Author Archives: Kat Moulton

June Reuse and Rethink Contest: Rube Goldberg Machines

 

This month, we challenge you to use reused items in your home to create a Rube Goldberg machine! Named after a famous American cartoonist, a Rube Goldberg machine is a machine intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overly complicated way. Create a series of simple objects that perform an action, triggering the next action, ultimately resulting in a singular goal. Please see the video below for an example!

DEADLINE
June 30th, 2020

HOW IT WORKS
– Materials must be reused
– You MUST incorporate a ladle and toilet or paper towel roll in your machine (so we know you made the video!)
– The submissions will be judged on three qualities: creativity, use of reused materials, and functionality of the machine
– Videos can be no longer than 3 minutes
– Submissions must be made on or before the deadline

PRIZE
A free bucket voucher from ACR and a $5 gift card

SUBMISSIONS
Please send a video of your machine, your contact info, and a short description of materials used to rethink@austincreativereuse.org. Winner will be notified and announced on social media!

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June Volunteer Spotlight: Charlene Ansley

Charlene, right

 
What motivates you to volunteer?
That’s an interesting question.  I guess I’ve never thought about motivation, it’s just something that I do.  In retrospect though, it’s almost always a joyful experience and it gets me out of my own head.
 
Why ACR?
ACR is the perfect combination for my love of the arts, my compulsive recycling, and my concern for Gaia and her creatures.
 
How long have you volunteered with ACR?
The first time I volunteered for ACR was a free-stuff-for-educators event that was held in Harley’s back yard (one of the original founders) where supplies were laid out on the grass.  I’m not sure when that was but ACR’s come a long way since then!
 
Are you more into the arts aspect of ACR or the conservation aspect and why?
Both, I think, but there’s another aspect of ACR that I really appreciate and that is that it’s such a well-managed organization.
 
Where else have/do you volunteer?
When I lived in Midland and my kids were younger, I volunteered for Meals on Wheels, my church, and the League of Women Voters.  I ended up getting a job in the Texas office of the League when I first moved to Austin.  Then there was a block of several years when I had so many part-time jobs that I didn’t have time to volunteer, but now I’m able to again and mostly volunteer for my neighborhood association and ACR with an occasional green space cleaning gig.
 
What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering for ACR? 
There are several layers there.  First, the people. The folks associated with ACR, staff, volunteers, and customers are such fun, interesting, good peeps.  I feel like I’ve found my tribe. Then there’s the stuff!  The thrill of finding that amazing treasure in a box of donations or a vintage something or other that brings back memories is intoxicating.  And really, where else could I find the kind of tasks that are a zen meditation for me, like untangling a huge wad of yarn, organizing seashells, sorting marbles, taping scads of bits of ribbon, stamping merchandise tags, and more?
 
Do you have any interesting or funny stories about something that happened while you were volunteering at ACR?
When the shop first opened there was a barrel full of red plastic 2 lb. coffee containers in the bucket section.  I thought they would never move, but while I was working one evening a kindergarten teacher discovered them and was so excited to have her class make crowns out of them that she bought them all.  Every one. That taught me to avoid rejecting something when sorting that seems too crazy because there’s usually someone who will love it and it will find its home.  I treasure overhearing people make those kinds of discoveries when I’m on the floor.
 
Thank you, Charlene for all your contributions to ACR! Charlene has been volunteering with us since before we even had a physical center and we can’t imagine ACR without her!

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Welcome, Calder!

Austin Creative Reuse is thrilled to welcome Calder Kamin as our newest board member! Calder will be helping us develop strategic partnerships and on special projects. She has jumped right in by supporting our social media and marketing strategies, and advising us on online sales. Calder has been a long time supporter of ACR and a frequent shopper, sourcing materials for her latest artworks. Her work was recently featured on MSN.

Artist, educator and advocate, Calder Kamin transforms trash into beautifully crafted creatures and opportunities to reeducate our cultural perceptions of waste. She’s engaged hundreds of museum visitors through her public workshops and art projects including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The American Museum of Natural History. The i.d.e.a Museum, Utah MOCA, The Contemporary Austin, Women & Their Work and The DoSeum. Kamin starred in an episode of the PBS series Arts In Context and two Disney Channel commercials sharing inspirational messages about creative reuse. She has a background in art administration, higher education and city government providing professional development for artists. A native of Austin, Kamin is the Career Services Manager and Lecturer at the University of Texas, College of Fine Arts. She holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute.

