Blog

June Volunteer Spotlight: Elizabeth Lundquist

 

Elizabeth working on a large floral donation we received

 

 

What motivates you to volunteer?

It is good for those capable to volunteer to help this world and make it a better place.

Why ACR?

ACR provides such a valuable service for so many reasons. It is a place to be able to donate craft
and office supplies. It keeps these items out of the landfill. And it is a very affordable place to
pick up craft supplies for something new. You can donate craft supplies to places such as
Goodwill, but I don’t see them out for resale so ACR does a much better job of getting the items
back into circulation. I feel better about moving on my supplies for crafts I no longer do.
Someone else can have fun with the supplies (at a very reasonable price). It then allows me to
feel free enough to pick up new (to me) supplies for a different craft. ACR is a wonderful place.

How long have you volunteered with ACR?

I have been an Open volunteer for about 9 months or so, with the last 3 being a core volunteer.

Are you more into the arts aspect of ACR or the conservation aspect and why?

I am mainly on the Arts side of the house, but since volunteering there, I am learning more and
more about conservation which I find very interesting. Other volunteers talk about conservation
too on items not collected by ACR and I enjoy learning about that too.

Where else have you/do you volunteer?

Since retiring last year, I have also volunteered at Capital Area Food Bank.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at ACR?

Several things:
Love it when I hear what someone can do with ‘that thing’ and be creative with it.
Love it when someone finds an item that just makes their piece sing.
Very friendly staff and volunteers work at the center.
Love that we can shop the store on the days we volunteer.
Love that as we are sorting or packaging the donated items for the sales floor, we watch out for
items that might be of interest to the other volunteers or ourselves.
Fun finding items and then walking out with spending so very little.

Do you have any interesting or funny stories about something that happened while you were volunteering at ACR?

My first volunteer day, I came across two people from my quilting past. Very nice, funny, caring,
creative women. Nice to see familiar faces. Then a few weeks later, another volunteer came up
to me and mentioned she volunteers with my sister at the Lady Bird Wildflower Center. Such a
small world !
I also liked it when a sequined long dress had been donated and staff member, Kat, was able to
wear it to the Holiday party. She is our designated model for clothes received.

 

Thanks Elizabeth for all you do to keep our center looking amazing! <3

 

To learn about about becoming a volunteer click here.

Half Off Buckets June 6th – July 4th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

:::Half Off Buckets June 6th – July 4th :::

That’s just $2.50 for a 5 gallon bucket FULL of REUSE CRAFT SUPPLIES!

We encourage y’all to kick start your creativity this summer and stock up on some crafting supplies to keep the kids creative and happy!
Items from our bucket section have been used for multimedia sculpture, installation art, set dressing, and costume accessories to name a few! What will you create? Feel free to tag us and share your creations #AustinCreativeReuse

We have a wide assortment of goodies: wood pieces, wrapping paper, metal pieces, plastic things, fabric, sewing patterns, yarn, calendars, baskets, tin containers, carpet and fabric samples, office supplies and so much more – you just might find exactly what need for your next art project!

 

June Artist Spotlight: Kyle Hawley

Kyle Hawley

How did you start doing art and what is your preferred medium?
I started seriously pursuing art when my grandmother put a pair of knitting needles in my hands at the age of 5. Currently, I still love to knit and sew, but works on paper are my biggest outlet. Generally, I love combining multiple processes. I start with a photograph or sketch and then turn to printmaking for the final piece. 

What drives your creative spirit these days?
The three pillars of Letterpress PLAY are community, sustainably and PLAY. All of these are deeply meaningful topics for me to explore through my work.

How does reuse play a part in your art?
All of Letterpress PLAY paper toys are designed to create no mess and zero waste. My goal is to create an activity that is doable in a small window of time and the maker spends more time creating and less time cleaning up.

What compels you to donate to ACR?
ACR helps us tell new stories by way of already told or unfinished narratives.

Do you have a favorite ACR find? What did you do with it?
Places like ACR have always been at the heart of my creative process. My grandmother would take me to what she called the 5 & 10 and I would pour over the collection of unrelated treasures. I was weaving together a new story by wandering through the isles and taking in color, shape and typography.

Where can we find out more about your art?
www.letterpressplay.com

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.

 

June Reuse and Rethink Challenge: Film and Reels

Film Reels

Re-purpose old Film and or Reels into unique items!

We currently have a whole box of these pictured here for 25 cents each! Maybe you’ve been starring at a box of old film in you closet just waiting for a good use – now’s your chance to have a little creative fun!

