Blog

Staff Spotlight: Kat Moulton

Each month, we highlight one of our dedicated ACR staff members so you can get to know the folks behind your favorite reuse center! This month, it’s our Operations and Administrative Coordinator, Kat Moulton. See her favorite picks at the center’s Creation Station, along with a tutorial for making reuse napkin rings to dress up your table this holiday season!

 

 

How did you find Austin Creative Reuse?

I don’t remember exactly how I heard about ACR. It could have been on Eventbrite, back when we were doing free Art of Reuse workshops, thanks to a grant from the city. I shopped at the center and attended events prior to working here.

 

What’s your favorite part about working at ACR?

I love our community! It feels good to be around people who share the same values – everyone is very environmentally conscious, and incredibly creative and talented. I’m constantly inspired by what our staff, volunteers, and other supporters are making. Also, we have the best volunteers! They take ownership of so many processes in the center, and it always amazes me how many hours of their time they contribute. We couldn’t exist without them.

 

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

I would say none of the above, I consider myself an experimenter. I mainly do collage and embroidery, but I also like to try out various mediums by taking workshops and classes, or playing with supplies that come through the center. 

 

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

I like spending time at home with my partner and our two dogs, tending to my garden and many plants, doing puzzles, and playing board games. I also love being outdoors. Growing up, I spent every summer and winter in New Hampshire – hiking, playing in the woods, and learning about plants and animals. The woods and mountains are my happy place – it’s where I can relax and recharge.

 

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

One time, when I was sorting a bag of leather scraps, I came across a face. It looked like it belonged to a skunk or similar type of animal. It still had all its fur, nose, and whiskers intact, plus two little slits where the eyes used to be. It was a little creepy, but I totally bought it.

 

Reuse Napkin Holder Tutorial

 


About Kat:

Kat’s love for art and conservation began at an early age when she spent summers crafting, exploring, and gardening at her grandma’s house – a log cabin in the woods! A former disaster relief professional, Kat left her career behind in order to have more time for creative endeavors. She enjoys experimenting with mediums she has never tried before, either on her own or by taking classes and workshops. Kat spends her free time dancing, caring for her many plants, snuggling with her two pups, and going on adventures with her partner.

 

2020, cotton thread on linen, 2020

 

I’m Not a Pussy, linoleum block print, 2017

 

Tune Out, magazine strips, 2018

November Reuse and Rethink Contest: Repurpose a Picture Frame

We all have a stash of picture frames laying around somewhere – frames that have been gifted to you, or handed down from family over the years that may not be quite your style. For this month’s Reuse and Rethink challenge, show us how you would transform a humble picture frame into something completely new!

 

Submission Criteria:

  •  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

Provide at least 2 photos of your piece, your contact info and a short description of materials used, and any social media handles you’d like us to tag if selected as the winner to rethink@austincreativereuse.org.

Deadline to submit is Saturday, November 30th.

 

Here are a few examples to get your creativity flowing!

Countertop Charging Station

 

Serving Tray

 

Herb Drying Rack

 

A Craft Piece

 

Jewelry Hanger

October Reuse and Rethink Contest Winner: Angie S!

In celebration of Halloween, we challenged you to create a costume or costume accessory out of reused materials. We’re delighted to announce our winner, Angie S, who created an “Amazon Warrior” costume out of use Amazon packaging! Our panel of judges were blown away by the creativity, craftsmanship, and the inspired use of materials. Congrats, Angie!

 

Angie S as an “Amazon Warrior”

 

Thanks to everyone else for your submissions! We love seeing your work!

Sustainability Spotlight: City of Austin Circular Economy Program

 

What is the mission of your company or organization?

The City of Austin Circular Economy Program’s mission is to turn Central Texas into the most vibrant circular economy in the United States. In a circular economy, waste is designed out and products and materials stay in productive use in our community. Through a partnership between Austin Resource Recovery and the Economic Development Department, we attract, retain and grow local businesses and non-profits in the circular economy sector. We also support the everyday habits and skills needed to transition to this circular future.

 

What environmental issues do you address?

Austin has a goal to reach zero waste by 2040, which means keeping 90% of materials out of the landfill. Besides the impact on our landfills, this work also addresses climate change. 45% of carbon emissions reductions needed to reach the UN’s climate change goals must come from how we make and use products and how we produce food. Everyone can take part in this by repairing, reusing, sharing, borrowing, and consuming less. 

