“We’ve lost something: Remember making a spaceship out of a cardboard box? We don’t fold or cut or use our hands much anymore. But if you do it once—get an idea, find some good materials and give it a shot—you’re hooked. You get to create something, and opt out of the commercial system.”
That’s Rebecca Stuch, who opened Austin Creative Reuse out of her garage after being inspired by North Carolina’s Scrap Exchange. So it’s true, like she says: The DIY creativity of hackers and pack rats is contagious.
Kids are natural upcyclers. Stuch began by building dollhouses out of shoeboxes, making tiny curtains and picture frames, with Popsicle sticks for tiny beds. As a grown-up, she’d stuff old flour and sugar containers with rubber bands and corks and used batteries. “Every so often, I’d go through and use them, one way or another,” she says.
That’s the joy: the thrill of the dig, of finding something that fits into the puzzle of an abstract idea and makes it real. A light fixture made of paint cans. A four-foot length of dryer duct for a robot arm. A junked-out propane tank for a fire pit. Every time someone comes into Austin Creative Reuse, they’re not shopping. They’re jamming. They come in with empty arms and an idea that may seem a little out there, and Rebecca and her wily pack of curators and makers roll up their sleeves…
—read more at Dark Rye