Some Ideas: Gift Bows, Ear Rings, Mixed Media Art, Hand Bags and even Clothing!

 

Submission:
When you’ve completed your creation, please provide up to 2 photos of your art piece, your contact info and a short description of materials used. Your submission can be made in person at our center or in an email to rethink@austincreativereuse.org

Your creation should be made from Reused Materials  — all materials will be available at a low cost (as always) at Austin Creative Reuse

Winner will be notified  and receive a $10 Gift Card to ACR. The winner will also be announced on our social media, along with photos of their creation displayed in the center and on our website!

 

Come shop for not only your craft supplies but with a challenge in mind – (think Unconventional Challenge)

We hope you’ll take this months challenge!

Deadline: June 30th

Please feel free to email rethink@austincreativereuse.org with any questions. Good luck!

Find more inspo and ideas on our Pinterest Board!

 

May Volunteer Spotlight: Virginia Van Hoogstraten

The majority of the donations processing is done by volunteers here at the center. We’d like you to meet one of the special folks behind all this hard work. Read about why Virginia feels “volunteering at ACR has also made her more aware of needless waste” and why she likes volunteering at ACR!

Mixed media with old book pages, fabric, various paint & ink, and letter tile by Virginia

What motivates you to volunteer?
I love the people and the mission of ACR
Why ACR?
I was new to the area, and looking for a volunteer job. The 1st time I went to ACR as a customer, within minutes, I knew it was the place. It’s just so fabulous. It has been a great way to meet like minded people in the area.
How long have you volunteered with ACR?
3 years.
Are you more into the arts aspect of ACR or the conservation aspect and why? I have to say both. What’s better than making art out of something discarded?
Where else have you/do you volunteer?
I was a volunteer Master Gardener in Illinois.
What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering for ACR?
I really enjoy going every week, these people are my tribe. I also have blast co-hosting craft night every month. Being around other creative people is very inspiring. Volunteering at ACR has also made me more aware of needless waste in my own daily life, and ways to keep improving.
Thanks for all you do to keep our center looking amazing!

May Artist Spotlight: Sondra Primeaux

 

 

 

Sondra Primeaux

How did you start doing art and what is your medium?

I’ve been sewing most of my life, having learned as a little girl from my Grandma. In 2003, I was living in Fredericksburg, TX (I lived there a total of six years in between being an Austin resident since 1994) and had been playing around with blouse designs made from vintage/reused scarves. I was working at a popular clothing store there called Root and the owner suggested that I come up with a small line that I could showcase in an upcoming fashion show event that we were putting on at the store. I did and my small, handmade business took off from there. I’ve had a sales rep show my line at Dallas Market (pre-Etsy!), I’ve had an Etsy store, I’ve had pop-ups and have done outdoor markets, but now I mostly just sell on my site. It is a labor of love.

 

 

How does reuse play a part in your art?

Except for the occasional commission in which I may have to special order a particular fabric new, reuse fuels 100% of what I do. I’ve been collecting used and vintage fabric, trims and notions for twenty years and have a small studio in my backyard where I house it all. It plays the biggest part in my creation. I’m not sure if I would be a designer/seamstress without that element, that’s how much the joy of the hunt through places like Austin Creative Reuse and thrift stores means to me and my process.

 

What compels you to donate to ACR?

I was trying to think about when I first heard of Austin Creative Reuse and it was probably through April Kling Meyer who owned the fabulous Austin fabric store, Fabricker. I had bags and bags of scraps that I couldn’t bear to just toss and she mentioned ACR in a conversation we had once in her shop, pointing me to a contact person and location where I could drop them off. Since then, I’ve donated not only scraps but yardage of fabric I’ve picked up along the way but sometimes need to cull to make room for more. Because I’m so invested in reuse, I just think everyone should be reusing as much as they can. I’m just one person but I think that any and all small acts we do can be the thing to salvage our current environmental situation.

 

 

Where can we find out more about your art?

I have clothing items and handmade meditation pillows for sale in the Marketplace on my website, www.theunruffled.com. I am multi-passionate so my site covers all the things I do, including photography, art, writing and podcasting about creativity and recovery. I’ve recently launched a chance to work with me one-on-one as a creative mentor called Change Your Story and you can learn more about that on my website as well.

 

Thank you for having me, I’m honored!

Thank you Sondra for all you do to keep the ACR community growing!!

