Author Archives: Jen Mack

Austin Creative Reuse’s First Free Workshops


In the hustle and bustle of the capital of Texas, there lies a little spot where you can really get your creativity on.  Austin’s very own non-profit organization that collects, sells, and distributes donated reusable materials. Austin Creative Reuse believes in allowing everyone to get a chance to be creative.

Austin Creative Reuse received a grant to run a series of eight workshops.  The workshops are focused on creating art using reclaimed materials.  These hands-on events will consist of meeting a featured local artist, learning about his or her art form, and creating an individual or group project.

The first workshop “The Art of Reuse:  Upcycled Upholstery Tote Bags with Laura Mussell” will be held on November 17, 2016 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at The Linc — #1301 6406 N. IH 35 Austin, TX 78752.

This workshop is now full, thank you !

To be notified of future workshops, please sign up for our newsletter.

For more questions or concerns please reach out to

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.


Meet Our New Board Secretary, Karen Miller

Karen joined our board in October. You may recognize her face as she has been volunteering at the center for several months now.  Please join us in welcoming her to the Austin Creative Reuse Board of Directors.

Inspired by Gertrude Chandler Warner’s The Boxcar Children at an early age, Karen began diverting interesting and useful items from the landfill, thrifting, gardening, and refashioning at an early age. She has translated that interest into a career as a professional engineer with a focus on waste management, spill board-photo-karenprevention, risk assessment, and reduction of stormwater pollutant discharges from industrial facilities.

Karen began creative pursuits through scrapbooking her two children’s exploits. Through scrapbooking, she learned different techniques related to color theory, the use of different media, photography, and layout. Since then, she has truly enjoyed creatively repurposing items into art pieces, yard art, and a funky henhouse. She continues repurposing by developing creative Girl Scout projects for her troops and SWAPs kits for other troop leaders. Karen views her regular stints sorting materials in the Center’s by-the-bucket section as her weekly The Artist’s Way artist’s date field trip as a means to further engender creativity.

Mothering Earth’s segment on Austin Creative Reuse

Mothering Earth host Dr. Salwa Khan interviews Rebecca about Austin Creative Reuse.

To listen to the show go to the segment on Dr. Salwa Kahn’s website Garden Toad Toad Talk.   Listen now

Mothering Earth Radio Show

Dr. Salwa Khan is an environmentalist, media producer and educator. She hosts and produces Mothering Earth, a half-hour program that focuses on issues related to living sustainably and gently on our Mother Earth. Salwa is a dedicated organic gardener, who loves digging in the soil and watching nature in all its glory. In her past life, she was a video editor at the PBS NewsHour and CNN. Salwa also teaches in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Texas State University.

Welcome New Austin Creative Staff!

Please join us in welcoming our next set of employees.  Barb Paris has joined us as an AM Shift Lead and Casey Douglas, Michael Balot and Susan Bussard have joined us as Clerks.  Their enthusiasm for Austin Creative Reuse’s mission, knowledge about crafting/art, patience and positive disposition reflect the values of Austin Creative Reuse.

Barb Paris

Barb Paris

” Hi ! I am a mother a teacher and an artist. I taught art  k-12 in public schools for 10 years and currently have my own after school program in Round Rock. I am the co-founder of Marmalade skies , an art studio in Austin TX, and helped to start the children’s museums in New Braunfels and San Antonio.  I was born in NYC raised in NEW Jersey and moved to Austin  20 years ago. My artwork is eclectic and is mostly large scale multi media  paintings.  Many of my large paintings are done on old used doors.”




Casey Douglas

Casey Douglas is a student, environmentalist, and freelance model in Austin, TX. She was a member of Girl Scouts for twelve years and made her fair share of arts and crafts projects growing up. She was constantly surprised by how the troop leader, her mom, would come up with creative projects by reusing and repurposing all kinds of materials. Teaching for AmeriCorps this past Spring reminded her how much she missed serving the community, and she is very excited to be working with another non-profit in town that focuses on creativity and sustainability. In her spare time she enjoys the outdoors, creating succulent gardens, and dancing.


Michael Balot

Michael Balot

” Hello! My name is Michael Balot, and I’m ecstatic to join the ACR team. I moved to Austin two years ago after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I get my kicks in my free time via disc jockeying, boxing, baking, environmental advocacy, and treasure diving.”


Susan Bussard

Susan Bussard


Colors are the
building blocks I use
to express myself.

Even their names
bring thoughts,
ideas and
surprising combinations
to mind.

They inspire me.

I enjoy a variety of
materials, textures
and processes:

Weaving paper
spinning angora
Koolaid dyeing
knitting…with anything
Cowboy boot making

If I can create beautiful things
and at the same time help make the Earth
a thriving place for future generations,
I am happy.

Why does Austin Creative Reuse have brand new markers? and what is Neuland?


Guest post by Emily Jane Steinberg (


Just over a year ago, in August 2015, Austin Creative Reuse received a windfall addition to its inventory – an extensive collection of Neuland markers and supplies. Since then, the rainbow array has garnered delight, curiosity and surprise. Just what are these specialty markers for, where did they come from, and why do they cost more than many of the other donated supplies that find their way to the aisles of ACR? These are excellent questions – read on to find the answers.


In fact, it’s thanks to their inventor and producer, Guido Neuland himself, that ARC ended up with these markers at all. They are the overstock from a conference of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners. While the Neuland booth was selling these markers and supplies at top dollar to professional graphic recorders from around the world, Guido donated the remaining stock (all in mint condition) to ACR – making Austin one of the only places outside of Germany to have its own one-stop shop for Neuland products.

