Blog

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!

 

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!

February Volunteer Spotlight: Julie Kennedy

Julie began volunteering with ACR in 2020, during a global pandemic. She has taken home numerous projects and helped us process, sort, label, and price the thousands of pounds of donations we get each month. A graphic designer by trade, Julie has also helped make craft tutorials for our social media channels to keep the community inspired in these crazy times! She was even featured as an artist in our Reuse Gallery back in November! We appreciate all of the work that Julie does for ACR and are so happy to have her as a part of the ACR family! Let’s get to know Julie a little more.

 

 

What motivates you to volunteer, and why ACR?

I was just raised that way. My mom was (and still is) a big volunteer. She volunteered at my school and in the community. I tend to volunteer with organizations that I’m passionate about… which is how I ended up volunteering at ACR!

 

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

That’s a tough question… both are important. I am a scrapbooker and card maker…. So I am always wanting to learn new techniques. I used to shop at garage sales and thrift stores to find cheaper items, as well as items I couldn’t find in local stores. I like to try new art techniques without investing a ton of money. Now I get all that from ACR! Plus, I love that I’m helping keep items out of the landfill. So many things can be reused. I also donate as much as I can to ACR. I have a child who, like all children, outgrows her interests as the years go by. So I take those things she’s outgrown and donate them to ACR. 

 

Where else have you/do you volunteer?

I have volunteered at my daughter’s schools over the years, as well as the local SPCA and Austin Pets Alive. I’ve also volunteered at a few Special Olympics.

 

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

I enjoy feeling like I’m part of something important… something that makes a difference in our community. And I like the people… and I can’t wait to meet more in person after this pandemic is over! 

 

What do you do when you are not volunteering at ACR?

I work full-time on my freelance graphic design business. But I travel whenever possible with my husband and my kiddo. Of course, with the pandemic, that’s on hold. So I make cards and think about catching up on my scrapbooking (for some reason, that always gets pushed to the bottom of the list). I have decided there are four hobbies involved when crafting… there is the watching of YouTube tutorials; the purchasing of craft supplies; the organization of craft supplies; and if time permits… the actual crafting. 

I also love to read and spend time with friends and my dog. I am also taking tap-dancing classes… just because it’s always something I’ve wanted to do. 

 

Here’s a sampling of Julie’s incredible handmade cards:

We’ve Been Keeping Busy!

Throughout this second closure, the team at Austin Creative Reuse has been working hard to improve the center and optimize how we use our limited space. We’re seizing every moment of having an empty center since changes that would have been impossible to tackle while open to the public, are suddenly doable. The next time you visit, you’ll be able to explore a new layout and unearth previously hidden treasures! 

The recently organized (and moved!) Floral and Glassware sections

So far, we’ve revamped several of our favorite sections, with our biggest project thus far being Fine Arts. This move took several days to accomplish and the results are stunning. Gone is the jumble of canvases, artist tools and paintbrushes! We have carefully curated this section to house several smaller categories like Drawing, Sculpture and Paint. We’ve been spreading love and attention throughout our entire center, with Craft and Floral also getting makeovers and many more changes just on the horizon. Never before has it been easier to find exactly what you are looking for, while also discovering things you’ve never seen before. 

 

Part of the new Fine Arts section

 

The new Drawing section

 

We’re so excited to see what else we can achieve before welcoming you all back into the center! Here are a few more sneak peeks!

 

Make: DIY Statues

 

Created by Reuse Specialist Sabina Dodge, these miniature, stone-like, DIY statues add interest to any garden or shelf. Try making them yourself by purchasing a kit from our online store. Be sure to share what you make by emailing us at info@austincreativereuse.org or tagging us on Instagram @austincreativereuse

 

Supply list:
  • 3 cork squares per statue
  • Small bag of moss
  • Small bag of small rocks
  • Trophy top(s)
  • White, Grey, or other neutral paint
  • 1 sheet green felt

 
Instructions

1. Remove any parts of the trophy you don’t want or that makes it look too modern.

2. Apply a first coat of paint to the figure. Holding the bottom screw with a clamp or pliers works great

3. Let coat dry while starting on base

4. Use a stick, or just the bottom screw of the figure to poke a hole in the middle of the cork squares. (Alternatively, wait until you have completed Step 7 to make the holes.)

