Blog

Volunteer Spotlight: Joanna Norris

Each month, we highlight one of the incredible volunteers of the ACR community. This month, it’s Joanna Norris! Joanna was instrumental in making our recent center remodel happen. She put her design and space planning skills to use and helped us come up with a floor plan that best utilizes our space. Thanks for all you contribute, Joanna!

 

What motivates you to volunteer? 

I love that volunteering lets me meet people I wouldn’t ordinarily get to know, and it’s good to know I’m helping something bigger than myself. Plus I love working with my hands, so I’d much rather chat with a friend while rolling fabric than while getting a pedicure!

 

Why ACR? 

I’ve always been a maker of every sort and I love the challenge of figuring out a new craft. But that means I end up with shelves and shelves of supplies I might never use again. It’s satisfying to pass those on to someone else who will be excited to find them. And it means when I get new supplies I can buy them from ACR and then donate them back again! 

 

How long have you volunteered with ACR? 

I started by doing drop-in volunteer nights at the old location a couple of years ago. More recently I’ve been helping with bigger projects that let me use my background in retail planning and merchandising. 

 

Where else have/do you volunteer? 

Most recently, I’ve volunteered with APA Thrift and the Brentwood school library. When I lived in Portland, I volunteered at a tool lending library (repairing tools) and the Independent Publishing Resource Center (supervising the letterpress studio).

 

What do you enjoy the most about volunteering at ACR? 

I’ve really enjoyed working on the store remodel because it provides endless opportunities for brainstorming and problem solving. While untangling yarn or washing dishes, I find myself thinking up big ideas for ACR that may or may not ever happen. I hope I can do more of this for ACR and other organizations in the future!

 

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

I always have to laugh at myself for being so terrible at shelving bucket! I find myself staring at shelves as if they’re complicated algebra equations. It seems like it would be an easy task, but it’s an over-thinker’s worst nightmare.

Staff Spotlight: Kaysie Logan

Kaysie Logan

Each month, we feature one of the incredible staff members who help make the magic happen at ACR. This month, it’s Communications Specialist Kaysie Logan! Kaysie started out as a clerk during our last few months at the Linc, then quickly transitioned to working behind the scenes. She now does the majority of our content creation and runs our social media platforms like a champ! Read more about Kaysie below and see her tutorial for Fabric Sample Stuffies!

 

How did you find Austin Creative Reuse?

I was looking for a job post college and found the clerk position listed on a fine art work board! I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of the place before. I fell in love with the mission before I even started the job!

 

What’s your favorite part about working at ACR?

I love working for an organization that cares so much about the community that surrounds it and the environment that houses it. Throughout the whole pandemic, ACR has cared for and supported its employees, and sought to protect its customers, donors, and volunteers, as well. I’m so proud to work for this environmental organization, surrounded by conservation and unconventional creativity!

 

Are you an artist, crafter, or maker? What mediums do you work with?

All of the above, thanks to Austin Creative Reuse! Working at ACR has supercharged my creativity and opened creative doors that I didn’t even know existed. In addition to painting and drawing (what I used to know), I work often with fabric, yarn, multimedia, video, glass, and more! I’m always inspired by new and unique items that come into the center, and always learning to try new things!

 

What do you do when you’re not working at ACR?

If I’m not helping reuse dreams come true at ACR, I’m making my own dreams come true through art and movement. I love to create, watch sunsets, rollerskate, and dance! 

 

What’s the craziest thing you found in donation mountain?

I’m surprised by something I found in donation mountain almost everyday. One time I found a piece of carpet from the Watergate office, and another time I discovered someone’s entire CD collection from decades past! I went and bought a secondhand CD player that day!


About Kaysie:

A colorful tree-hugger from a young age, Kaysie focuses her life around art and conservation, and works to inspire those around her to live a creative and sustainable lifestyle. In her free time, Kaysie enjoys trail running in the greenbelt, making art and supporting local artists of Austin, and dancing the night away in the live music capital of the world.

 

Make: Fabric Sample Stuffies!

Fabric Sample Stuffies!