She can be contacted at calder@austincreativereuse.org

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ACR Donates Mask Materials

Despite the center being closed over the past two months, ACR proudly supported efforts to make masks for healthcare workers, the elderly, and other vulnerable members of the community. We donated enough fabric and supplies to make over 1,500 masks, with a retail value of nearly $500! Thank you to Dell Medical School – UT Austin, Covid Rangers, SAIVA, and all the individuals who picked up materials and volunteered their time. We appreciate your work to keep our community healthy!

Reuse and Rethink: Austin Landmarks Edition!

Deadline for submissions: April 30th

While we are all physically distancing at home, we’re bringing back an ACR classic – the Reuse & Rethink Challenge! This month, we challenge you to recreate your favorite Austin mural or landmark from any items (or people) you have in your home.

 

Guidelines:
♻️ All materials must be reused / found in your home.
🎨 The submissions will be judged on three qualities: creativity, workmanship, & use of other reused materials.
 Submissions for the month must be made on or before the deadline.

 

Submit your work for the opportunity to win a $10 gift card to enjoy at ACR when we reopen! 

Please provide up to 2 photos of your art piece, your contact info and a short description of materials used. Your submission can be emailed to rethink@austincreativereuse.org. Winner will be notified and announced on social media! 🧡♻️

 

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Creative Cardboard

Cardboard is one of those ever-present, but often overlooked materials inside our homes. Rather than break it down for recycling, repurpose it by trying out one of these activities with your kiddo!

 
Cardboard Nail Salon

Does your kid love painting fingernails? Draw a hand on a piece of cardboard and let them go to town! They can experiment with different colors and designs, while you get to keep your hands clean.

 

Cardboard Stencils

Use cardboard stencils to get some fine motor skill practice in. Cutout different shapes and patterns in pieces of cardboard and have your little one trace them onto another piece of paper. Encourage them to mix and layer the different stencils to create a unique masterpiece! 

 

Cardboard Weaving

Cut long, uniform strips out of a piece of cardboard. Cut long strips of colored paper for your kids to weave using their own pattern.

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COVID-19 Updates

For the past few months, Austin Creative Reuse has adapted to to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to update this page with the latest information.


October 9, 2020

Now open Sundays! Beginning Sunday, October 11th, we will be open from 12PM – 6PM on Sundays. We will also accept walk up donations on Sundays, only, during open hours. Wednesdays will remain by appointment, only. Donations outside of those days will be politely turned away.


August 24, 2020

We reopened our doors to the public this past weekend! Thank you to everyone who came out to show your support, we’re humbled by the huge turnout of our community. As expected, there were some bumps in the road, but we are learning, listening, and adjusting. Here are some changes we’ve made to our COVID-19 policies within the center, effective immediately:

  • We will be increasing the number of customers in the center to 20 at a time. Entry will be first come, first served. If we are at capacity, you will be asked to queue outside the center in a socially distanced line. The increased number of entries will decrease the waiting time outside the center, yet still keep us within our 25% occupancy, ensuring the safety of all patrons, volunteers, and employees.
  • We will allow children under 10 to enter the center. Children will be required to follow all the same protocols as adults, including masking and social distancing, and must remain with their parent or guardian at all times.
  • A friendly reminder that there are no pets allowed inside the center, with the exception of service animals. We love our furry friends, but please leave them at home.

August 17, 2020

We’re Reopening!

When we closed our doors on March 15th, we thought it would be two weeks before we could reopen again. We had no idea that 5 months later, we would still be in the midst of a global pandemic, with no end in sight. The team at Austin Creative Reuse has been incredibly adaptive during these strange times – quickly opening up an online store, offering custom orders via virtual video conferencing, and hosting sidewalk sales multiple times a week. Despite all these new services, we know it hasn’t been enough to serve the needs of our entire community. After much careful consideration, we have decided to reopen the doors to our center on Thursday, August 20th

We know that not everyone is comfortable venturing out into public spaces, which is why we will continue to offer our online store with curbside pickup, and custom orders via Zoom. However, we will discontinue our sidewalk sales upon reopening. 

Health and safety has always been at the forefront of our decision making process, and we’ll be taking several precautions to minimize risk and exposure for our staff, volunteers, and you – our loyal customers and supporters. 

If you are feeling ill, caring for someone who is ill, or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID in the past 14 days, we ask that you postpone your visit to ACR.

