Posts Tagged creative design

Shine Brite – the lite brite of reclaimed materials

By Rose Lathrop, Green Building & Smart Growth Manager with Sustainable Connections

For the last few years I have picked one project that I think is ridiculous and fun and try to make it happen. I focus on interactive and sustainable projects. Last year it was an Advice Booth made from recycled pallets and doors from The RE Store. I have dreamed of building this giant lite brite for years. The key was figuring out what the pegs would be made of. I was brainstorming at the Sustainable Connections office and someone suggested plastic water bottles. That was the ‘ah-ha’ moment.

shine brite

The 8’ x 8’ giant lite brite was constructed out of nearly all reclaimed and recycled materials (lights excluded). Using three hollow core doors, door jams and other odds and ends found at The RE Store, I constructed the light box and used over 350 500ml water bottles filled with colored water to create the pegs. Instead of a static white light, I used RGB LED light strips that change color, fade, flash, and is reactive to music. This adds a new dimension to the 1980’s tiny version.

I am happy to report finding that many water bottles wasn’t super easy. I found a couple of good sources and now that I am mostly done collecting them, I can go back to those places and suggest alternatives to those DAMN WATER BOTTLES! Hotels, sporting events/workout gyms, and construction sites were the biggest offenders and contributors.

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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“I like to make things from old stuff, the crustier the better.”

Regular shopping at The RE Store, Laurel Hair’s life-long love of salvage began with her dad taking her and her sister to garage sales when she was a kid. She loves to browse salvage stores for treasures and making new things out of old things – a few of which she is sharing with us below (in Laurel’s words): 

Laurel Hair projects

1) Fireplace gate hanging — the gate with original hinges is from my fiancés’ parents’ old house. He grew up in the house in Kirkland, and I took some items before it was sold and torn down, not knowing what I was going to do with them. Once we moved into our new house, I saw on a TV show the idea of using a piece of gate as a wall hanging, and spiffed it up, mainly wire brushed it. My son had given me the rusty sign as a gift a while ago, which I thought was a good compliment.

2) Wall hangings for the bedroom (one shown here) — I had found the turquoise old gate pieces at a garage sale a couple of years earlier. I decided to hang them on our wall, cut one down to size so they matched, and left the old hinges on them. I found some old farm pictures that I framed with old looking frames at Michaels that happened to have a great turquoise rim, and attached those to the gate.

3) Map wall hanging – my fiancé likes maps. We had one of the San Juans, so I stained it to make it look old, pieced together some old cedar fence pieces, and then added some old hinges and a few other rusty items. The ring was a piece from my fiancé’s cabin in Cle Elum off an old post. The metal piece I bought at a salvage store, and the other pieces were found at a junk fair in Ellensburg. I then cut the map into pieces and decoupaged to the wood.

4)  Christmas trees – again, I saw a different version of this idea somewhere as a wall hanging, and for Christmas gifts I decided to make smaller ones on stands out of old molding we had, old wooden rulers I found at garage sales, and pieces of driftwood. I cut the stars out of a piece of galvanized metal HVAC piping that I had lying around.

5) Christmas balls – I saw this idea at an antique store, and made my own frame out of old cedar I had collected, then added some old screen, and the balls. I can put other things on it for other holidays.

Thanks to Laurel for sharing her projects! Have your own before & after projects you’d like to show off?  Send us your pics!  bray [at] re-store.org

Posted in: Stories about people, Stories about stuff

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Welcoming David Spangler to our Revision Division team!

FullSizeRender (36)We are excited to announce a new designer/builder has joined the Revision Division team! David Spangler grew up in Port Townsend, WA, where he was surrounded by local history, Queen Anne buildings, and antiques. He was also exposed to the woodshop early on by his wood working father, who made furniture and toys. As children, David and his brother were always on the hunt for found objects for use in their play. In his early twenties, David started creating miniature architectural buildings from found objects (examples, below right), branching out later to build several larger wall hanging architectural art pieces from salvaged building materials.

 

davids miniatures

A Bellingham resident since 1988, David found his way to The RE Store in 1995 and has been working for us, off and on, ever since. In 1998, he fabricated a series of little repurposed bookshelves from salvaged materials, then moved on to start an earth friendly debris hauling business that ran for over seven years. His dreams of rethinking unwanted building materials continued to brew.