And we need businesses and non-profits to provide those services or make those practices possible. We also need companies who are rethinking business models and redesigning products to be easily reused and recycled. That’s why the City of Austin Circular Economy Program works to attract and support business in the circular economy sector. That sector includes recyclers, composters, repair services, thrift stores, rental companies, and other businesses that design out waste. Check out some of the local companies in this sector here.

 

What eco friendly initiatives does your company or organization uphold?

  • We make it easier for people to repair their broken items instead of throwing them out. We organize Fix-It Clinics and online Fix-It at Home workshops to teach repair skills like sewing and bike maintenance.
  • We make it easier to donate goods and consume responsibly. The Austin Reuse Directory helps you find a local spot to donate, shop second hand, or find a repair or rental service. Our MoveOutATX initiative brings together local organizations to establish donation stations for college students during the annual campus ‘move out’ season. In 2019, MoveOutATX kept 92 tons of material out of the landfill (that’s around 42 school buses full of material).
  • We teach people about the circular economy. In a recent event, journalist Adam Minter showed us behind the scenes of the thrift industry. We regularly host events like this to share stories about circular companies and the global movement to reduce waste.
  • We support circular economy businesses and non-profits, with dedicated economic development staff ready to hear about their business needs and connect them to resources and networks to power their growth.  

 

How do you hope to make an impact on the Austin community or world at large?

The Circular Economy Program works to support a prosperous future for Austin–one that doesn’t rely on the extraction of natural resources, and that allows all people to thrive. We believe that a just transition to a circular economy can support all aspects of quality of life, to include the preservation and regeneration our city and planet’s natural resources and habitats, and the health and well-being of our residents.

 

Where can we find out more about your company or organization?

To learn more about the City of Austin Circular Economy Program, visit AustinTexas.gov/CircularEconomy, sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on local circular economy news, upcoming networking opportunities and events, and business resources. You can also follow Austin Resource Recovery on Facebook.

 

 

Staff Spotlight: Barbara Paris

Barbara standing next to the sign she painted for our community fence

 

We’re adding a new section of inspiration in our center – staff picks! Each month we’ll rotate our valued staff’s favorite items in the store and feature a customized project tutorial with supplies. To go along with the center display, we are spotlighting the staff member so you can get to know the folks who make ACR run on a day-to-day basis. Up first, longtime shift lead and workshop instructor Barbara Paris!

 

How did you find Austin Creative Reuse?

A friend told me about ACR because I’m an artist. I was blown away at the incredible bargains. I started volunteering right away.

 

What’s your favorite part about working at ACR?

My favorite thing about working at ACR is the community and people. Both, the people I work with, the volunteers and the customers who are more like friends and it makes me happy every day to see them. The people I’ve met over the past four years are creative, interesting, kind, and all-around beautiful people.

 

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

I am an artist and I have painted since I was very young and could get my fingers on paint. I do a lot of large scale paintings that typically have paper, glass, string beads and more. My two paintings below, Kaboom and Big Bird are made with oil paints and paper. The barrel I made is with acrylic paints, paper, beds, and glaze.

 

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

I teach art. I work in my yard, I love to, play tennis, hang out with my kids, and ride my bike.

 

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

Somebody’s teeth in a little jar. 

 

Tutorial: A Reuse Menorah

Reuse Menorahs

 

Nuts and Bolts Menorah

 

 

About Barbara:

I discovered ACR in 2016 as a teacher and artist, and I could not believe the variety and affordability that was available to me for my classroom and for my artwork. I quickly began volunteering once a week, and soon after joined the permanent team. As a career, I always felt that teaching was a calling to me, so naturally I brought my passion for education with me as we began forging a path for educators and education. I was born in NYC and raised in New Jersey, and moved to Austin many years ago. I am a mother, and taught in the local public schools after helping to start the children’s museum in New Braunfels and San Antonio, and am also the co-founder of Marmalade Skies, an art studio in Austin. I love working at the center, and love the community and collaboration that is fostered at ACR.