Use up those fabric samples and scraps with this super easy stuffy tutorial by our Communications Specialist, Kaysie! Make these with your kids, create gifts for your loved ones, or snuggle up with your own creation! We have kits available in our online store so you can make stuffies of your own!

 

 

You will need:
  • Fabric samples or scraps
  • Scissors
  • Fabric marker
  • Embroidery needle and thread
  • Buttons
  • Filling (polyfill, dry rice or beans, etc)

 

 

Sewing Techniques

You can use different sewing techniques in this tutorial, based on the look you want for your stuffy. I suggest the following techniques:

running stitch

over stitch

blanket stitch

 

Making Your Stuffy:

Step 1 – Pick out your fabrics. Books of fabric samples have the perfect size fabrics for these cute little stuffies!

 

 

Step 2 – Figure out what kind of stuffy you want to make. Draw your template on the backside of the fabric with the fabric marker and cut. Make sure you cut out a front and a back!

 

 

Step 3 – Sew details onto the fabric pieces, i.e. buttons for eyes or embroidered details.

 

 

Step 4 – Sew together the main pieces using any of the stitches mentioned above, making sure to leave a gap to stuff!

 

 

Step 5 – Fill with polyfil or dry beans. Use a pencil to get in the hard-to-reach corners.

 

 

Step 6 – Sew the opening closed, finishing your stuffy.

 

 

Step 7 – Snuggle!

 

 

TIP!

Use a hairdryer to get those pesky stickers off the back of your fabric samples. Sew directly through them, or use the sticker fabric to create a fabric scrap collage!

We’ve Remodeled!

Get Ready for a Brand New ACR!

If you have been following us online for the past few weeks, you may have heard some rumors about major changes that we were making in the center. We’re now ready to show off what we’ve been getting up to! With the assistance of one of our fantastic core volunteers, we were able to analyze the layout of the center and create a new floor plan that best utilized the space. After weeks of drafting and fine tuning, we are so excited to see our dream for the center turn into reality! Our staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly to create an all-new, fresh shopping experience for when we reopen. Even our most dedicated shoppers will feel like they are discovering us for the first time! 

 

Check out our new register hub! In our last layout, the register was neatly tucked against the wall and hard to spot as soon as you walk in. Now, the register is one of the first things you’ll see when you enter.

 

Our bucket section has always been the star of the show. It best represents our mission to reuse materials and make the arts accessible to everyone. Before, it was tucked away in the back of the center. Now, it’s front and center and shining brighter than ever!

 

One of the first things that you will notice when you enter our center is the restructuring of the aisles. We took great care when creating the floor plan to ensure that each aisle flows into the next. The new configuration brings natural light into the aisles and leads you into our new Fabric and Fiber Arts section at the back of the store. 

 

We hope you were able to get a taste of our current fabric selection during the last Fabric Sidewalk Sale (thank you again to everyone who attended!). The Fat Quarter Shop in Buda has been donating thousands of pounds of high quality fabric to us and our fabric selection is now better than ever. And don’t worry- we still have our beloved rainbow yarn wall, it’s just been relocated to a new home!

 

We can’t wait to show off our new layout and welcome our community back into the center. We’ll see you soon!

 

We’re Hiring!!

Reuse Specialist Job Description

Shift Lead Job Description

St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

A Pinch of Reuse this St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up! Check out these golden reuse ideas for crafts to make at home with your family and friends! 

 

Save those paper rolls from the landfill by reusing them into this super cute Leprechaun craft! Make mini leprechauns, green top hats, rainbow paper roll chains, and more – see our Pinterest Board for more paper roll possibilities!

 

Turn yourself or your little ones into a leprechaun with this easy and fun paper plate mask! Paint the plate orange, cut out the inner circle, and use construction paper to create a cute leprechaun tophat. Punch holes in the sides to tie elastic or string to wear your mask!

 

Avoid getting pinched this St. Patrick’s Day with these super cute and simple paper plate hats! Draw your design in the middle circle of the plate, color with markers or crayons, and cut around your design! Make sure to leave a part of your design connected to the outer ribbed edge of the plate to show off your cute hat!