  • Limited Hours: We’ll be open during the following times:
    • Mon – Wed: CLOSED
    • Thurs & Fri: 10AM – 4PM
    • Sat: 11AM – 6PM
    • Sun: 12PM – 6PM
    • Curbside pickup will remain available from 10AM – 4PM, 7 days a week
  • At-Risk Shopping Hour: We will reserve an hour each week specifically for those who are at risk.
    • Sat: 10AM – 11AM
  • Limited Entries: We will limit the number of customers in the center to 10 people at a time, and party size will be limited to 2 people. Entry will be first come, first served. If we are at capacity, you will be asked to queue outside the center in a socially distanced line.
  • Masks Required – No Exceptions: In the best interest of everyone’s health and safety, we are not allowing shoppers in without a mask. We understand some people may have conditions preventing them from being able to wear one, however, we have other ways to access our services through online shopping and custom orders. For a nominal fee, we’re happy to pull together items for you to pick up curbside, in order to minimize your risk and exposure.
  • Contact Tracing: All customers will be asked to provide a name and email address or phone number upon entry. We value your privacy and will only use your contact information in the event of a known exposure.
  • Other Health and Safety Measures: Customers will be required to have their temperature taken and sanitize their hands prior to entering the center. You will also be required to keep at least 6 feet of distance from others while shopping inside.
  • No Kids Allowed: Although we love our tiny reusers, we kindly ask that you leave the little ones at home at this time. We will allow the following exceptions: parents with infants are welcome to shop during our at-risk shopping hour, and kids 10 years of age and older will be allowed in if wearing a mask. They must remain with their parent at all times.
  • Material Donations: We will continue to accept donations by appointment only, and walk up donations will be politely turned away. We are not allowing shoppers to bring donations at this time.
  • Frequent Cleaning and Sanitation: Prior to reopening, we will have a professional sanitation company perform a deep cleaning of the center. We are also sanitizing surfaces and high touch areas at least twice daily and providing frequent hand washing breaks for our staff and volunteers.

We are eager to share our new space with you! Our appreciation and gratitude goes out to each of you for your patience, support, and understanding during this time. We’ll see you soon!


July 20, 2020

While we remain closed to the public, we’d like to remind you of all the exciting services we are currently offering:

  • Material Donations – We continue to take donations by appointment, only. These are still going quickly, but new spots are added each week for the following week.
  • Online Shopping – We’re adding new items to our online shop every day!
  • Custom Orders via Zoom – Looking for something specific? Make an appointment to shop virtually! For 30 minutes, you’ll have someone available to show you all the goods we’ve got in store.
  • Sidewalk Sales – We are holding multiple sidewalk sales each week that are accessible by appointment, only. We announce the upcoming schedule and release appointment spots via our weekly newsletter so be sure you’re signed up to get first dibs!

June 23, 2020

Our first outdoor sale was a huge success! Moving forward, each week we’ll pick different categories of your favorite crafting supplies and bring them out to the sidewalk for you to peruse. These sales will be accessible by appointment, only and we’ll announce the schedule through our weekly newsletter. Make sure you’re signed up to be the first to know!


June 16, 2020

We miss our community dearly!  Today, we held our first (of hopefully many more!) outdoor sidewalk sales. It was lovely to see everyone, we so appreciate your support. 
 
We had high hopes to begin the re-opening of our creative reuse center this week. Given the news on Monday of the City and County extending the stay at home order until August 15th, we have made the decision to re-evaluate our options. We know you are eager to get into the center and believe us, we are eager to see you too. However, the safety of our staff, volunteers and the whole Austin community is our highest priority. It is up to us to make these difficult decisions and be responsible in our business practices to ensure long term safety for all of us.  
 
We are researching different ways of getting materials into your hands and onto your crafting tables. Below you will find information on custom orders. Stay tuned to our social media channels for info on our next outdoor sidewalk sale, and don’t forget to visit our online store – new items are constantly added and curbside pickup is available 7 days a week from 10AM – 4PM. 
 

Thank you for all of your support and patience.  Remember to wear your mask!

 

Announcing Custom Orders!

Make a purchase from your couch and pick it up curbside! For 30 minutes, you’ll have a live, personal shopper available to you via the video conferencing app, Zoom. 
 
How it works:
  • Make an appointment – these are first come, first served!
  • Put together a list of items you’re looking for ahead of time – that 30 mins goes quick!
  • You’ll be emailed a link with your Zoom meeting info in your appointment reminder.
  • Payment will be collected at the end of your appointment.
  • We’ll wait for 5 minutes past the start of your scheduled appointment. If you haven’t joined by then, you’ll be considered a no-show and charged a cancellation fee and your appointment fee will not be refunded.

