April Artist Spotlight: Niku Arbabi

Niku Arbabi



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


I’ve always been a maker! I’m particularly drawn to everything fiber but also paper, color in all things, and the ephemeral magic of everyday objects. Most of my work is textile related, but I also like overlapping mediums and pushing at the boundaries of “art” and “craft”, perpetually exploring and experimenting.


For the past 10 years my creative practice and work as a teacher has been particularly focused on slow/sustainable fashion, modern quilting, embroidery, and textile printing, plus zine making, mail art, and (paper) collage and I find that they all inform and influence each other.


2) How does reuse play a part in your art?

Reuse helps me relate to objects more thoughtfully and creatively. They help me see a whole new world of possibilities in objects and the way we relate to them, and the impact they have and that we have on our world.


Reuse is an important element in my teaching practice because it’s one way we can make craft and creative communities more accessible, amplify more voices, and build a stronger community.

Reuse can help take pressure and risk out of trying something new so we can take that leap and see where it leads, and keep growing creatively.

Reuse helps energize the fundamental idea that everyone is an artist and that you don’t need a perfect tool to make good and important art, which is integral to my teaching and collaborations.

And it’s crucial to my life as I work to sustain as a freelance creative in a society that doesn’t tend to value or support that. Reuse empowers on so many levels!

3) What compels you to donate to ACR?


I’m definitely a maximalist, as a maker and as a collector. Donating to ACR helps me feel like I’m sort of keeping all those treasures and just loaning them out without actually having to keep all of it. I think of ACR as a temporary holding area for all of our supplies, so I can share my stuff, and I can borrow things back again when I need them. And I get to see my stuff go to a place that treats every object as a resource with possibility rather than trash.


4) Where can we find out more about your art?

Find me at my website and @xostitches on Instagram

Upcoming Events

Thanks for all you do to help keep Austin creative and crafty!




DIY birdhouses out of recycled materials

Happy Spring!  You can turn almost anything into a birdhouse.  Use a clean empty container and decorate as desired.  Here are some great examples.  Check out ACR for your decorating supplies!


Making a Donation to ACR

We want to share a friendly reminder and request to please only donate materials during our open hours of operation or by appointment. This allows our staff to screen donations in person and ensure we are taking in materials on our accepted items list and redirecting other items to appropriate organizations.
Please do not leave donations outside the shop at any time.
Thank you in advance for your help with this!




Austin Creative Reuse collects clean and reusable supplies for the creative community in Austin.

Please follow these steps when making a donation to ACR:
1. Make sure we accept what you have. Check out the lists of: ITEMS WE ACCEPT and ITEMS WE DON’T ACCEPT.

2. Bring your materials during our open hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 10 am to 8 pm or Friday and Saturday 10 am to 6 pm or Sunday 12 pm -5 pm. WE DO NOT ACCEPT DONATIONS ON MONDAYS or TUESDAYS.

3. Make an appointment if you have more than 4 bags or boxes. Give us a call at (512) 375-3041 to schedule a drop-off.

4. Bring your donation in a box or bag you will leave with us. We do not empty donations into other containers

5. We reserve the right to reject any donations, and will look through your donations before accepting – the more organized your materials are, the quicker we can get you in and out.

6. We will give you a tax receipt and that good feeling that comes with supporting your local creative reuse nonprofit!









April Reuse and Rethink Challenge: Keys









 They carry stories with them, and they can be used for their utility and beauty in all kinds of craft projects. Keys are beautiful in both texture and shape. Check out some of these cool reuse projects using keys here. Then come shop for your keys at the center, they are 5 for $1!

Here is how the challenge works:

Each month we give you a new material for our Reuse Rethink challenge. Deadline: Tue. April 30th

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

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 with any questions. Good luck!

Find more inspo and ideas on our Pinterest Board!

March Volunteer Spotlight: Blessing Taclobao

Blessing Taclobao

What motivates you to volunteer? Partly the drive to spend my time in productive ways, partly the knowledge that this doesn’t have to be solitary or self-centered, and partly the opportunities to both expand my existing skillset and interact with a wide variety of people.

Why ACR?
I chose ACR because I knew I could put my skills to work right away: identifying & pricing art supplies, coming up with new possible ways to utilize them, organizing & maintaining our available space, and of course doing some literal heavy lifting. Beyond that, the fact that ACR ensures that art supplies remain easily accessible to Austin’s creative community really struck a chord with me and I felt that contributing to this undertaking was the right thing to do.

How long have you volunteered with ACR?
I’ve only been here since last September, but these six months have already been fantastic and I look forward to many more with ACR!

