Author Archives: Jen Mack

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.

 

WE’RE HIRING!!

Title:  Clerk (Part-time, 20-30 hours)

Possible schedule: Evening Shift approx. 2pm-9pm, including one weekend day

Wage: $13.50

Reports to: Shift Lead

Who We Are

Austin Creative Reuse is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to foster conservation and reuse through creativity, education, and community building.

  • We collect, distribute, and sell reusable materials donated from industry and individuals.
  • We educate the community about how to reduce, reuse, and create in responsible and fun ways. We make instructional kits, have a library of design and art ideas, and share these online and in-store.
  • We unite the community by hosting a range of events, activities, and classes that bring people together to build awareness around conscious consumption, sustainability, and art
  • We promote awareness of like-minded organizations to reduce overlap and increase awareness of city resources.

What We Offer

  • Fun, creative and collaborative environment that will give you great experience working in the non-profit industry and with a diverse staff and volunteer population.
  • Ability to expand role based on interest and skill set.  

What You’ll Do

The Austin Creative Reuse Clerk is friendly, personable, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Austin Creative Reuse and our mission. This is a vital role as you will be the first and last contact for customers visiting the center. You will be greeting customers as they enter the center and helping customers check out quickly. An Austin Creative Reuse clerk will become familiar with center pricing and will use sound judgement to complete transactions. You will use Square to process credit card sales and be able to handle money for cash sales.  You will engage the customer about their experience in the center and let them know about making financial donations, future programs and events.

  • Greet new customers and introduce them to the center and current programming.
  • Main point person for the register and front of the center.
  • Manage all aspects of customer transactions including making sure that transaction data is accurately entered into the cash register.
  • Follow opening/closing procedures for center and register
  • Engage and participate in a growing, expanding non-profit helping to develop and provide feedback of new programming and procedures.
  • Physical Requirements: Push/pull merchandise with appropriate equipment to and from backroom and sales floor. Lift, place, and arrange items on shelves and racks. Bend down and reach above head. Climb and descend ladder. Stand during an entire shift (other than normal break time).

What You’ll Bring

We are looking for amazing people with diverse backgrounds and a genuine passion for creativity and reuse. Our ideal candidates will be comfortable talking about crafting materials and dealing with pricing questions.  We expect our clerks to:

  • Be outstanding at customer service.
  • Be efficient at checking out customers quickly.
  • Have excellent organizational skills and attention to detail, especially dealing with register.
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Be able to juggle multiple tasks and work in an active non profit environment

Qualifications

  • Previous customer service and cashier experience
  • Basic knowledge of Point of Sales Systems and cash drawer reconciliation
  • Basic computer skills including knowledge of email, Microsoft Office, and google drive
  • Minimum: High School Diploma or Equivalent.

The above is intended to describe the general content of the requirements for the performance of this job. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities or requirements.

To Apply

Please submit your resume and tailored cover letter online to info@austincreativereuse.org

We review applications on a rolling basis, so it is to your advantage to apply as soon as possible.  We will not consider applications without a cover letter tailored to this position.

At Austin Creative Reuse, we believe that diversity makes us stronger and challenges us to think differently every day. Austin Creative Reuse  provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status or disability.

Learn More

Austin Creative Reuse: https://www.austincreativereuse.org/

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 coryskuldt.blog about my consulting practice at fwdimpact.com.

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,

Cory

 

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 https://www.austincreativereuse.org/about-us/sustainability/ or however you
typically like to do the links]. Find out more about the Austin Green Business
Leaders Program at www.austingreenbusiness.com.

 

 

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.  

 

 

String Art for Dad

Father’s Day is soon, here is a great gift you can make for dad!

Materials:  A hammer, nails, wood board, and string. ACR has plenty of string for this project!

 

 

 

 

To do:  Print a template of your choice. You can use words or photos. Outline the picture or words with nails leaving at least half of a centimeter to wrap your string.  When done outlining, remove the paper template, then choose your favorite color string to start wrapping.  You can wrap the string in any directions to complete your work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can even wrap the string in the negative space! 

6406 N. IH35 #1801, Austin, TX 78752
Hours: Wed/Th 10am-8pm, Fri/Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm
Tel: (512) 375-3041