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January Volunteer Spot light: Sarah Humphries

Sarah Humphries

What motivates you to volunteer?

Nonprofits have been a part of my life for the past 20 years.  I enjoy giving back to the community for causes I believe in. Also, for the fabric! I enjoy making garments to wear from my fabulous fabric finds.

 

Why ACR?

From the moment I first walked in the door, I felt I had stepped into a Magical, Crafting Wonderland, and immediately wondered, “Will they let me live here?” Since that’s not an option, I went with the next best thing: volunteering. Having worked for nonprofits and volunteered at other organizations, I have never experienced anywhere that treats its volunteers as well as ACR.

 

How long have you volunteered with ACR?

I began volunteering this past summer, but because of the welcoming nature of the ACR staff and other volunteers, it feels like I have been here for years.

 

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

Both! While I really enjoy the crafting aspect, I also love there is a place for us to donate items that we may no longer need or want that keeps a lot of reusable items out of the landfill.

 

Where else have you/do you volunteer?

In the past, I have volunteered at downtown food pantries and serving meals to the homeless. Currently, working full time, raising a teenager daughter, and running marathons (slowly), I focus my volunteer time at ACR.

 

What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering for ACR?

First and foremost, the people. It’s a great group of diverse people who bring so much knowledge and talent to the organization. The time I spend with the other volunteers is often the highlight of my day. It’s often like therapy, great company, and even sometimes a comedy show all in one.

Secondly, all the eclectic things that come through the store. I mean where else are you going to come across a plastic foot, a sequined dress, and a bucket of hinges all in one store?

Also, hearing all the fascinating and creative ways people are using the items they buy.

 

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

I love the Thursday afternoon fabric rolling parties. Somehow I have become the official model for any garments that may come through. From cave person to fringed cowboy pants to what may have been a magician’s jacket, it’s the Thursday ACR fashion show.

Thanks for all you do to keep Austin creative Reuse ROLLIN’ Sarah!!

 

January Local Artist Spotlight: KD Kinetic

by Elena Escobedo

by Elena Escobedo

by Velvet Cartel

by Velvet Cartel

 

 

KD Kinetic

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

I started creating art the old fashion Millennial way…I saw pictures on Photobucket and Myspace when I was in 6th grade and felt ~iNsPiReD~. I begged my parents for a camera and thankfully they got me one for my birthday. I was in dance for 10 years as a kiddo, but a light-bulb went on in my head when I started to understand how to create a photograph. Photography was my love for 6 years, and throughout those 6 years I discovered my passion for makeup, styling, and conceptual self portraits. I loved turning myself into a character and creating a photo that I saw in my mind. My dance background plus my love of makeup/costuming came full circle when I started pursing performance art in 2013. Since then I’ve performed around the U.S. and lived in Brooklyn for a few years working at a performance art establishment called House of Yes. I’m back in Austin now and at this moment my preferred mediums are immersive theater, installation art, and costuming aka turning a look aka being wild and fabulous.

 

What drives your creative spirit these days?

The need for education that can inspire social change, in particular our mindset toward consumption. When we learn to take care of our planet through mindful and ethical consumption, we learn how to nurture ourselves and our relationships. The injustice fueling the fast fashion industry and carelessness of society regarding our trash hurts my heart. We have been taught to be wasteful and thoughtless with how we consume everything from food, to clothes, to tinder dates. My creative spirit can’t be quiet, it’s a great way to get nothing done and a terrible way to make progress. Artists create culture, and culture has the power to create positive changes in our daily lives. The last thing that drives my creative spirit is purely my love of art. I love making looks, stories, characters, images…all of it. Even when I want to throw my work across the room because I just fixed that one thing 50x, I still love it! The act of creating allows me to entertain and focus my energy into something productive, interesting, stirring, and educational.

 

How does reuse play a part in your art?

Between thrifting, making wearable plastic art and installations out of plastic, my art wouldn’t exist without reusing. This idea of constantly wanting more leaves me feeling empty. I respect wanting the best for ourselves, but at what cost? Could the “best” already be present and we’re too trapped in consumerism to enjoy it? Whatever that “more” may be, it can hinder my ability to see what is already around me. Creating art from trash and reusing supplies has allowed me to find the power in what I already have. We don’t always need to buy a ton of new sh*t to make new sh*t. Reusing holds me accountable, I better have the intent to use it till it’s done or keep it for a long time.

 

What compels you to donate to ACR?

Knowing that whatever is donated could make someone’s day! Someone might really need that one thing that you don’t care about anymore, and knowing you could give someone else that special, “Oh my gawd I just found exactly what I needed! Woah! Thank you stranger!” moment is freaking awesome.