 

May Reuse and Rethink Challenge: Puzzle Pieces

 

 

 

 

 

Here is how the challenge works:

Each month we give you a new material for our Reuse Rethink challenge. This month it’s Puzzle Pieces – Puzzles may have gotten their start as portable maps, but they have since become a fun way to stretch your brain muscles. What other creative uses can you come up with using little puzzle pieces? 

 

Deadline: May 31st

Submission:
When you’ve completed your creation, please provide up to 2 photos of your art piece, your contact info and a short description of materials used. Your submission can be made in person at our center or in an email to rethink@austincreativereuse.org

Your creation should be made from Reused Materials  — all materials will be available at a low cost (as always) at Austin Creative Reuse

Winner will be notified and announced on social media, along with photos of their creation displayed in the center and on our website!

 

Come shop for not only your craft supplies but with a challenge in mind – (think Unconventional Challenge)

We hope you’ll take this months challenge!

Please feel free to email rethink@austincreativereuse.org with any questions. Good luck!

Find more inspo and ideas on our Pinterest Board!

School Supply Collection

 

 

April Volunteer Spotlight: Clyde Hoover

Clyde Hoover

 

 

 

 

What motivates you to volunteer?

I find that being of service is essential to my well being. I like the challenges that come my way and the personal growth that comes with them.

 

 

 

Why ACR?
I heard about ACR from a friend who is familiar with my artistic endeavors. She said that I would really like ACR and that puts it mildly. Going to the bucket room was like entering a toy store with the weirdest variety of stuff than I had even seen in one place. So I pretty much fell head over Converse high-topped heels for ACR.
 

 

 

Are you more into the arts aspect of ACR or the conservation aspect and why?
I am not a “soft arts”” type – I work with plastic, metal and wood. I have been involved with photography since I was a child – bitten by my mothers habit of taking pictures of her large family (11 siblings and uncounted nieces and nephews). I studied photojournalism for two years during my time at The University of Texas at Austin. I still love photography, and that passion has been rekindled because of ACR.
I have strongly believed in conservation for a long time (I was around for the first Earth Day, back when people could still be moved by the “this is all we have” photos of Earth taken by astronauts on the way to the Moon). My childhood experience with poverty and my Great Depression-era parents’ ethos of “use it up, wear it out, squeeze every drop out of it, and keep it just in case you might need it later” taught me that things do not lose their usefulness just because someone is tired of or grown out of it.

 

 

Where else have you/do you volunteer?
I am currently the webmaster for a local recovery organization, putting my technical skills to use in order to help others.
My wife and I (and our daughter, until she “teenaged” out of it) volunteer at Thundering Paws Animal Sanctuary, (which we can blame for most of the various feline inhabitants of our house). Scooping a room full of litter boxes then seeing cats lining up to undo what you just did is a lesson in not taking yourself too seriously.
We specialize in fostering stubborn semi-feral cats into snuggle-bunnies. It’s a lot of work but so worth it, as with any undertaking of value.

 

What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering for ACR?
There is the unbelievable diversity of what ends up on the donation cart. Along with the “usual” arts and crafts items (and office and fabric and patterns and light bulbs and power drills), there are some things I have not seen since childhood (that would be he 1960s for those of you scoring at home).
And I sometimes get the “first crack” at new stuff – getting a bit of something awesome on Tuesday night, and when I drop by on Wednesday afternoon, the rest is gone!
Above all it is the people of ACR. If I may dude-speak for a moment, “you gals are the best.” All up and down he line. The people of ACR totally believe in its mission – I have noticed that for many who volunteer it is not a past-time but a passion. And by the way, the passion is contagious and that is awesome.

 

 

Do you have any interesting or funny stories about something that happened while you were volunteering at ACR?
Though there have been considerable happenings with humorous aspects, what sticks with me is what I have learned, especially after becoming a Core Volunteer and “The Camera Guy Who Can Also Probably Figure Out What This Strange Doohickey Is Supposed To Be For” (spoiler: I can most of the time).
I have been used to being one of the “smart guys” – (that should probably be my official job title), but volunteering at ACR reminded me that I still have a lot to learn. Standing in the craft isle wondering where this fill-in-the-blank this bag of shiny things is supposed to go was an interesting experience in realizing how much I did not know. Talk about of being out of your experiential comfort zone!
I am grateful that my knowledge, experience and skills can be of service. I feel at home at ACR.

 

Thanks for all your hard work Clyde, we couldn’t do it with out you!

 

 

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