May 26, 2020

A quick update about all the happenings over here at Austin Creative Reuse! Although we still remain closed to the public, our amazing staff has been working hard behind the scenes to get items posted to the online store and into your hands, piloting a personal shopping program, and figuring out what opening in a post-pandemic environment looks like. We continue to accept material donations, and in response to overwhelming demand, we are nearly doubling the amount of appointments available! Last week, we eagerly welcomed back our core volunteers in a limited capacity. We started allowing contactless pick up of projects they could take home to work on and bring back to the center at a later date. Finally, keep an eye out for exciting news regarding private shopping appointments! (Yes, that means getting ACR all to yourself!)

Thank you to everyone for your support, patience, and creativity throughout all of this. We look forward to seeing you again soon!


May 9, 2020

We’re delighted to announce that ACR is receiving a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program! Having this funding secured helps shield our financial losses over the past two months, which means we can breathe a little easier and make things happen on a timeline that we are comfortable with. We’ve made the decision to keep the center closed until further notice, and will re-evaluate that decision on a weekly basis. In the meantime, we continue to engage our staff who choose to work during this period and pay them full wages.

While we remain closed to the public, we are boosting the inventory available in our online shop and will be adding new items several times a week. We are also actively researching ways that we can expand the remote ACR experience for our community through virtual workshops, custom orders, and other exciting programs!

Finally, drumroll please…we will restart accepting material donations next week! We understand many of you have been busy cleaning out craft closets, decluttering, and learning what you can live without throughout the past several weeks. We can’t wait to take those items in and find them a second home! Donations will be accepted by appointment only and this will be strictly enforced. No walk up donations will be accepted. Please read the new instructions carefully and be sure to look over our donation best practices and lists of items we accept and don’t accept prior to bringing your items in.


April 28, 2020
 
For the safety of our staff, volunteers, and community at large, we are continuing to NOT accept material donations at this time. We are making adjustments to our donation policies and procedures for the wellbeing of everyone in the Austin Creative Reuse community. We ask for your patience as we navigate this new normal together. Hang on to those donations, we will make an announcement once we’re ready to accept them! In the meantime, remember to check out the lists of: Items We Accept and Items We Don’t Accept, pre-sort them, and put them in a container you’re willing to donate as well. Do not leave donations outside of the center!

April 24, 2020

You asked for it, we listened!
We are very excited to announce that ACR is now open for online shopping and curbside pickup! At our new online shop, you can find tutorial kits with supplies and instructions to create unique pieces of art for the whole family, highly sought-after items such as sewing machines, and mystery grab bags full of miscellaneous goodies to bring the ACR experience to you. We are currently only offering sales of the items in our shop – but don’t worry, we hope to expand our online inventory soon. 

All orders must be picked up curbside until further notice – please read the pickup instructions carefully at the end of your checkout.


April 18, 2020
 
Here at Austin Creative Reuse, we take the safety and health of our staff, volunteers and customers very seriously. ACR will remain closed to the public throughout the extension of the City of Austin’s stay at home mandate, which goes through May 8th. However, with the governor’s new executive order that allows online sales and curbside pickup for retail establishments, we are researching different ways that ACR can offer sales in a limited capacity.
 
We are currently planning for how and when ACR can responsibly reopen once local, state, and national restrictions have been lifted. Please note, some of our policies and procedures will change regarding volunteering, shopping, and donating materials at the center. We appreciate everyone’s patience, flexibility, and understanding as we navigate this new normal together!
 

April 14, 2020
 
ACR will remain closed until further notice. On April 13th, the Board of Directors voted to continue paying staff for hours worked at home through May 11th. 
 

April 1, 2020
 
Due to the City of Austin’s stay at home mandate, the center will be closed to the public, staff and volunteers until at least April 13th or such time as the order has been lifted or changed and recommendations have been made to open businesses again to the public. 
 

March 25, 2020
 
Here at ACR, we pride ourselves on transparency. We want our community to know that we are doing all we can to help those affected most by the center closure, our hardworking staff. During an emergency board meeting held on Tuesday, March 17th, the following was decided:
 
“While the center is closed, ACR will continue to offer hours to staff who wish to work. We have provided take home opportunities to employees for the duration of the stay-at-home order mandated by the City of Austin. We would like to emphasize that working during this time is optional. There will be no impact on long-term employment at ACR for any staff who choose not to work during this period. ACR is committed to offering full wages to employees who work or are scheduled to work through Sunday, April 12, 2020. We will endeavor to give you as much notice and transparency as possible in this rapidly changing environment. We continue to monitor recommendations from the CDC, WHO and local authorities.”
 

