vanessa Barker saw a massive load of “instant snow” heading for the landfill at her first job (New York fashion show producer) and diverted it to her second job (pre-school teacher). After moving back home to Texas, she and her childhood best friend Taylor Willis co-founded the Welman Project and have been on a mission to “fill a classroom, not a landfill” ever since. A true labor of love, Welman Project is fueled by dedicated volunteers who sort and re-distribute materials in a 1500 sq. foot warehouse year round – with no air conditioning!

Much like us, they spend lots of time sorting materials and coming up with creative uses.  Welman provides all materials to educators for FREE, and expenses like rent, utilities, staff, and donation pickup are funded primarily by grants and individual donations.

Just recently, they’ve been able to grow their staff to 4 people, allowing them to serve many more educators and significantly increase their programming.  Welman is *only* open to educators, who register with their credentials when they come to “shop” the free stuff.



We heard tons of great ideas from Vanessa and Taylor. They:

  • …have repurposed a school bus for material pick up and distribution
  • …create curriculum and supply materials for 45 after school programs
  • ….loan our party supplies, displays and event materials
  • …host a “tailgate” party attracts over 100 educators (with 300 more on the waiting list who can’t fit into the parking lot!). Teachers load up their cars with classroom materials while enjoying donated bbq and beer.
  • …received two 18-wheelers full of graduation gowns and tassels.  If you see bins full of tassels at ACR, now you know why!
  • …have been best friends since pre-school. Awwww <3 🙂














We’re excited to implement some of these ideas, and inspired by their educator focus. We’ll keep brainstorming about how we can do more for teachers – while maintaining our mission to serve *everyone* who wants to creatively reuse.


Follow the Welman project on Instagram and Facebook. If you’re in the Ft. Worth area, support them by volunteering.


Pioneering Creative Reuse in Denton

SCRAP is one of the first Creative Reuse Centers in the US. Started in Portland (well, of course!), SCRAP now has centers in Humboldt, Ann Arbor, Richmond, Baltimore and Denton.  Scrap Denton works a lot like ACR:  they take donations from businesses and individuals, sort, package them, and offer them for sale in their center at a fraction of the cost new.  


We loved SCRAP’s appealing displays (and envied their bright, spacious center environment!). Programming was also a real inspiration here. They’ve got a lovely workshop space up front where they host:

  • Summer camps
  • Birthday parties
  • Workshops for adults and kids
  • Craft meet-ups
  • Gallery shows

We’re looking forward to increasing this type of programming when we have a in-center workshop space of our own.


If you visit Denton, you will feel right at home and find lots of great materials in a bright, spacious environment. SCRAP Denton, just like ACR, is powered by lots of volunteers who come in to bring the value back into these materials.   Check out what they’re doing on Facebook and Instagram











Reuse Collaboration  in Central Texas

We are so thoroughly impressed and inspired by both of these amazing organizations.  We hope to collaborate with both of them in the future -you never know when two semi-trucks full of creative reuse materials will show up at our doors, and it’s nice to know folks who can share the bounty :). We plan to keep the ideas flowing by hosting a quarterly call with our new friends, and hope they’ll visit us in Austin soon to meet more of you!


Thanks to all of our loyal customers and volunteers for your patience while we closed for this mini-road trip. It was so valuable for members of our team to spend time together away from the busy center. We came back with gratitude for everything that makes ACR so special, and renewed energy to keep growing conservation and reuse with our awesome community here.


Welcome to our Interim Executive Director!

Cory Skuldt

Dear Austin Creative Reuse Community,

I am delighted to join you as Interim Executive Director from December 2018 through May 2019. My history with the organization goes back to the early days of pre-center fundraising, and I have a deep admiration for all that ACR has accomplished since that time!

Here’s a bit about my background: I bring 15+ years of experience in nonprofit, social enterprise, and business management to the role, with connections to environmental conservation, community education, and the arts.   I’ve been supporting nonprofits and purpose-driven businesses in consulting and Interim ED roles for the past 3 years. I specialize in circular economy strategies, and I have worked with clothing brands, textile recyclers, manufacturers, and nonprofit organizations of all kinds.  

I also served as co-director at Treasure City (a local thrift store and reuse organization) for 9 years, and as co-founder of Skillshare Austin and Boston Skillshare. My educational background  includes an MBA in Sustainability, a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership in Management, and BFA in studio art and event production. You can learn more about my background at about my consulting practice at

The top priority for an Interim Executive Director is to support an organization through a period of growth or transition. I’ll be working in collaboration with ACR’s board, staff and volunteers to build on your success, and position the organization for even bigger impact going forward. The community that has coalesced around ACR is clearly it’s most powerful driver – I look forward to getting to know each of you, and learning more about your visions for ACR’s future!

All my best,



Artist Spotlight: Jess aka Will Crochet

How did you start creating art and what is your medium?
My medium is crochet and I started crocheting about 15 years ago. I started off making scarves and blankets, but quickly became interested in putting pieces out on the street. My first street pieces were all about adding something beautiful or quirky to everyday street objects. I added leaves to stop signs, making them look like flowers, stapled granny squares to telephone poles, and glued lace to streetlight boxes. In the run up to the 2016 election, I started putting out pieces with a political message, and found many like-minded individuals involved in craftivism on Instagram. I am a life-long musician and I never thought that I would take up the visual arts. However, since the election, I have really evolved my practice, and I have given myself permission to consider myself an artist and use my medium artistically. I am interested in making landscapes, primarily of the Big Bend area, and layered sculptural pieces (like the one I put out in front of the shop!).

