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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

EAT, PRAY, LOVE: Austin Creative Reuse: The Sustainable Solution

Clarice Claiborne / Hilltop Views
The front entrance, adorned with Calder Kamin’s unicorn. Austin Creative Reuse is located in Windsor Park, off Wheless Lane and Briarcliff Boulevard.

A tub full of silverware for 10 cents a piece. A rack of fabric, a dollar a yard. Massive picture frames that have been broken and repaired. A box of yellowing postcards, complete with 50-year-old, heartfelt notes on the back. Austin Creative Reuse offers a sustainable, long term solution for creatives in the city to get supplies without breaking the bank, while simultaneously preserving the environment. 

Austin Creative Reuse was founded in 2009 by a group of educators, artists and community experts, and was 100% volunteer run, now able to pay employees to run the store. Sustained by donations, this store quickly became a local favorite. In 2020, they moved to their current location in the Windsor Park neighborhood. In 2021, they received their one millionth pound of donated materials. Sustained by generous donations and volunteer work, the heart of this establishment is its affordability, notably its bucket section. For $5, you can fill an orange Home Depot bucket with as much as you can fit!

As I step inside and peruse the aisles, I find that the values that founded this store are still alive and well. It’s completely packed with shoppers, carts and baskets piled high with supplies. I tend to gravitate to the section of reading materials, full of faded magazines and cut up newspapers. It’s a time capsule in its own right, and I’ve brought home more than a reasonable amount of vintage postcards. 

Not only does Austin Creative Reuse offer cheap art supplies, they also provide volunteer opportunities, workshops and art camps for kids. One of their more popular events is Reuse on the Runway, a cosplay and drag night, debuting fashion made from recycled materials. To get involved with these opportunities, visit Austin Creative Reuse’s website:

Calder Kamin’s Unicorn, found at the front entrance. The body was crafted out of second hand materials. Its mane, skin, and tail were made with Mardi Gras beads. (Clarice Claiborne / Hilltop Views)

“We just wanna make it as accessible to the community as we can,” employee Peyton Simms said. “So, I think we’re always keeping that in mind, going forward. I’m grateful to work at such a fun and unique place.” 

“I’m always making something different,” Hattie Marks, a store regular, said. “It’s hard to find what you’re looking for, especially for good prices. This treasure trove is here, you gotta use it . . . I’d much rather source materials ethically than go buy a ginormous cowhide at Tandy.”

The cherry on top is the collaboration between Austin Creative Reuse and local artists that liven up the space. Calder Kamin, educator, advocate and artist, uses recycled materials to craft vivid, brightly colored creatures. Among her work is the purple unicorn with butterfly wings found at the entrance of the store. 

So, before you doom your loose buttons and fabric scraps to the landfill, consider donating them to Austin Creative Reuse. Not only are you supporting a local business, but your second-hand items will find their way into a loving home.

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