 

Big Bird

Kaboom

Tortured Heart #3

October Volunteer Spotlight: Ericka Laborde

Each month, we highlight one of the incredible people from our volunteer community. This month, we’re excited to feature Ericka Laborde, who has been helping out regularly in the center the past few months, sorting the mountains of material donations that we receive each week. We appreciate all of Ericka’s contributions and we’re happy to announce that she has recently joined our team as a Reuse Specialist! Be sure to welcome her when you see her around the center!

 

What motivates you to volunteer? 

I believe we can make a difference by volunteering with causes that we believe in. There are so many ways to make the future brighter for everyone if we just give a little of our time, money, and resources.

 

Why ACR? 

I really love the community of ACR. The people who work there are so great and the mission statement really speaks to me. Being thoughtful about how we reuse and making sure that we give a second life to items we no longer use anymore is so impactful. I also love knowing that these art supplies and other reuse items can more easily get into the hands of people that may not have had a chance before!

 

How long have you volunteered with ACR? 

I started volunteering just back in August, but have definitely donated supplies for about 3 years now, since I moved to Austin.

 

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

Is this a trick question? Haha. I am very much into both aspects of ACR. I love buying second hand for my crafting projects or just wandering around the store, seeing what new mediums I can try out. I love knowing that I can make something from reusable items, not adding more into the world, but using what has already been made.

 

Where else have/do you volunteer? 

For right now, I have not volunteered anywhere else, but that will change soon. I am using my volunteer time at ACR as a jumping off point to look into other organizations I can get involved with.

 

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

I love knowing that I’m helping the environment and our community by getting reusable items back into the imaginative minds who shop and work at ACR. I love being able to see all of the different items that get donated to ACR and seeing what people make with them!

 

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

It’s always interesting to see what is being donated in the center! I’m either in awe at the wonderful donations coming through or cracking up at the funny little items that ACR workers find!

 

Reuse Gets Creepy This Halloween! 🧟‍♂️🤡💀

This Halloween is bound to be stranger than normal, and ACR is here to help you set the mood for the spooky season with some easy upcycled Halloween decorations for all ages. Here’s a roundup of some creepy cool crafts you can make with reused materials you can find at home, in your classroom or at ACR.

 

 

Upcycle your old paper lanterns for Halloween with this tutorial from Good Housekeeping

 

We’re loving these spider web hoops from Hey Let’s Make Stuff. ACR always has a good stock of embroidery hoops, yarn and pipe cleaners. This would also work with an old wire coat hanger.

 

These spooky candles from Make Life Lovely made from toilet paper rolls, glue and tea lights would find a great home on your mantle or kitchen table.

 

These mason jar lid spiders from 30 Minute Crafts are a great way to repurpose those lost and lonely mason jar lids hiding in the depths of your cabinets.

 

Dig into your recycling bin to make these super easy mummy lanterns made from old jars with gauze or crepe paper strips from The DIY Network.

 

So those are a few of our favorite easy upcycled Halloween crafts.  What tricks do you have up your sleeve for this creepy season?  Share them in the comments below!

A Reuse Halloween

By: Sondra Primeaux (ACR Board Member)

Halloween is the best time to break out the scissors and let your imagination go. Perhaps that is easy for me to say because it is my favorite holiday.  But how often are you able to be someone else for an evening? Rarely. And if you make your own costume? Well, the possibilities are endless.

Although I’ve never been an off-the-costume-rack kinda girl, my kids really sealed that deal. Without fail, they always wanted to be some kind of character that I just couldn’t grab off of a shelf at Target. Eventually, making our costumes just became a no-brainer. Being forever eco-minded, I would always start with what I already had in my arts and crafts stash. Where I fell short, off to a second hand store like Austin Creative Reuse I would go. I would argue that reuse makes for an even more original costume. I’m pretty sure that going to a Halloween party and seeing another person dressed exactly like you ranks up there as one of the worst things ever.

Here are just a few of my favorites over the years.

In 2012, Minecraft had only been on the scene for about three years. I remember seeing a few of the game characters that Halloween and most were DIY’d. It was fun to see all of the interpretations. My daughter was four at the time and it was unicorns-everything-all-day so I wanted her to have something she could play dress-up in throughout the year (until she was over unicorns). Yarn, construction paper, felt and camo fabric were about all we needed for that year’s success.

So maybe I talked my son into being the Gnome from one of my favorite books (his face gives it away), but this was an easy one to pull together. We just needed some simple poster board, fabric and a bit of fiber fill. The book only made for added effect. 