5. Stack 3 cork squares to form your base, this will be tall enough for the screw on the bottom of the figure.

6. Line up the holes in the corks, then break off pieces around the outside of the cork to make the shape more irregular and natural looking. Each cork piece should be smaller than the one below it. This will add more dimension to the base.

7. Glue the cork shapes together, making sure to keep the holes lined up. 

8. Attach the figure to your base. The screw on the bottom of the figure will hold it in place, you can glue it in place if you want.

9. Using glue, spread the moss around the base, covering the cork. If a little cork shows through, it’s ok, as it’s still an earthy color.

10. Being very light with your glue or adhesive, sprinkle or place some rocks around the base, they’re great for filling in little gaps between the moss.

11. Using a slightly darker shade of paint (mixing a tiny bit of brown into grey works well), and a stiff brush, dry brush the figure to make it look more weathered.

You’re done!

 

Instructions for an Alternate Statue

1. After painting this figure, I decided I didn’t think the ball she was holding fit what I wanted, so I broke that hand off. Ancient statues often have limbs or other pieces broken off, so even damaged trophy tops will work great for this project!

2. Follow steps 4-7 above to make the cork base.

3. Cut a piece of felt a bit bigger than your base, then glue it over the cork base, pressing it down into the nooks and crannies of the base so it has more texture and dimension.

4. Trim all but a tiny bit of excess around the edge after gluing, then fold it under the bottom, gluing it in place.

5. Cut a small hole in the felt to match the cork, then attach your figure per step 8.

6. Decorate your base and figure how you want like in steps 9-11

Note: Using felt to cover the cork is nice if you want a more minimalist base, or if the brown cork doesn’t fit with your idea.

Staff Spotlight: Sabina Dodge

Sabina Dodge

Each month, we feature one of the incredible staff members who help make the magic happen at ACR. This month, it’s Reuse Specialist Sabina Dodge! Sabina started out as a volunteer when the center was located at the Linc, and we quickly realized that we had to have her as part of the ACR team. Read more about Sabina below and see her tutorial for DIY Statues!

 

How did you find Austin Creative Reuse?

In the Summer of 2019, I was searching for local fabric and craft stores, and when I saw ACR in the results, I decided that this is a place I have to check out. My first time at the center, I was approached by a couple of staff members interviewing customers about their thoughts on the center. After talking for a while, I was totally on board. After that, I’d volunteer at the center each week after class, and after a few months of volunteering, I had an opportunity to become a staff member.

 

What’s your favorite part about working at ACR?

The community. I sincerely love hearing about what all of our community members have made or are making. It’s just a great vibe, and I’ve met so many interesting people who do amazing things.

 

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

Crafter would probably describe me best. I really enjoy costuming, at the moment it’s mostly post-apocalyptic costume and prop projects, though one day I’d love to get into historical clothing and costuming. My projects definitely involve sewing and altering clothes, but my apocalyptic props often involve other mediums– metal, leather, wood, plastic, electrical components, or just weird random junk.

 

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

For other hobbies, I enjoy tabletop RPGs and video games, discovering music, learning about film, history, and philosophy, and socializing with friends (even if only online these days). 

 

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

Recently there was a sword, that was pretty cool.


About Sabina:

Sabina moved to the Austin area from Sweden as a child. She’s long had a passion for various types of art, craft, and music, so Austin was a fantastic city to grow up around. Environmental science, the outdoors, and conservation have been a big part of her life for a long time, and after majoring in Communication Studies at ACC, ACR was a perfect fit. She’s an amateur crafter, always learning and improving various skills.

 

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