 

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

One was this giant bin of color sorted bottle caps…I lost my mind. The bottle caps are being turned into costume pieces and curtains for my immersive installation Plastique that will debut later this year. Stay tuned 😉 😉 😉 😉 😉

 

Where can we find out more about your art?

Instagram @kd_kinetic

Website www.kdkinetic.com

 

Reuse and Rethink Challenge: January

This Month’s Challenge: Metal

The most popular DIY projects using metal are home accessories and furniture. Metal sheets, scraps, keys, paper clips, or reclaimed metal including aluminum cans or old cutlery are just a few of the pieces you might find easily.
You do not need special equipment or technical skills to create heart-stirring projects. We hope you’ll take this months challenge!  Please feel free to email rethink@austincreativereuse.org with any questions.

 

Here is how it works:

Each month we give you a new material for our Reuse Rethink challenge.

Deadline: January 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!

Each month, we will have a creative reuse contest!
Come shop for not only your craft supplies but with a challenge in mind – (think Unconventional Challenge)

Good luck!

December Volunteer Spotlight: Vernon Berger

Vernon Berger

What motivates you to volunteer?   

There are many  reasons  why I volunteer. While growing up, we did not have many disposable items. If something broke we would try to fix it because it was the only one we had and we didn’t want to spend more money unless it was necessary. Another reason is there are a lot of people that can use the extra items of excess.

 

Why ACR?  

My background is in the art/creative fields. While developing as an art person, the simple supplies cost a lot if you don’t have much money. You take care of your tools. ACR is a great spot for me to help like minded people achieve their ideas. I get great pleasure from helping ideas develop if it’s materially or mentally.

 

How long have you volunteered with ACR?  

In my searches for creative ideas and objects, I encountered ACR and their mission. This was before I knew it as Austin Creative Reuse. Since I am always searching, I found things that they could use. I got great satisfaction from finding a spot for the found objects.

 

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

I am into both aspects. I think everyone needs the arts for therapy. And, we all need now more than ever to conserve, reuse, and recycle.

Where else have you/do you volunteer?  

I have helped at Next to New and Green Gate Farms. Now my interests are with the many programs of the city of Austin. They have some great developments going on in the recycling areas and Fix It programs.

 

What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering for ACR?

I like arts involvement and helping people find their inspiration.

 

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

There are many fun moments. Every time someone discovers a new perspective, that’s exciting!

 

Thanks for all you do Vernon!

Cute DIY snowman key ornaments

 

Instructions here: RECYCLED KEY SNOWMAN ORNAMENTS

Credit to:

Recycled Key Snowman Ornaments

Reuse and Rethink Challenge: December

This Month’s Challenge:

You Choose the Material!

New Uses for Reused Materials:

What can you make for the holidays?

 

Each month we give you a new material for our Reuse Rethink challenge.

This month we are putting in a little twist on things – YOU GET TO PICK THE MATERIAL!

Tis the season of giving and sharing, and we want to see what you can make – unique handmade gifts, decorations or etc. are the best and most cherished of all the things!

It can be anything from painted wrapping paper, scarves, picture frames, ornaments, decorative jars filled with candy, something that represents the holidays in your own way –  mostly we want to see y’all really WOW us with your creativity!

 

Here is how it works:

Deadline: December 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!

Each month, we will have a creative reuse contest!
Come shop for not only your craft supplies but with a challenge in mind – (think Unconventional Challenge)

Good luck!

Local Artist Spotlight: Calder Kamin

Calder Kamin

 

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

I have always been an artist and always adored animals. I received a BFA in ceramics and art history from the Kansas City Art Institute.
Before I made creatures from garbage, I made them in clay. A few years after undergrad, I started asking serious questions about my practice. My work was about nature, and how animals were impacted by the man-made world. I asked myself ” Why am I using clay? I am literally pulling materials out of the Earth and using an abundant amount of energy to turn it into rock. Some materials are toxic, it’s heavy and it breaks. What purpose does it serve? How can my materials be part of the message?”
Around the same time, I was gifted two hand-made bird feeders for my birthday. My birthday is in December, so I learned, if you feed the birds in winter they tend to stay. I become enthralled with observing them, identifying the species, calls and behaviors. Come spring, many of the birds in my yard were using rubbish to build their nests. This fascinated me. These animals were reusing the trash in the environment as raw material for their architecture. I wanted to be more like the birds.
My first trash project was called the Synanthrope Station. Synanthropes are animals that thrive in the human world. Synanthrope Stations are ceramic capsules equipped with synthetic nesting supplies for urban dwelling birds. I collected litter from my neighborhood and organized it to be redistributed as building materials for avian architecture. This collaboration between the artist and animal served as a testament to nature’s ability to adapt to human development and a reminder that humans still need to find creative solutions for plastic waste. This lead into a deep dive in material research. I made frogs from birth control packets to discuss the effects of synthetic estrogen on the environment, learned to cut plastic bags into yarn for crocheting from clips of little old ladies on youtube, and then began to strip and twist the plastic bags.