Are you more into the arts aspect of ACR or the conservation aspect and why?Definitely the arts side, if only because I have significantly more hands-on experience with making art. That being said, the more I learn about the finer workings of ACR’s conservation efforts, the more fascinating that side becomes to me. Seemingly everything can be diverted from the landfill one way or another, e.g. utilizing scrap fabric for insulation or creating closed supply chains with schools so that teachers have a place to obtain or donate supplies.

Where else have you/do you volunteer?
I don’t currently volunteer anywhere else, but I spent a few summers volunteering at the education department & butterfly garden at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX. Like at ACR, there was never a shortage of tasks to take care of; unlike at ACR, most of those tasks involved running from one side of the zoo to another and/or getting very messy very quickly.

What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering for ACR? I love hearing what our customers plan to do with the supplies they buy, because their answers vary so widely and it’s great to watch them light up when they talk about their projects.

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

On the second day of orientation, I was sorting through a box of loose rocks and found one that looked like a chunk of Himalayan rock salt. I licked it to be sure, only to find that it was actually a piece of candy that had found its way into the box.

Thanks for all you do to help ACR Blessing!

February Reuse and Rethink Contestants

Here’s the winner and contestants for our February Reuse and Rethink Contest: CD’s

Congrats to Janis Fowler!!
“Here are a few pictures of the Glow in the Dark, black-light sensitive, pour- painted CD wall I made using my CDS!”
Janis you can come pick up your Prize – One FREE Bucket load from our Bucket Section at ACR!
As for all our other participants – we want to thank you by gifting you a free button pin of your choice!


Title:  Clerk (Part-time, 20-30 hours)

Possible schedule: Evening Shift approx. 2pm-9pm, including one weekend day

Wage: $13.50

Reports to: Shift Lead

Who We Are

Austin Creative Reuse is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to foster conservation and reuse through creativity, education, and community building.

  • We collect, distribute, and sell reusable materials donated from industry and individuals.
  • We educate the community about how to reduce, reuse, and create in responsible and fun ways. We make instructional kits, have a library of design and art ideas, and share these online and in-store.
  • We unite the community by hosting a range of events, activities, and classes that bring people together to build awareness around conscious consumption, sustainability, and art
  • We promote awareness of like-minded organizations to reduce overlap and increase awareness of city resources.

What We Offer

  • Fun, creative and collaborative environment that will give you great experience working in the non-profit industry and with a diverse staff and volunteer population.
  • Ability to expand role based on interest and skill set.  

What You’ll Do

The Austin Creative Reuse Clerk is friendly, personable, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Austin Creative Reuse and our mission. This is a vital role as you will be the first and last contact for customers visiting the center. You will be greeting customers as they enter the center and helping customers check out quickly. An Austin Creative Reuse clerk will become familiar with center pricing and will use sound judgement to complete transactions. You will use Square to process credit card sales and be able to handle money for cash sales.  You will engage the customer about their experience in the center and let them know about making financial donations, future programs and events.

  • Greet new customers and introduce them to the center and current programming.
  • Main point person for the register and front of the center.
  • Manage all aspects of customer transactions including making sure that transaction data is accurately entered into the cash register.
  • Follow opening/closing procedures for center and register
  • Engage and participate in a growing, expanding non-profit helping to develop and provide feedback of new programming and procedures.
  • Physical Requirements: Push/pull merchandise with appropriate equipment to and from backroom and sales floor. Lift, place, and arrange items on shelves and racks. Bend down and reach above head. Climb and descend ladder. Stand during an entire shift (other than normal break time).

What You’ll Bring

We are looking for amazing people with diverse backgrounds and a genuine passion for creativity and reuse. Our ideal candidates will be comfortable talking about crafting materials and dealing with pricing questions.  We expect our clerks to:

  • Be outstanding at customer service.
  • Be efficient at checking out customers quickly.
  • Have excellent organizational skills and attention to detail, especially dealing with register.
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Be able to juggle multiple tasks and work in an active non profit environment


  • Previous customer service and cashier experience
  • Basic knowledge of Point of Sales Systems and cash drawer reconciliation
  • Basic computer skills including knowledge of email, Microsoft Office, and google drive
  • Minimum: High School Diploma or Equivalent.

The above is intended to describe the general content of the requirements for the performance of this job. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities or requirements.

To Apply

Please submit your resume and tailored cover letter online to

We review applications on a rolling basis, so it is to your advantage to apply as soon as possible.  We will not consider applications without a cover letter tailored to this position.

At Austin Creative Reuse, we believe that diversity makes us stronger and challenges us to think differently every day. Austin Creative Reuse  provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status or disability.

