What is a Creative Reuse Center?

Good question! Since opening our creative reuse center in July 2013, we’ve had a lot of folks wander in and declare, “I’m not sure what this place is, but I love it!” We like to describe Knack as an arts and crafts thrift store & studio space, and that seems to make sense to people who may have never heard the term ‘creative reuse center’.  We collect donated goods (everything from traditional arts & crafts supplies to other items that have creative potential), then we sort and organize them, determine the value, and make them available for people to purchase in the shop or use in the studio.

There are creative reuse centers all over the world & each one is has its own unique personality. At Knack: The Art of Clever Reuse, we take pride in creating an inspirational, organized & beautiful space that showcases the creative potential of ordinary & unexpected materials. We also sell the work of local upcycling* artists & we have a studio area where we host birthday/creative parties, workshops, and provide a welcoming space for people to create whatever they like using our materials & tools during open studio time. We love seeing the creative wheels turning & hearing amazing stories of reuse from visitors of all ages.

*Upcycling is just a fancy new name for something many of us have been doing for a long time: finding creative ways to give old stuff new value.  You take something that was headed for the landfill, and make it into something more useful, more beautiful or more functional.

Upcycling is at the heart of creative reuse.
Tote bags from old T-shirts? Why not?
A bath mat from wine corks? Of course!
A bowl from old magazines? Sure!
The basic idea is this:
Keep stuff out of the landfill
Provide low-cost art supplies to parents, teachers, crafters, artists, designers & organizations
Offer hands on workshops to anyone who wants to create amazing things and learn more about the art of reuse
Build a community of like-minded, resourceful folks
Things you might find in a creative reuse center include:
paper and cardboard of all types
bottles & jars
fabric, yarn, & sewing notions
paint, crayons, glue
wine corks
scrap wood & metal
carpet & tile samples
boxes & containers
industrial scraps/odds & ends
office supplies
who knows what else?
Knack accepts clean, usable materials. Check out our materials list and send us a note to tell us what you’ve got.

Need ideas or inspiration?
Check out Knack on Pinterest, where we have categorized our boards by material type.

Who benefits from a creative reuse center?
Would you believe it if we said everyone? It’s true, everyone can benefit from a reuse center.  This is a win-win concept.

Waste is diverted from our local landfills – always a good thing, right?
Budget-strapped artists, teachers, parents, students (and anyone else who wants to!) can buy inexpensive, unique materials for projects
The community building possibilities are endless: workshops, group projects, educational field trips
Are there other creative reuse centers?
Yes!  We weren’t the first people to think of this revolutionary idea  —  there are creative reuse centers scattered throughout the US.  Some of them have been around for more than 30 years. Here are a few of the places that inspired us to start Knack:

SCRAP (Portland, OR)
Extras for Creative Reuse (Lynn, MA)
East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse (Oakland, CA)
Long Beach Depot for Creative ReUse (Long Beach, CA)
World-wide list of Scrapstores and Creative Reuse Centers (courtesy of Art of Recycle)