How does reuse play a part in your art?Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it photo-degrades. UV light causes it to break down into smaller and smaller particles that are being ingested by wildlife and humans. The twisted plastic bags created a texture similar fur or grass. I meticulously apply each plastic piece and sculpt it into a trash eating scavenger animals. Raccoons, foxes, rats, opossums, skunks, deer and squirrels are some of the main protagonists in my work.  Plastic Planet was born.

Trash is culturally considered waste, not a resources as the animals see it. Nature doesn’t waste, why do we? Bags were banned in Austin from 2013 until the summer of 2018. I had limited reach to my raw materials when I first began, which was a good thing, but I had to be creative on how I reached my resources. It began with asking friends and family from around the country to mail me bags. Later friends of friends, Instagram followers and fans sent me bags, begging to be a part of my trash transformation.  With the help of my extended community, the Plastic Planet series diverted thousands of plastic bags from the environment. To my delight, my work has become a community effort, ACR included.

What compels you to donate to ACR?

After my solo show Plastic Planet at Women & Their Work, I reflected on my own consumption. I started to refuse or reuse all single-use plastic. I bring my lunch, cup and to-go Tupperware. I walk or ride the bus to work and always try to buy second-hand. If we all made simple little changes, it could create a major impact.

I am not perfect but on a journey to be better. This makes me a HUGE proponent of the circular economy. What the ACR does is magical. I love digging through Austin’s trash and filling up my $5 bucket. I couldn’t have made my installation at the San Antonio children’s museum without the ACR staff, volunteers and vision for a better Austin.

The process for making the plastic bag animals is incredibly taxing on my body. I literally have athlete sprains from the twisting. ACR and the Austin Resource Recovery Center has allowed me to discover new materials and resources. New critters and plants are formed using koozies, Easter egg shells and bottle caps found at the ACR. Also spray paint caps collected from the grounds of the Hope Gallery. I’m not much different from the scavenger animals I sculpt. There is a lot of playing around in my studio and this direction has brought me so much joy and new connections. My work’s greater purpose is manifesting hope and possibilities for our plastic problem. I bring a second life to your stuff by turning it into a colorful and smiling creatures. Anyone can do it. It’s simple, I have the ACR, my hands, ideas and a hot glue gun.

Where can we find out more about your art?

“Dream Tomorrow Today” through January 6, 2019 or join me for the opening reception of “What a Mess” my solo show at the Central Library Gallery April 19-May 26, 2019. Arts in Context’s “Plastic Planet” on KLRU , San Antonio’s the DoSeum, @calderful on instagram

Thanks for all you do to help keep the Austin creative!

November Craft Night – small zippered bags

We were hoping to introduce a few folks to the handiest of items in our reuse tool box, the sewing machine.  While not a full on introduction to sewing, we wanted to show how a few simple straight seams could turn a zipper and a bit of vinyl or plastic into a handy little pouch.

Vinyl and plastic is the perfect material to use for a first sewing project.  By their nature, vinyl and plastic edges do not fray unlike your average fabric.  This means exposed seams are just fine for most projects thus saving you a few steps.  Vinyl and plastic are also waterproof making the pouches just a bit more durable and easy to clean.

We have tons of vinyl decorator samples that are just the right size for these projects.  If vinyl is not your thing, did you know you can iron most plastic bags with an iron on low temp to create a durable material that’s perfect for making pouches.  Just iron between two pieces of paper to keep the plastic from melting onto your iron or board.

If a zipper still seems overwhelming, you can also sew in velcro as your closure.  We hope to have more craft night featuring the use of sewing machines.

 

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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

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Amy Grafe

 

We love our volunteers!

The majority of the donations processing is done by volunteers at the center. We’d like you to meet one of the special folks behind all this hard work. Amy Grafe

What motivates you to volunteer?

I like to feel useful.

Why Austin Creative Reuse?

I love arts and crafts, especially reusing and re-purposing unloved things. I have always saved bits of ribbon, elastic, or anything else I could imagine finding another use for, so ACR was a perfect fit for me. I also love the people I have met here and being around all their creativity is inspiring.

How long have you volunteered with ACR?

About 3 years.

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

I love both the art and conservation. There is so much waste in this world. I am happy to be involved in keeping things out of the landfill.

Where else have you/do you volunteer?

I haven’t volunteered with any other organization in a long time…I probably should.

What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering for ACR?

I love being surrounded by creative people and endless arts and crafts supplies.

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

I have no stories…or…What happens at ACR, stays at ACR.

 

Thanks for all you do Amy!!

 

Sign up and check out our full list of opportunities here

If you would like to volunteer to assist with the workshops or events, please email: info@austincreativereuse.org

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