Learn More

Austin Creative Reuse:

Reuse and Rethink Challenge: March

:: Caps & Lids ::

Plastic bottle-cap crafts are a wonderful way to reuse small metal and plastic. Help keep this abundant material out of the oceans!  With all those vibrant colors, the possibilities are endless, or snazz them up yourself with your favorite colored paints.

Be creative and resourceful, while having lots of fun.

Plus you can find plenty of Caps and Lids in our Bucket section for just 25 cents each or fill a bucket for just $5!

We hope you’ll take this months challenge!  Please feel free to email with any questions.

Here is how it works:

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

Deadline: March 31st

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

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)

Good luck!

Find more inspo and ideas on our Pinterest Board!

March Artist Spotlight: Melissa Knight

How did you start doing art and what are you working on these days?

I found my way to batik through poetry. I was invited to display one of my poems at a group art exhibition and was looking for a creative way to display my poem. Someone suggested creating a batik banner. I had no idea what batik was, so I set out to explore what it was and I instantly fell in love! I have been making batik ever since (for over 20 years now)! I began making collage through design. On one occasion, I had made a large design and the design wasn’t very strong. However, I saw potential in this beautifully bright and colorful fabric and I began making collage. I found that collage suited my style which was pretty rudimentary to begin with, but has developed over the years and I love that the patterns that develop naturally in the wax/dye process often guide the designs I create! This quote from Georgia O’Keefe really resonates with me, “I found that I could say things with colors and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way.”
In the last couple of years, I have been focusing much of my energy on developing community art projects. I enjoy connecting with communities, connecting communities with artists, and artists with communities!  My first community project was called “Interwoven” and was held at Rosewood-Zaragosa Neighborhood Center. We wove with my batik fabric and we also tried a number of weaving techniques using different fabrics and wool. I am currently collaborating and working with mosaic artist Ryah Christensen on a community mosaic project at Rosewood-Zaragosa Neighborhood Center (March & April). This project engages the community by offering a series of workshops where participants come together to design and create a community “quilt” mosaic artwork. Workshops include designing and creating tiles for the community quilt. Ryah will take the tiles made by the community and create a large mosaic artwork that will be installed at the entrance of Rosewood-Zaragosa Neighborhood Center. The mosaic project is created by the community, for the community.

How does reuse play a part in your art?

For all of the projects that I work on, I begin by visiting Austin Creative Reuse! For Interwoven, I purchased a lot of my supplies at ACR including frames, embroidery hoops, wool and fabric. For the mosaic project, our first workshop is a design workshop and we were able to find what we needed at ACR including drawing supplies, design books and templates. For the last 3 years I have created an interactive art installation called Fairyland for Austin’s New Year. Fairyland is mostly made of wonderful sparkly treasures that I find at ACR! I keep my eye out all year long for treasures to add to Fairyland! Additionally, I have always enjoyed thrift shopping and clothes swapping and sharing with friends. Seeing the potential in making and creating through reuse definitely spills into my art.

What compels you to donate to ACR?

It makes me happy to know that when I donate something that I am not using, someone else may be able to use it to create! It’s also like paying it forward. When I have a need for my projects, I find it at ACR! The creative community helps each other out! There’s also the added excitement of finding treasures at Austin Creative Reuse!

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

The first year that I created Fairyland I found this pair of sparkly birds that I knew would be just perfect for the installation. They have been part of Fairyland ever since!

Where can we find out more about your art or projects?

My website is and there you will find examples of my art, previous projects I have worked on, as well as current projects, including the community mosaic project. To learn more about the mosaic project, you can also visit Ryah’s website

Thank you Melissa!

Amplify Austin Day 2019


Here’s your chance to get involved with your community AND GIVE BACK to your fav little craft store in Texas!

Thanks to our abundance of supporters like you, Austin Creative Reuse had an incredible year!
As our center operations and programming grows, our needs grow proportionally.
Amplify Austin Day is February 28th – March 1st at 6pm. Help s reach our goal of $2,500

Your gift this year for #amplifyatx can help us support the expansion of our open hours of operation by supporting staff and center operations. Your dollars can help us to provide a wide variety of on-site educational programming like our ????artist workshops.

Your donation will help our center to continue to provide materials that are affordable and accessible to our local educators, artists, and Austin community.
Though our wish list is great, we like to think of it as a long term investment for both the Austin community and the environment!

Donate, Share, and Volunteer!

Thanks Austin!


2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Center Hours: Sun-Wed: CLOSED
Thu/Fri: 10AM - 4PM
Sat: 11AM -6PM
Curbside Pickup, 10am-4pm, Daily
Tel: (512) 375-3041