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Turning Trash Into Treasure & Toys

October 1, 2010

Courtesy of Creative Days Art Studio

Upon arriving at Creative Days Art Studio, I was greeted by kids as young as a few months to seven or eight years old. The walls were plastered with kid’s artwork; the shelves—stocked with supplies of all sorts, most of, if not all of them were once thought of as trash.

As I watched the kids work their art pieces, I was momentarily taken back to by childhood days.

I remembered how a simple can of shaving cream could keep me entertained for hours; I saw an empty toilet paper roll not as trash, but as a robot or the body of a dinosaur.  A few mismatched buttons make for better eyes and noses for a monster than just another piece to my sewing kit. My creativity had no boundaries and I was ecstatic about nearly everything.  At that young an age, everything was still new and each day was filled with discoveries.

If you’re a parent, or a teacher, you probably know better how fast a kid can go through some materials. “Just because a piece of paper is cut into a thousand bits doesn’t mean it’s worthless now,” Katy McDonald, one of the co-owners of the studio told me.

Courtesy of Creative Days Art Studio

Fast forward to today, and I found myself still discovering (admittedly not as much).  But what intrigued me during this visit was learning that 70 percent of the studio’s supplies are donated or from recycled products.

When co-owners and sisters Katy McDonald and Cristy Lillig started this business a year ago, they decided that they would try their best to “go green” even if they ran into trouble getting their supplies from donations or recycled products. So when the sisters have to purchase their supplies, they get them locally so they don’t have to be shipped and therefore fewer trucks are on the road.  They try hard to stick to their mantra.  They’ve even taken beat up desks from the trash and refinished them to use in their studio.

The sisters gave me some great ideas how to transform everyday items that would have ended up in my trash to useful stationary. “The little yogurt bins can make fantastic paint cups and the big bins can hold lots of materials. Put a label or a picture of the item that’s in it and it’s a great way to organize your items,” McDonald said.

“Crayons if they’re itty bitty bits you can transfer them into new crayons by using cupcake molds and watch them melting down in your oven and watching that as a child transform from a crayon into a brand new one is really cool,” McDonald also said.

Courtesy of Creative Days Art Studio

The sisters shared a great website with me called FreeCycle.  It’s similar to Craigslist, but the great part about this website is that everything is free! You can post items you are giving away and list any you need. Another great part about this online network is that you can see available items from all over the world.  You can choose a specific location that works for you and see which items people are donating just outside your front door.

Creative Days Art studio has taken advantage of this website several times.  They needed long tubes to use for one of their projects and requested them on this network.  Soon enough someone responded and gave them more than 100 tubes.

As far as the sister’s advice goes on how to implement some of their creativity into your home, designate a small creative space for your child. It doesn’t need to be the whole dining room table or the whole kitchen, but spending that time working on those basic skills with your child is important.

I know I’ll think twice the next time I finish the last sheet of paper towel, get rid of my old grocery bags, or throw away the button that comes with new shirts when I’m thinking “When am I really going to use this?”

Creative Days Art Studio is always looking for donations to use for their projects.  They welcome items from yogurt tops to game dice.  If you’d like to make a donation you can drop off your supplies at 1200 Rogers Street or call them at (573) 777-9278. More details here.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2010 4:55 pm

    how are you!This was a really quality website!
    I come from itlay, I was fortunate to look for your subject in yahoo
    Also I get much in your blog really thanks very much i will come every day

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  1. Fostering Creativity at Home without Making a Mess « 8 Goes Green

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