"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud." ~ Emile Zola

08 June 2010

A Trip to Creative Reuse Pittsburgh- The Coolest Way to Make Eco-friendly Art!

Last Wednesday, I and three of my best crafty pals and fellow Steel Town Etsy admins headed to the awesomely eco-friendly Creative Reuse Pittburgh (Pgh), a local green organization that accepts unwanted materials for reuse and sells them uber cheap to the creative public! According to their website, Creative Reuse Pgh, which was founded in 2007 and became a project of the Pennsylvania Resources Council in February, is a nonprofit organization that seeks to "keep perfectly good stuff out of the landfill, provide opportunities for people to put it to good (re)use, help forward the movement toward a greener globe, and encourage folks to explore." Sound too idyllic? Maybe... except for that they actually make all of that happen!

A haven to those who can make something out of anything (or anything out of something), the project's brick-and-mortar stash-shop is located within Construction Junction (who donated the space) on Meade Street in Point Breeze. Creatively cluttered, the two-level space is packed from floor to ceiling with everything you can imagine that could be re-used in making art and given new life. Exploring the nooks and crannies, boxes and piles is really an artsy flea market/thrift store shopper's dream, and during our trip revealed wooden dowels, vintage fabric and notions, office supplies, containers, vintage art, books filled with fabulous wallpaper and fabric samples, random hardware, rubber toys, paper of all types, glitter, hardware, old lab beakers, and so much more!

Creative Reuse Pgh's stock includes not only unusual things you may not find anywhere else, but items that sell at craft stores for 20 times the price! The fact that these wares are priced unbelievably dirt-cheap ("starving artist" anyone?) just adds to the already-high bliss factor, as does the fact that each item purchased keeps landfills from growing and leaves the earth a little cleaner and greener. :)

Tamara of
Barker's Herbs and Heirlooms, Lynne of Charmed By Nature, Niffer of 19 Moons, and I (Kylie of SilentLotus Creations) had a fabulous visit, all coming away with finds from there and Construction Junction downstairs. Some of us even left feeling a bit "lighter" after donating our own materials to Creative Reuse Pgh- Nif donated "nif"ty payphone and typewriter hardware and Lynne donated -uh- a big box of rubber poop (don't ask).

All of us are big on repurposing vintage or discarded materials in unique ways, me just in the last year or so and mostly from their influence. :) Check out their shops linked to above to see what craftastic creations they come up with, and check out my newest items as a sampling of what I have been making!

Creative Reuse Pgh gets new donations regularly, making it a potential new treasure hunt each time you visit. But despite all of their current finds, they can always take more! Next time you have a box or stack of something ready to be discarded or taken to Goodwill, consider stopping by to see if what you have is something they can use. Donating your discards is easy, and much appreciated. And while there, browse for some new goodies.

Need creative inspiration or some obscure piece of something that will make your art piece or craft just perfect? I highly recommend making a trip to Creative Reuse Pgh to purchase materials- what you are wishing for just may await you there. :)

Just keep in mind that shopping is open to the public only on Wednesdays from 12-5. Other hours are available by appointment only, so if you can't get there on a Wednesday, make sure to give them a call at (412) 202-4036 or
email them to set up a different time to go. They are quick to respond and very accomodating. :)

A section of Creative Reuse's upper level.

Fabulous vintage prints.

A view of the first floor from above.

Lynne's poop was put right out on the floor (front and center)!

The view that greeted us when we arrived: fabric, notions, and so much more.

More upper level goodness.


Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written article! I found many items I purchased to use in my art projects and even got a few things for my boys.

My boys can't wait until school is out and I can take them shopping on a Wed. We always have several arts and crafts projects in the works over the summer and they're looking forward to finding unique craft supplies at Creative Reuse.

silentlotus creations said...

Thanks, Tam! Please share pics of what you and the boys make! :)

Rebecca said...

Oh my gosh... it looks like a great spot! How wonderful to be able to find such goodies and to know that it's all rescued stuff as well! Lucky you! Now I'm off the see your new work and check on the other shops too! Thanks for this uplifting post. It's always great to know what others are doing to promote the idea of green!

silentlotus creations said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Rebecca! :D