Shop by the bag

Choose a small ($8), medium ($15), or large ($30) bag, then fill it to the brim with creative materials!  Fabric, paint, cards, paper, boxes, knobs, jars, craft books, doo dads – anything is fair game except for artists’ wares or DIY kits. A few items have limits on them, but most things are ‘take all you need’ as long as it fits in your bag!

You can still buy items individually, of course, but many of our customers are getting some great deals by shopping by the bag — stop by and give it a try!

Guest blog post by Marjory Zaik

As a kid growing up in Easthampton, I had a mother who encouraged me to turn “this…..into that.”

There’s no more room on the bookshelves, I complained. Her response: Here’s some “Contact” paper and an an open cardboard box from the grocery store. Cover the box with it. Now you can neatly store those paperbacks you buy for a nickel at The Old Book Store in Northampton. Tissue boxes became dollhouses. Any boxes or tins, in general, were staples of repurposing. A miraculously extant wooden covered box illustrates the potential, here displayed with artifacts of the era on a vintage typewriter stand that I currently use as a “bag drop” table in my bedroom.

I struck out at the traditional fine arts of drawing and painting — a minor disappointment. I rallied, learning basic embroidery stitches in order to embellish peasant-style muslin blouses using the iron-on patterns inserted in “Workbasket” magazine. I soon developed my own embroidery designs, including a transliteration of selected lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven” in the rune script featured on the endpapers of The Hobbit.  (It was the early 1970s; what can I say?)

Flash-forward to the winter of 2014: I moved back to Easthampton, after many years in New York City, to live with and care for my father. Collecting and crafting had remained a part of my life. And working as a high school English teacher in a public school system with little funding for the arts had turned me into an ad hoc (and completely intuitive, untrained) art teacher; we were encouraged to infuse arts-related lessons into our classrooms whenever possible. Naively and eagerly, I created models for simple projects, like this one, accomplished with scratchboard and a pin; we were studying the literature and culture of the 1960s.

Serendipitously, visiting the Eastworks complex for another reason, I encountered Knack: The Art of Creative Reuse. I felt I had struck a vein of inspiration, recognizing kindred spirits in the generous, talented, resourceful co-owners of this multi-faceted enterprise. I emailed them to ask if they had a heavy-duty paper cutter among their open studio tools, and booked my first session of studio time to continue work on an ongoing collage series of artist trading cards featuring vintage worldwide stamps from my collection (cardboard mounts and background materials from Knack’s storehouse of stuff).

On Saturday, June 21, 2014, I am renewing, coincidentally, my basic embroidery skills in a Knack-sponsored workshop with local fiber artisan Bonnie Sennott. (

In between, I have continued, started or finished many craft projects using the advice, time and resources available at Knack and including the reuse of materials I have purchased in their store, such as this corkboard (using a glass-less frame and corks purchased at Knack, and assembled during studio time with help from their glue gun).

Knack has afforded me the resources and support to continue and complete projects and to envision new ones. My favorite adage: everything old is new again, and again, and again.

What’s YOUR Knack story?

Corporate waste

Guest blog post by Marjory Zaik

When the words “marketing” and “crafting” appear in the same sentence, the name “Martha Stewart” might follow close behind, along with references to “empire” and “profit.” The word “centerpiece” usually conjures up a (disposable and, usually, costly) floral display, whether an individual or a for-profit business is hosting a tabled event, or a charitable organization is honoring the generosity of its supporters.

Let’s change up the vocabulary a bit, keeping “marketing,” “crafting”  and “centerpiece,” while adding “social responsibility,” “the Pioneer Valley chapter of the United Way” and “Knack.”

What would a socially responsible centerpiece for a charitable organization’s donors’ banquet look like? Who could craft it, and out of what? Could, in fact, an organization’s outdated marketing materials, having outlived their use to solicit contributions and promote the programs supported by its top donors, become a decorative component of the centerpiece? What other materials could help create cost-effective, meaningful decorative items that will outlive their brief use at an event and perhaps serve a similar purpose in another setting at another time?

The Pioneer Valley chapter of the United Way contacted Knack to help them do just that — create 25 socially responsible, sustainable, reusable centerpieces using, in part, outdated marketing materials, for a celebratory donors’ banquet, one for each table — after seeing co-owners Amber and Macey crafting paper flowers on a segment of local NBC affiliate WWLP’s “Mass Appeal” program.

Amber and Macey designed the completely upcycled, sustainable, reusable centerpieces from a variety of elements both natural and manufactured. Corporate waste paper (the United Way’s outdated marketing materials) became pretty, sturdy handmade paper blossoms supported by dried bamboo stalks from Amber’s home garden. Large, red-striped spice jars with attached, hinged lids — a previous bulk donation to Knack’s thrift store — became the vases holding a trio of paper flowers. Plastic tubes from Knack’s supply of donated office waste secured each bunch of paper flowers. Pebbles and shells (gathered by donors from local and far-flung beaches) filled the “vase,” hid and supported the plastic tubes and added visual interest.