 

Use a knife and a carrot to create a super cute shamrock stamp! Cut off the end for a smooth edge, and use a knife to cut an upside down triangle, so that the end looks like a heart. Dunk in green paint and stamp!

 

Reuse a plastic water bottle into a 3D shamrock craft! Just paint the bottom with green paint, cut off the bottom with a pair of scissors, and glue to your surface!

 

March Reuse and Rethink: Reuse in the Yard

 

It’s springtime! The sun is out and it’s time to tend to our garden. For this reuse and rethink challenge, we want to see reuse in your yard! This could include unconventional planters, inventive seed organization, thoughtful organization of garden tools, or anything else you can think of! Show us how you reuse in your yard!

 

 

Guidelines:
  • Materials must be reused
  • The submissions will be judged on three qualities: creativity, workmanship, & use of reused materials
  • Submissions must be made on or before the deadline

 

 

Submission:

When you’ve completed your creation, please provide at least 2 photos of your art piece, your contact info, and a short description of materials used. You can also send any social media handles you’d like us to tag if you are selected as the winner. Your submission can be made in person at our center or in an email to rethink@austincreativereuse.org

 

 

Prize:

One winner will be selected and they will receive a $10 e-Gift Card to ACR. We’ll also share their creation on our social media channels!

 

Deadline: Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

Find more inspo and ideas on our Pinterest Board!

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

Make: Using Collage as a Catalyst for Change

Collage is on the rise among contemporary artists confronting problems in society through their work. In celebration of Black History Month, we are highlighting 5 female artists using collage to talk about race and identity in their work. We’ve also included a tutorial at the end, showing how you can create your own portrait collage using the smallest of fabric scraps!

 

Born and raised Austinite, Deborah Roberts uses collage to critique notions of beauty, the body, race, and identity in contemporary society through the lens of Black children. Her first solo exhibition, I’m, is available to view now until August 15th at The Contemporary Austin

Deborah Roberts, The duty of disobedience, 2020. Mixed media collage on canvas.

 

Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu uses found materials, magazine cutouts, and painted imagery to create fantastical scenes that explore gender, race, war, colonialism, global consumption, and the exoticization of the black female body.

Wangechi Mutu, Le Noble Savage, 2006. Ink and collage on mylar.

 

Lorna Simpson uses photographs of women from old advertisements and replaces their hair with bold and beautiful ink splatters and splotches, highlighting hair for its profound intersection with identity. 

Lorna Simpson, Tulip, 2014. Collage and ink on paper.

 

Kara Walker, an American contemporary artist, uses room-size black cut-paper silhouettes to explore race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity. 

Kara Walker. African/American. 1998. Linoleum cut.

 

Nigerian artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby uses images of popular Nigerian icons, advertisements, and family photographs to represent themes relating to tradition and newness, politics and culture, and urban and rural in buzzing tension.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Predecessors, (detail) 2013. Charcoal, acrylic paint, graphite and transfer print.

 

Black History Month is coming to an end, but Black History does not end. It is American History, constantly generated by influential figures and studied to create new, resilient American generations. The time is nigh to review and learn from our past, both nationally and individually, to foster a strong and collaborative future for us all. 

 


Fabric Scrap Collage Tutorial

Use collage as a catalyst for change in your classroom or home life by celebrating influential Black figures in American history.

This tutorial is great for using up your quilting scraps or fabric samples for creating a unique collage! This is a no-sew tutorial, though you can easily use sewing techniques to create a fabric collage on a blank t-shirt, an unused canvas, or other blank fabric. Use a machine or hand sew your pieces, starting with the bottom layers first, to create a unique and lasting fabric collage from scraps.

 

Materials:

  • Fabric scraps or samples
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Sturdy background (file folder, cardstock, cardboard, wood scrap, etc)

 

Step 1

  • Pick your figure. It can be a historical or influential character, yourself, or anyone else you’d like to portray.

 

Step 2 

  • Select your fabrics. Think about the colors and shapes you’d like to use in this process and how they’ll come together.

 

Step 3

  • Cut out shapes. You can use a fabric marker to draw out your shapes on the fabric before cutting it. 