I put up a telephone pole piece along the March on Science route last year and this year I have been putting up cats and dinosaurs with speech bubbles that say “Vote.” I collaborate with another crocheter, @Mrsprofessorcrochet (on Instagram), to make larger projects; she and I put up the “Be Nice” piece on the fence above the Lamar underpass, and we are working on another big installation for that fence, so keep an eye out! 
How does reuse play a part in your art?
This year I made a commitment to purchase only second hand yarn or natural fibers. I’m very concerned with climate change and since synthetic yarn is a petroleum product, my medium directly contributes to the consumption of fossil fuels. I feel good using yarn that I know would have been in a landfill if I didn’t buy it. Before learning about Austin Creative Reuse (ACR), I bought yarn from second-hand retailers and I worked for a larger second-hand chain for several years when I first moved to Austin, so reuse has been important to me for a long time.
I have been making crochet cacti to sell at markets around Austin, and all of the yarn that I use to make those is from ACR.
Why reuse?  Conservation, sentimentalism, another story? 
Science is real, climate change is real, and I believe that we all need to make lifestyle changes in order to ensure that our planet is here for our children and grandchildren. I advocate for reuse as well as riding instead of driving. I am a daily bus commuter and I use my commute time to crochet. I have a hashtag on Instagram #capmetrocrochet and I invite anyone who crochets on the bus to post to that hashtag! This summer all K-12 children ride for free, so I encourage you to plan family trips using the bus! You can map your trip using one of the Maps apps on your phone by choosing the public transportation option. Imagine the impact on Austin traffic if all of us chose to ride the bus, bike or walk just once a week rather than drive! 
What excites you about shopping at ACR?
Let me count the ways that shopping at ACR excites me! First, you never know what you are going to find, so it’s always a fun surprise to see what is in the shop that week. Second, there is a lot of vintage yarn in colors that you just cannot find at retail stores. Third, I have found absolutely beautiful fibers (alpaca, organics, bamboo, silk, etc.) that I could never afford retail and it’s so exciting to find multiple skeins for less than you would pay for one skein. Finally, it feels so good to know that your purchase helps keep items out of landfills.
Where can we find out more about your art?
I’m most active on Instagram, where I post about the items I make for markets as well as the pieces I put out on the streets of Austin. I live in South Austin, so I put up a lot of work in the South Lamar area. 
@MrsProfessorCrochet and I are planning to start a crochet meetup at the Austin Central Library and we would also love to get a yarnbomb collective started to work on larger scale installations, so please send either of us a direct message on Instagram if you are interested – the more the merrier!  
Please send a few pictures of yourself and/or your artwork to show. 
See embedded and attached.  If you choose to use the “Nevertheless, she persisted” photo, please credit Robert Safuto at @knowatx for the photo (I have his permission to use). All other photos are mine.
Instagram = @willcrochet
Facebook = @willcrochetart
Etsy = Will Crochet Art

City of Austin Recognizes ACR as Platinum Level Austin Green Business Leader

ACR is delighted to announce that we have been recognized once again by the City of
Austin as a Platinum Level Austin Green Business Leader for our continued
commitment to sustainability practices and the impactful steps we have taken to
help Keep Austin Green. The Austin Green Business Leaders program recognizes
local business and organizations that protect the environment, enhance the
community, support local culture and maintain a healthy workplace. ACR is the only
organization in the history of the Austin Green Business Leaders to receive a perfect
score on the Community Stewardship section of the evaluation! We are so grateful
for the amazing community that has grown up around ACR and our Center and for
the opportunity to bring our vision out into the greater Austin community through
our committed team of staff, volunteers and board members.
You can learn more about ACR’s Sustainability Vision and Commitments over here
[link to or however you
typically like to do the links]. Find out more about the Austin Green Business
Leaders Program at



Celebrate Pride Month

Here are some ways to support Pride Month and a great way to reuse or repurpose items you have. Enjoy!

Rainbow zipper bracelet

Welcome April Kling Meyer to the Board of Directors

ACR would like to welcome our newest Board Member, April Kling Meyer.  April will be heading up our Community Outreach Committee.  Her focus will be on capturing and sharing the ACR story on a local and national level.

April Kling Meyer is a multi-disciplinary creative and hobbyist. She began quilting at age 8, and began designing her own formalwear and making her own clothes at the age of 15.

April’s career has covered many facets of media, marketing, and publicity. In Austin, she is best known for her former Chronicle Award-winning fabric retail at Fabricker, as well as her philanthropic work with Art From the Streets, Fusebox (with SOS: Sewn on the Street and Future Factory Austin at thinkEAST), New Milestones Foundation, and Girl Scouts of Central Texas.


May Craft Night – Upcycled Cactus Planters

One of our favorite reuse crafts, upcycled cactus gardens.  We all wind up with ceramic cups, bowls and serving pieces that are cracked or chipped.  Too precious to send to the landfill so we must find a way to reuse instead.  For our May craft night, we pulled together some of those adorable containers and long with a bit of potting soil, cactus cuttings and a ceramic drill bit to come up with something special.  We added a bit of flare to each container by digging around bucket.  Adding a small toy, some pretty rocks or even an tiny Christmas ornament can really up to cute factor.  



2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Tel: (512) 375-3041