In the spirit of social responsibility, the United Way plans to reuse the centerpieces for future events.

This story’s happy ending inspires an invitation and a call to action.

Businesses and organizations who would like to follow in the United Way’s admirable footsteps are encouraged to contact Knack to design and create centerpieces for tables at events (or for workspace decor items, or favors, or…. there are endless possibilities).  Amber and Macey will envision aesthetically pleasing ideas for upcycling materials that may include potential waste from your own enterprises as well as items from their donated stock, and they will assemble them for you.

Commerce, creativity and sustainability unite in an all-around winning outcome.

Additionally, businesses and organizations with materials they no longer need or use are invited to contact Knack to inquire if their potential waste would be suitable for donation to Knack’s thrift store, a treasure trove for the growing community of savvy, crafty shoppers with an eye for creative reuse.

Stab stitch binding

Class Description

Make your own sketchbook or journal! In this class you will learn how to make a stab stitch style book. This style of binding is easy to learn and can be customized to accommodate a variety of materials. These books are a perfect way to to use scrap papers of all sizes and weights as well as finer artisan papers. All materials will be provided but if you have a favorite six pack box, lightweight decorative cardboard, or other materials you’d like to use for your cover, feel free to bring them along! You will receive step by step instructions in addition to a hand out highlighting the techniques you learned in class. All skill levels welcome.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Taught by Peter Cangialosi

Cost: $35 (all materials included)

Hidden Field Hidden Field  


One of the best things about my daily work experience at Knack is hearing customer appreciation of what Knack has to offer.

Another great thing about my daily work experience is observing that people of all ages, from children to seniors, appreciate the store and studio. That’s quite rare in retail.

While I am proud and grateful to receive compliments, I must, in turn, give thanks for Knack’s essential network of support.

Although I run the business by myself, Knack would not exist without its community. Except for consigned artist wares, the materials for sale and for studio use are donated by folks who wish to keep their no-longer-needed supplies out of the waste stream and who like the idea of an arts and crafts thrift store where shoppers can purchase materials for very reasonable prices.

An astonishing range of creative reuse materials regularly crosses Knack’s threshold. At this moment, even the glue sticks and acrylic paints in the workshop came from donations of crafting supplies. That’s pretty amazing.

I can’t do all the physical work of maintaining a 900-square-foot space by myself. Student interns from two local high schools visit once a week with their teachers, providing much-needed help with cleaning, sorting and organizing. Knack gets much-needed help; they get work experience. I also have adult volunteers who give their time, sometimes regularly, sometimes on an as-needed, or as-available, basis. I am very grateful for their assistance in keeping the store and studio running smoothly.

Thank you, customers, donors and volunteers!

Book binding

Make your own sketchbook or journal! In this two-session class which meets on consecutive Saturdays, you will learn how to make a Smyth sewn book in which the signatures (group of folded pages) of the book are stitched through the fold. The signatures are then sewn and glued together at the spine. These books are durable, hard cover bound and can open to lay flat.

Whether you’re an artist or writer this hand-bound book is sure to turn heads. They are a perfect way to to use scrap paper of all sizes and weights as well as finer artisan papers. All materials are covered, however, if you’d like to use your own paper or book cloth for your cover, bring them along! You will receive step-by-step instructions in addition to a hand out highlighting the techniques you learned in class. All skill levels welcome.


Saturday, April 30 AND Saturday, May 7, 2016

10:00AM – 12:00PM

Taught by Peter Cangialosi

Cost: $60 plus $10 materials fee

Hidden Field Hidden Field  

Collage Party

Come to Knack’s well-equipped workshop studio for a collage party!

For only $15 per person for a two-hour gathering, you will have guidance and access to a wealth of inspiration, including different collage bases, templates and materials to create your own paper or mixed-media collages (as many as you like and/or have time for). As pictured, collage bases include clipboards, wooden plaques in two sizes and frame easels. There will be dozens of hand-picked paper collage packs made by Marjory from the vast array of materials that cross her path as Knack’s owner, as well as all sorts of other materials from ribbon to buttons to doodads, paint, vintage international postage stamps, rubber stamps, markers, and more. If you have materials you would like to bring, please feel free to do so.

Feel free to bring your own refreshments.  Looking forward to seeing you at a collage party!

The next collage party date is:

Thursday, August 11, 2016 from 6:30 – 8:30

Advance registration is required.

Sign up and pay via PayPal, visit the store with payment, or call to give credit card information.

Hidden Field Hidden Field