Last year, my Husband and I attended the first annual Maker Faire in North Carolina. My husband, Angus, had already attended numerous Maker Faire events around the country, but this was to be my first time and it was amazing! I had never seen so many crafters, makers, machines or tech type stuff under one roof before. It was a cornucopia of brilliance and I gazed at each display in wonder as I made my through each exhibit. There were toys to play with and buttons to push – even things to build!
Tucked away in the back however, was a display with tables laid out with mounds of what can only be described as textural chaos. Fabrics of all sorts, colors, shapes and patterns were heaped on the tables. It was quite colorful and as I’ve always been easily distracted by pretty things, it was inevitable I would gravitate towards it. The display booth was for a company in Durham, North Carolina called The Scrap Exchange.
As I looked closer, I realized it wasn’t just fabrics, but plastic bottles, fuzzy pipe cleaners, boxes and all manner of… well … ‘stuff’. A table had even been set up as a children’s crafting area. Being the curious sort, I approached the woman behind one of the tables and asked her what exactly The Scrap Exchange did. She took the time to explain to me that everything I was seeing in that great, colorful jumble was nothing more than reusable items to craft with and that people donated what they considered ‘trash’ or ‘junk’ and The Scrap Exchange found new uses for it all!
Now I had heard the terms ‘reusable’, ‘recyclable’, and ‘renewable resources’ before, but this was taking it to a whole new level. I never would have thought of taking ripped down wallpaper and using it to decorate old picture frames and I most certainly never would have thought that a donated bag of concrete would find new life down the line in a local art gallery. The Scrap Exchange was (and still is) all about finding new uses for our ‘junk’ and turning it into art.
The Scrap Exchange had made me re-think every little thing I had thrown away recently and wonder if everything I had hauled to our dump did indeed have more purpose. It was a sobering thought. Could that box of broken dishes I found in the attic been a mosaic patio table? Maybe those old, worn window casings and frames in the garage could have transformed into lighted yard art. I do know that as of right now, I look at my ‘trash’ a bit differently and ponder the potential usefulness of things before I throw them away. They have inspired me to think outside the proverbial box and that’s always a good thing!
If you’re looking to be inspired, or need a new idea for a project, check out the The Scrap Exchange. (Hint: They accept donations too!) They hold classes and workshops and even have a room for children’s birthday parties filled with everything you could imagine a child creating with. It’s nothing short of a crafter’s or artist’s paradise and a great resource!