Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Look Inside: Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse

In this post, we're featuring a local resource for artists and educators: the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse (PCCR). This is the place to go if you are looking for affordable arts and crafts supplies, sewing notions, vintage treasures, office supplies, educational materials or interesting project ideas. It is also a place to support because of their tenet of caring for the environment through recycling and reusing. Here are photos I took while I was given a tour by PCCR's shop manager, Ashley Andrews.

The Center makes it a point to sell its goods at a low cost. In fact, some things are offered for free! Near the cashier, there is a big Freebie Bin. It's always worth a look inside. When I came in, they were giving away bags of wood blocks. Also, it's a good idea to bring reusable totes when you come to the center!

You will notice that PCCR's retail shop is decorated with all sorts of fun displays and signs. If you are looking for small items, the repurposed library Card Catalog is the first thing to check out. Each drawer is filled with a collection of tiny baubles... for example, you could find a drawer devoted to small prizes, match books, springs, coins, army men or coffee stirrers. Where else are you going to find a bunch of specimen vials for a science project?

The Bulk section has larger odds and ends that you can fill into a bag and purchase for a flat price. The Bulk section has many books, magazines, design samples, unused lab and medical materials, and at the time, lots of plastic cups. This is where I look for unique materials that would make good educational projects.

PCCR also devotes a section of their shop to selling artwork, found and donated. This would be a good place to look if you want to purchase an original piece of art, or maybe something to revamp with your own creative touch.

Shop Manager Ashley told me some of the techniques they use to sell their goods. Their goal is too move merchandise off the shelf so they can keep rotating new materials. One of the tactics that makes things marketable is to package them in bags. This way, everything for an art or craft project is already assembled together. And it's more like a goodie bag, rather than objects you purchase piecemeal.

The Center also has a fantastic collection of thread, yarn and sewing notions. Sometimes I have even seen sewing machines. Check on PCCR's calendar to see when they have sales on Fabric and Art!

Along with retail space, PCCR also devotes part of their shop to inspiring creativity. One thing to check out is their Idea Center. This reminded me of a Pinterest board you could see and touch in real life. All of the projects on display were inspired by and made with materials found in the shop. For more ideas, check out PCCR's Pinterest board here.

Another great thing is that you can go to the PCCR and make a project for free, using their materials and equipment. This is called the Maker Mill Project. The project they had on display was making your own monster feet and monster teeth. Check back at the store to see when a new craft pops up!

I also got to take a peek into PCCR's warehouse, which most customers do not get to see. This was a large space, where all of the extra goods, displays, and program materials were stored. As soon as something sells out in the retail space, something new is brought out of warehouse.

PCCR is an organization that thrives on donations. The materials they sell have all been donated by businesses and individuals. As an example of a corporate donation, one item they carry are fashionable belts donated by Littlearth. If you are interested in donating materials that have the potential to be reused, check out more detailed information on their website. PCCR is also a great place to volunteer! It's definitely an organization to become involved with. The Center hosts many events, such as their monthly Open Studios and projects at various Art festivals and events.

PCCR is open every day from 11 am to 6 pm. It's located at 214 N. Lexington St., Pittsburgh, PA 15208. While you're in the area, also check out other Eco-Friendly hot spots, like Free RideConstruction Junction and East End Food Co-op!


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