As one of the handful of local graphic recorders attending the IFVP conference last year, I was thrilled when I found this out, and I’ve lost count of the number of trips I’ve made to ACR to add to my collection.

emily_graphic_facilitationNeulands are one of only two marker varieties in the world specifically designed for graphic recording – which, if you don’t know, is drawing on huge sheets of paper, hung vertically on walls, during interactive events. Graphic recorders and graphic facilitators do this to enhance meetings, workshops, presentations, classes and more. We make conversations visible, capturing the threads, themes and emerging stories of the discussions, in words and pictures, in REAL TIME.


graphic-facilitationThat said, the markers work just as well when you don’t have an audience watching you draw! Other folks who rely on these markers include teachers, coaches, advisors, visualizers, managers, and students. In other words, you!

The fact that Neulands are designed for professionals means they are built to last, no matter whose hands they end up in. As Neuland says, they are much more than just a thick pen. Each Neuland marker is designed for a variety of line widths and shapes (with bullet, chisel, and brush tips available). They are all refillable, and when you finally wear out your nib, it is replaceable (ink and nibs available from In the spirit of ARC, these markers aren’t meant to ever be used up or thrown away – so draw on!

Gearing up for the fall, ARC has updated its inventory and display, and still has a supply of brand new, top notch Neuland markers left in stock. So on your next trip to ACR, why not add some more color to your rainbow?

Welcome to our 2016 Fall Intern

Please welcome our Fall Intern, Pooja Panda! We are excited to have her working with on Marketing and Public Relations projects for this year.

pooja1Pooja Panda is currently a Senior finishing her degree in Public Relations from the Stan Richards School with a Business Foundations certificate focused on MIS from the McCombs School of Business. She enjoys to use her creative and analytical skills to come up with solutions for a project. She enjoys painting, writing, hiking, and hanging out with her family and friends. She also loves to cook and come up with unique recipes.








ACR’s 2015 Annual Report

2015 was a huge year for us, as we achieved our big goal of opening Austin’s first creative reuse center! Our just-released Annual Report celebrates this and our other big accomplishments. Thank you all for your help making it possible!

5 ways to beat the Dog Day Blues while Austin Creative Reuse is closed


Need a reason to stay out of the 100+ temps?  Already miss combing through treasures at ACR?

Here’s 5 ways to beat the “Hotter than Hades” summertime blues while Austin Creative Reuse is closed:

  1. Stay inside and spend some time paring down your craft and office supplies.  ACR would be thrilled for the donations, your storage areas will be under control, and you won’t have to break a sweat.  It’s a win/win/win actually.
  2. If you do venture out, let it be for a good cause – start a neighborhood school supplies drive to help ACR  get ready for back to school.

Suggested items are: Construction paper, art paper, glue sticks and bottles, boxes of crayons, markers, pens, pencils, rulers, markers, hi-lighters, pens, pencils, erasers, scissors, packaged notebook paper, composition and spiral notebooks.


You can contact to coordinate a drop-off time at the center from 7/20 to 8/2, or drop off when we reopen Wed. Aug. 3rd from 10 – 2pm.

Greyscale image of a woman with short dark hair in business attire, holding a pen on her left hand as she finishes marking off her calendar for the month of January being held by her right hand

3. Mark your calendar to come shop at ACR’s Back-to-School Tax-Free Days on Thursday, August 4th from 10 – 8 pm and Saturday, August 6th, from 10 – 3 pm. This is not just a back to school sale- Everything in the center will be tax free! We love you that much.


4. While ACR is on hiatus, grab some inspiration for future projects. You can find volumes of creative reuse ideas on our Pinterest Page . And if that’s not enough, here’s some great repurpose/upcycle blogs to check  out.  Pretty sure bet, we’ll have supplies on hand for your next great project.


cute bundles of craft fabric with endless possibilities!

cute bundles of craft fabric with endless possibilities!

5.   Now’s a great time to think about becoming involved with Austin Creative Reuse – Read how to volunteer or join a committee.

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Don’t have time right now? You can still help our center grow by making a financial donation – Austin Creative Reuse is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. We will put your money to good (re)use!

Welcome Austin Creative Reuse’s first employees!

Please join us in welcoming our first employees.  Jen Mack has joined us as a PM Shift Lead and Caroline Caswell as a PM Clerk.  Both will be at the center for Tuesday night planned activities and weekday evening hours.  Their enthusiasm for Austin Creative Reuse’s mission, knowledge about crafting/art, patience and positive disposition reflect the values of Austin Creative Reuse.

“I’m a mother, a gardener and a Texas transplant originally from the northeast.  I love helping my kids learn about the environment and spending time outside.  I am an amateur crafter and enjoy knitting, repurposing, cooking and sewing.” Jen Mack





“Hello! I am very excited to be apart of the ACR Team. The people and objects that come through ACR are like hidden gems that cater to my odd niche needs. I create communal spaces of tenderness and sharing through serving tea, making plant medicine, tending to wild and weedy gardens, and creating artwork.”  Caroline Caswell








Trophy for Austin Recycles Games

recycling trophy

City of Austin’s Resource Recovery asked us to create a trophy for their Austin Recycles Games. We dug deep into our “by the bucket” section to come up with this beauty (total cost, 75 cents). Just a bit of paint and some imagination later, we had a the perfect way to say “congratulations” to District 8 for most recycled and District 6 for most improved. Way to go Austin!

2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Center Hours:
Thu/Fri: 10AM - 4PM
Sat: 11AM -6PM
Sun: 12PM - 6PM
Curbside Pickup, 10am-4pm, Daily
Tel: (512) 375-3041