Returning to work for The RE Store in 2006, and still interested in finding new life for low value discarded materials, David implemented The RE Store’s successful furniture repair program in December of 2013 that continues today. Ever excited about upcycling, and the creation, design, and building of products based off of unwanted materials, he joined the Revision Division team in February, 2015, where his varied expertise is helping us grow this program.

Check out our Revision Division showroom to see our latest repurposed and upcycled furnishings, or come get ideas and ask questions about your own projects – and give David  a warm welcome to the Revision Division team!

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Customer before & after: display case to wine rack

Customer Dale McMurtrey bought this display case recently with visions of a new wine rack. All the various pieces were purchased at The RE Store (with the exception of the legs), which Dale then finished with chalk paint and sanded for a distressed look.  Great DIY job, Dale!

dale wine bar

Have your own before & after project you’d like to show off?  Send us your pics!  bray [at] re-store.org

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Salvage Fun at Betty Lou’s Downtown Emporium – a RE Store Rockstar

You may know that Betty Lou’s Downtown Emporium is a Bellingham shop specializing in fair trade clothing, jewelry and gift items.  But did you know it’s also a great place to get inspiration for decorating with salvage materials? Betty Lou’s owner, Betty Theiler, has been hard at work letting her creative juices flow as she built new display fixtures from recycled materials, chairs and doors (lots of doors) found at The RE Store.

betty lous downtown emporium salvage displays

Examples of her salvage decoration style in this photo collage include: greeting card displays made with a recycled door as the back, and scrap salvage wood for the racks; clothing racks made with old pipes and recycled wood; repainted doors scattered throughout the store used as backdrops; screen doors with the screens taken out to hang merchandise on them; a door with a mirror attached to it; an upcycled glass jewelry case; a repainted ladder used to display clothes; and staff favorite – a long shelf behind the cash register made from a few shelving units and doors combined to make a countertop space to organize all the little trinkets, tags, pricing material, pens, pencils, and paper that the staff needs to work the floor each day. All of these displays have been repainted by Betty Theiler, and a few were built with the help of her husband.

Check out Betty Lou’s Downtown Emporium – for your own salvage decorating inspiration, as well as for some great fair trade clothing, jewelry and gifts.  Info can be found on their Facebook page here.

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Welcoming Matt Vaughn to our Revision Division Design/Build team!

IMG_3248

We are excited to announce a new designer/builder has joined Eberhard Eichner in our Revision Division workshop. You may know Matt Vaughn from around the store and in his role as our Facilities Manager.  Matt came to The RE Store with over 20 years of experience in building and fabrication with a variety of materials. He gained knowledge in a wide range of manufacturing techniques at The University of Washington where he earned a BFA in Industrial Design and a second BFA in painting. During that time he began working in the building salvage industry in Seattle and developed a love for working with reused materials. Matt has lived in the Pacific Northwest for almost 20 years with the last seven of those in Bellingham. Matt‘s focus in the workshop will be on creating refined pieces that can be recreated, and using these items as a means to help build our green jobs-training program.

Here are a few examples of some Matt’s personal projects bringing together his love of salvage and audio equipment and show a bit of his style you will soon be seeing in the store (descriptions in Matt’s words):

amplifier collage

Roasting Pan Amplifier – This is an amplifier intended for the absolute purist. It is very simple electronic construction but with a high degree of quality. The top is an old roasting pan with its handle removed and turned upside down. The base and all of the milled black pieces you see in the later photos are all a salvaged countertop material called Paperstone. This material is made from highly compressed paper waste, so in this instance is “re”recycled. All of the acrylic and aluminum was also salvaged. Once I created a chassis I thought was interesting I had to do some modeling of the interior to ensure I could pack everything in (card/paper model, bottom left photo above).

Matt headphones speakerThese headphones (above, left) were also created with salvaged Paperstone. I really like working with this material as a sort of Ebony substitute. Most Ebony is not sustainably harvested and the Paperstone presents a great alternative as it mills and polishes to a point that it is almost indistinguishable from Gaboon Ebony. It even has a subtle grain! In this instance the increased mass (Paperstone is quite dense) also aides in vibration dampening and sound isolation. The trick was reducing the weight to a point where the headphones were comfortable enough to wear for longer periods but still have the headphones benefit from the increase in mass. This was done by milling out unnecessary material and creating a hollow wall.