 

Step 4

  • Arrange the pieces on your surface. I used a wood tile sample for my background. Take a picture of your arrangement to reference when glueing down your pieces.

 

Step 5

  • Glue down. Start with the bottom most layer of fabric then continue to add on top. 

 

Step 6

  • Add any details you’d like, and celebrate!

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Justin Haggerty

 

When did you start creating art?

I started with mostly digital art designs a few years back, but around 2019 is when I really started to become fixated on painting. And there has been no turning back since (although I do still create digital art prints).

 

What is your preferred medium?

In terms of surface – I use both traditional wrapped canvas and 1/2” birchwood panels for all of my paintings. I tend to prefer using the birchwood panels since they allow for some really interesting cutout and layering ideas to come to life.

In terms of painting materials – Although it isn’t exactly the most classical approach to painting, I use a combination of Behr marquee house paints and sharpie oil paint markers. The house paints are great because of the 100s of different color combinations that they offer, and the markers support true line work precision that has become so critical to my “style”.  

 

 

What drives your creative spirit?

I am driven by the satisfaction that comes from conceptualizing a design and bringing it into reality. That point of conclusion, that you created something that is literally one of a kind. Something you can touch and feel, that was made by a human hand, and that has your signature all over it (not literally ).

 

How has your art adapted during the pandemic?

The only real change has been a willingness to try new things. The majority of my work in the past was of the human form, and it continues to be my favorite type of subject matter to work with. But I have started to really dive into wildlife and plant life, and it feels both scary and exhilarating to venture into new areas of subject matter.

 

 

How does reuse play a part in your art?

The main thing that ACR has introduced into my work, and which will continue to become a theme in my portfolio, are the painting surfaces and repurposed frames. There are countless small and large surfaces that can be repurposed from ACR – and you are able to breathe new life into something that was once something else. That’s especially true with these vintage frames that just require a little cleanup, and a fresh coat of paint – and then my painting is brought into a whole new territory of visual excitement (at least from my perspective ).

 

See more of Justin’s portfolio on instagram: @simple_compositions

 

Our People Make It Possible

By: Jennifer Evans

 

Our people move mountains.

 

Literally.

 

Our staff and volunteers transform the tens of thousands of pounds of donations we receive every month into appealing, affordable creative materials that can find new life in classrooms, art studios and your next creative project.  They stock our online store, prepare projects for volunteers and create tutorials that inspire.  In normal times, they lead creative workshops in the center and help educate the community about the benefits of creative reuse.

 

 

We know our people are what makes Austin Creative Reuse possible.  Our dedicated staff and volunteers have powered our growth from our earliest days and in the last year, they have seen us through an unprecedented global pandemic.  Their well-being has always been our top priority – our commitment to them led us to close our doors to the public twice in the last year as we sought to do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

 

 

In 2020, we undertook a months-long process to document exactly what that commitment to our people means to our organization.  At the end of that process, our Board of Directors adopted a new core value that sets out exactly how we put that commitment into action.  We are delighted to now share this commitment with our community.

 

Our people make it possible : Staff and volunteers who are valued and engaged make ACR a joyful place to work, shop and create.

  • We invest in our people at all levels. Through comprehensive training, professional development, opportunities to innovate and more, we are making ACR a place where our staff can continuously grow.
  • We are committed to creating a workplace experience where our people can thrive.
  • Fair compensation and professional development opportunities are a reflection of our values. We aim to be a community leader among other organizations in our community.
  • Our volunteers are an integral part of our team. Their generous gifts of time and talent keep our wheels turning and connect the community to our work.
  • We engage a staff and volunteer base that is reflective of the diversity of our community.

 

 

In 2020, we celebrated this new core value by offering paid time off to our staff for the first time.  We look forward to continuing to share with our community how we are putting this value into action.  

 

 

You can help us continue to support our staff while our center is once again closed to the public – we invite you to use our safe contactless shopping options, purchase a gift card or make a financial contribution to ACR if your situation allows.  Help us put community first, starting with the individuals who make it all happen.

 

We thank you!

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