While kid costumes are fun to make, you can really go wild with adult costumes. This particular year, I was going for a French circus performer vibe. I had the beaded butterfly that I’d picked up at a yard sale years before and I knew that would be the centerpiece to inform the color palette. I had to do a bit of dying for this but ACR always has full bins of lace and trim ready to go. The skirt is just scraps of different tulle, something else I can always find at ACR and I just built that onto an already existing bodice. The headpiece was fun to make as well, which I crafted from silk scraps and a headband.

Austin Creative Reuse is ready to fulfill your most imaginative handmade costume needs! From paper to yarn to fabric, we have it all. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to create, come in and browse. You never know what you’ll find to inspire your next best Halloween costume.

 

October Artist Spotlight: Jayson Sol

Jayson

How did you start creating art?

The way I started creating artwork… Well I always drew as a child. A lot of stick figure comics and copying my favorite cartoons. I started taking it seriously, for lack of a better word, about five years ago. I first got into painting (mainly acrylic) and also dabbled with photography for a while. Both ventures didn’t go anywhere and I haven’t practiced much of either for years. 

What really ensnared me was a printmaking course I took at ACC several years ago. I took it as a prerequisite and completely fell in love with the entire process and the styles of printing. I tried to spend as much time as possible in the studio while also creating a workspace in my house for when I couldn’t go to the studio. I took the course multiple times, trying my hands with lithography and linocut printing. These days I do the majority of my work from home and I try to continually work and become better at it.

 

What is your preferred medium? 

My preferred medium is linoleum block printing. The practice where you carve away the negative space in a mounted block of linoleum to create the image. After you finish carving, you apply a thin layer of oil based ink with a brayer, and then use the block like a giant stamp. I either transfer the image by hand with a Japanese baren or use my press, depending on the complexity of the image. 

 

How does reuse play a part in your art?

Reuse plays a big part in my work. My first brayer was bought from ACR and I still use it today. I have bought so many frames from there. They have either been used for prints I’ve sold or ones I’ve hung in my house. One in particular is housing two prints I have on display at the Downtowner Gallery in Round Rock, Texas. I like buying second hand frames a lot – it helps save costs of framing and I often find more interesting ones than you get in art supply stores. I appreciate greatly that reuse culture has found its way into artists’ lives. It helps encourage new ideas and helps with waste that is entirely too prominent in our world. 

 

How has your art adapted during the pandemic?

If the pandemic has done anything for my artwork, I believe it helped honed it. With so much time being at home, it has allowed a hyper focus on what I’ve been creating. I would say that it has helped me release a lot of anxiety and stress from the frightening uncertainty that this year has created. More so, the pandemic helped me realize my true love for my craft. It’s the one thing that keeps me continually interested and engaged. Keeps my spirits high and mood optimal. I don’t know if it has adapted, so much to say it has improved. I’m still doing what I started doing several years ago but now it’s from home. I think my artwork has helped me adapt to this year than it has adapted to the year. 

 

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

Dang, that’s a hard one! There’s been so many through the years. Probably my brayer, it’s a four inch Speedball brayer and I use it more than any I own. I’ve enjoyed all the frames I’ve bought over the years. Many are decorating my living room. I found this beautiful 2006 calendar a year ago. It’s decorated with Japanese woodblock prints, a different design per month. I love it. It hangs right above my press and I look at it often. 

 

Where can we find out more about your art?

Anytime someone asks where they can find my art, I always tell them to just check out my Instagram account – @jayson_sol. That’s where all my latest and most old stuff is located. Those saved stories that float right below your account bio are awesome for cataloging your work and anything you see in those clips, I have multiple copies of. Anytime someone wants to buy something from me, I just tell them to send me a photo and I’ll set aside a copy of what they want. I’m very open about discussing my work! I encourage people to message me if they have questions about my process and how I create my stuff.

 

Hear more about Jayson and his art in the ATX Artist Social podcast episode here.

 

Make: Sesa Pure Tea Box Sorters

This simple tutorial shows you how to transform a Sesa Pure tea box into a personalized compartment to help you sort and organize all of your tiny treasures! These beautiful, wooden tea boxes are extremely versatile – what other creative uses can you think of? 

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