March 15, 2020
 
After much painful deliberation, we have decided to be proactive and close ACR to the public, effective 8PM tonight through Sunday, March 29th. We did not make this decision lightly. Our mission, first and foremost, is to divert materials from the landfill. However, we did not feel that it was socially responsible to continue accepting donations at our center. Eliminating that piece of our operations while continuing sales feels like we are not staying true to our mission. Therefore, closing temporarily is the right choice to ensure the continued health of our volunteers, staff, and shoppers. We will actively monitor policies and directives at the local, state, and federal levels regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and will adjust accordingly, if needed.
 
ACR is a small non-profit comprised of a large volunteer community, and 11 paid staff members. While this closure will have an unknown effect on our livelihood as an organization, we are committed to ensuring that our staff have the opportunity to continue working if they so choose. Closing to the public will allow our staff to practice safe distancing, proper sanitation protocols, and limit the number of people coming in and out of the center. During this time, the staff will be working to organize the center and make it even better than before! 
 
We care about our community and understand that during these uncertain times, creativity and artistic expression are much needed. Be on the lookout for inspiring digital content from us! We also encourage you to stay engaged remotely via our Austin Creative Reusers group, or tag us @austincreativereuse to show us what you’re working on. If you have the capacity, consider making a financial donation or purchase an online gift card to use once we re-open.  
 
These are strange times. Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other. We will keep you updated via email and our Facebook page with any developments. 
 

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Learning with Plastic Lids

 

Plastic Lids are a Great Learning Tool!

Whether you notice it or not, most of our households consume lots of things with plastic lids. Those lids add up! Hang on to them and consider using them for some of these fun, interactive lessons!

 

Alphabet and Letter Recognition

Write lowercase letters on each cap and have your little one line up the lids in alphabetical order. Try playing with color – vowels in one color, consonants in another.

Take this one step further by writing uppercase letters on the lid’s corresponding bottles or pouches. Have your little one match the upper and lowercase letters. 

 

Counting and Number Recognition

Create number cards with whatever you have laying around the house. Place number cards down and have your child stack (or pile) lids behind the card.

 

Pattern and Color Recognition

See the cards linked below for patterns your child can replicate using colored lids.

Lid Pattern Cards

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“Trash to Treasure” – Creating at Home

Color Matching

Collect small objects that you already have lying around the house, including those that may have ended up in the trash! Have your kids sort them by like color. Get creative with the sorting containers!

Cardboard Shapes

Cut cardboard into different shapes and punch holes into it. Use extra shoelaces, yarn, or string to weave through the holes, creating fun shapes and patterns. This can also be used as a tool to help learn how to tie your shoes!

Homemade Ring Toss

This homemade ring toss game is great for kids of all ages and it’s fun and safe for both indoor and outdoor play. Form pipe cleaners into rings, and use either an empty paper towel roll, or two toilet paper rolls taped together as the base. Use your imagination to figure out how to stand up your paper towel roll!

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March Artist Spotlight: Janis Bergman-Carton

 

Janis Bergman-Carton

 

How did you start making art?

In my bedroom on a TV table when I was about 7 years old, messing around with anything I could put my hands on. More than once I clogged the plumbing in our house with plaster of paris. I thought I would be an art major in college but didn’t then have the fortitude to deal with critiques of my work (part of it I now understand was not yet having words for what I experienced as a young woman being told by my all male art professors that my work was “too personal”).  Anyway, after 25 wonderful years teaching art history I now am thrilled to circle back to where I began. 

 

What is your preferred medium?

It’s always been about texture for me. Clay, mixed media, and mosaics. 

 

What drives your creative spirit these days?

Everything, but I’m particularly interested in memory and place in art- evoking memories of absent loved ones or the historical and material textures of place. I have an ongoing project now called the Texas Cotton Series.

 

How does reuse play a part in your art? 

It plays a big part. Because I am interested in expressing connections to people and places over time, what feels like deep history and memory, I’m always searching for things or pieces of things that appear to have been well-used and well-loved in the past.  ACR is a treasure chest.  

 

What compels you to donate to ACR?

The idea of creatively recycling items more typically thrown away is magical. And the community ACR has created in such a short time of people of all ages and backgrounds is a big draw for me.

 

Do you have a favorite ACR find? What did you do with it?

An amazing sample board for porcelain colors from the 1960s with 12 tiny cameo heads. The heads show up in memory vessels I make. 

 

Where can we find out more about your art? 

Website: janisbergmancarton.com

Instagram: @bergmancarton

 

 

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