11 Nov 2013
I am a thrifty girl. And I love making things. And that is why I love places like Art From Scrap! It has been around for over 20 years, taking donations of all kinds of art supplies from businesses and individuals and selling them at rock-bottom prices. I hadn’t even heard of Art From Scrap until a few weeks ago. When we were at the Depot in Oakland, I was telling one of the employees how much I wished we had one in LA. The employee looked surprised and said, “Oh, you don’t have one?” This little flicker of a raised eyebrow got me thinking…maybe there was something of the kind in LA. A little bit of googling led me to this comprehensive list of creative reuse centers not just in the US, but all over the world! (Click it, click it, and find one near you! They even have a guide for starting your own, if you are feeling adventurous.) You should have seen the happy dance I did! I learned that there are a few such places in LA, and then I started scanning for places I knew we’d be traveling soon. And now I will probably try to hit a Depot on every vacation: ha! Art From Scrap was definitely the first place I headed to once we were in Santa Barbara.
It’s a bit smaller than the Depot, but it did not disappoint in variety, and I am sure I spent a good hour in there browsing around and picking up a big bag full of treasures. I loved this literally recycled tree in the front yard. (If any of you have ever been to Urban Ore in Berkeley, there is a similar setup here: little stuff inside, big building materials outside).
Along with enough fabric and yarn to keep you busy for years!
Shells and stones!
Beautiful bottle caps!
The science section!
They also have a big bulk section with raw materials for making all kinds of projects, and teachers get bulk items for free! I remember making candles out of lint and old egg cartons when I was little, and if I were a teacher, I’d so do that with my kids too. Obviously, I had a fantastic time, but I was also so impressed with the organization and with the employees’ clear dedication to the space and its mission. They were constantly straightening, reorganizing, fielding calls, and discussing strategies. This is all the more impressive when you consider that all of them were almost certainly volunteers. I am so happy that such places, and such people, exist in this world. They make it brighter for all of us.