Author Archives: Jen Mack

Volunteer Spotlight: Shiree Schade

 

The next time you are in the Center, look at the baseboard. Shiree was the volunteer who created the tilework when the Center opened just over two years ago.

One of the reasons Shiree volunteers for Austin Creative Reuse is because of the inspiration she receives. “The certainty that every time I show up for a shift at the store or a workshop or for that matter any of ACR’s activities, I’ll get to watch other people’s creativity percolating and it will in turn amplify my own, oftentimes with things I’ve never thought of before.”

Another reason is the vibrant energy that fills the Austin Creative Reuse Center emanating from the creativity flowing from the shoppers. Many discussions take place between shoppers, staff and volunteers looking to share ideas and suggestions. And sometimes unique knowledge. Shiree recalls; “I was working in the bucket area one day and ran across something in a barrel that caught my eye by virtue of my having no earthly idea what it was that I was looking at. Since I’m from Texas, I didn’t hesitate to turn to the customers shopping in the area and start quizzing them on what it might be. It was a shoebox sized piece of brown fake fur in the shape of an X with webbing sewn into each arm of the cross, each ending in a shiny buckle. I was completely perplexed even though I like to think I’m pretty good at the ‘What on earth is this?’ game. Finally, one customer I asked said without hesitation, ‘Why that’s a ferret hammock. That’s what you put in their cage for them to sleep in!’ And she wasn’t joking! I was absolutely thrilled”.

In addition to being a volunteer and shopper, she is also a donor to the Center. “I think my greatest joy comes from bringing an item in to donate and then seeing it shortly thereafter in a shopper’s hand while they’re chatting excitedly about it to others. For example, I recently brought in an old decrepit mirror ball so someone might could use it for parts and not five minutes later I overheard a woman on a cell phone excitedly telling her husband about it and how they might incorporate it in a project they were working on – just what she needed, she said! That really tickles me – seeing something get a new life.”

August Volunteer Spotlight: Vernon Berger

Longtime Austin Creative Reuse Volunteer Vernon Berger is an artist who specializes in Found Object Art. Found Object Artists use or modify objects that are not traditional art materials to create their pieces.

Vernon sees the potential in things and he knew someone could reuse them but it was the nexus of the center, bringing together the artists/crafters and the objects of their creations, that he inspired him to volunteer at Austin Creative Reuse.

“I got involved from the beginning by just looking for reuse materials. That is how I found ACR. I learned about their needs and I ran across people wanting to rid of things and ACR could use these things. It always amazes me what people have to get rid of. I love the hunt and if someone can reuse it, that is a great feeling.”

A conservationist at heart, Mr. Berger is a member of the Master Naturalist for Outreach in Conservation who was raised with the fixit/salvage/reuse mindset. His love of art, advertising and promotion nurtured him to be creative with his surroundings while at the same time; “We need to conserve our environment and make it more beautiful.”

The Austin Creative Reuse Center provides Vernon a source of inspiration for his art and fuels his creativity. The center is a great resource for affordable, related materials for his projects and he likes the creative environment where he is exposed to different materials.

He also volunteers at Austin Creative Reuse because he enjoys helping and inspiring visitors to the center in their creative pursuits. “I like to nurture the inspiration” he says. “It is interesting to get into the different minds of arts and crafts. The mind is a wonderful place to explore. Love it!”

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Austin Creative Reuse’s First Executive Director

Isadora’s relationship with reuse began in the thrift stores and junk shops of Los Angeles during her teens and continued through her mid-20’s where she worked in and managed vintage stores in Berkeley and San Francisco.  An avid treasure hunter, she helped make ends meet in college by buying and reselling clothing and housewares. Around this time, she discovered the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse in Oakland, California where she acquired supplies for pixelvision, a DIY project that transforms an average television into a psychedelic light show using toilet paper tubes. She fell in love with the way that the Depot merged conservation, creativity and community and had a dream to bring the idea to Austin.

 
In addition to her role at ACR, Isadora is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Austin-based hospitality company Bunkhouse. For over a decade,  Isadora has helped build the renowned company from one hotel and a coffee shop to a portfolio of over 10 properties nationally and internationally. In her role at Bunkhouse, Isadora spends much of her time building community relationships and helping to develop the culture of each of the properties through charitable events, music and arts programming, and other creative projects. 

Welcome to Our New Center Operations Manager

We are so excited to welcome Amelia, long time ACR volunteer, into her new position as Center Operations Manager and Events Coordinator.  

Since she’s been in the United States, Amelia has been volunteering regularly for various nonprofits, with responsibilities ranging from volunteer lead to serving as the treasurer on two Board of Directors. She has always tried to reduce her carbon footprint by taking small steps like composting, growing her own food and upcycling materials, which is what drew her to the mission of Austin Creative Reuse. She started volunteering for ACR in the summer 2015, as they were about to open Austin’s first reuse center and needed help sorting thru donations and organizing the store. After volunteering at the center on a weekly basis for 18 months, Amelia joined the Board of Directors as the chair for the Systems and Procedures committee in January 2017. Amelia is looking forward to help the center grow and spread the word about creative reuse thru community events in her new role.