These speakers (example of one, above right) feature salvaged Paperstone countertops and aluminum legs that were originally on stools in the dressing rooms of the old Seattle Opera House! Sapele and Mahogany over plywood make up the rest of the construction.  

You can meet Matt at the store on Saturdays. We also host a regular Open House for our Revision Division where you can discuss your own projects on Saturdays 11am – 3pm, with focused project demonstrations occurring on the third Saturdays of the month.  Get ideas from our latest projects or come with questions for yours – and give Matt a warm welcome to the Revision Division team!

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The Summer of Repurposed Fun

Summers are fun. Summers are packed. And all these sunny days makes one want to go to all the little neighborhood art and community festivals that pop up on the weekends. And some truly have more unusual draws.

In Bellingham, the month of August started with some “Repurposed Fun” at a few of these festivals. Eberhard Eichner, Lead Designer/Builder of THE RE Store’s RE Vision Division, gave the strolling public two occasions to contemplate the art (and craft) of reuse.

art throwdown door

August 1st – the 4th Annual Door Art Throwdown was organized by Allied Arts in the parking lot behind the Federal Building on Cornwall St. Eberhard was one of the four teams of artists given two hours to do a door make over (all were reclaimed and donated by The RE Store). All the door artists were painters, but Eberhard decorated a reclaimed solid core door with a collage of “real” salvaged items, both sides having been given a makeover. Hung in a jamb, it retained its full functionality after the materials were added, the front side included: a “flattened” chair, a small piece of rug, a bookshelf with a rather eclectic selection of books, a former kitchen cabinet door as window, a framed picture, a wall mounted reading lamp and, last but not least, a golf club. The working title for this side was “A Room In-Between”. The back side of the door was an abstract application of door handles, mirrors and sample picture frame corners. In a Cubist, Dada-esque, and very silly fashion, it vaguely resembled a self-portrait of the artist. Title: “My Repurposed Self in a Mirror”. At the end of the event all doors were sold by silent auction as a fundraiser for Allied Arts.

make

 

And then on August 2nd, the REvison Division partnered with Bellingham’s Make.Shift Gallery in giving their annual block party a repurposed “Built-In”. Eberhard took his tools and tubs of marginal, orphaned and overstocked RE Store material to the street. Similar to his regular Saturday in-store building demos, he constructed on the spot a gallery seat grouping for the Make.Shift main gallery space. Two Windsor-type chairs were “joined at the hip” by former bed frame boards, crib rails and arm rests. They were oriented in love seat fashion opposing each other. Two loose side chairs or stools of different elevations completed the arrangement. He used underpinnings of salvaged barstool legs, and for the seats, heat exchange grates.

Randomly selected hinges acted as fasteners, plumbing parts as accents and two rows of the springy type of door stoppers gave it “interactive” detail. Now, the tired or contemplative gallery viewers can rest their bones, while looking at art on the walls. The gallery seat will be a permanent feature in the Make.Shift gallery.

Both of these demos, and the resulting pieces, gave the public a further example of how, why, and where repurpose works. And, as the packed summer fades into fall, they will tell of the repurposed fun we’ve had and provide good summer memories to reflect upon.

 

 

 

 

 

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Volunteer Finds Creative REuse in Off-cast Manufacturing Materials

Brandon McNamara, a Western Washington University student has been volunteering with The RE Store in the Revision Division for three months now on a weekly basis. He has worked independently and alongside Eberhard Eichner, Lead Designer/Builder of the Revision Division.  These crates are the first of many projects he plans to be involved with. Come find them in the Bellingham Revision Division showroom!  

crates and shelves

By definition, a crate is a slatted wooden case used for storing goods. These pragmatic crates allow you to do so with entirely repurposed materials. The wooden slates had previously been the rungs of ladders for bunk beds from a local manufacturer. The construction process was rather simple and straightforward.

  • The wooden slates came to us precut and finished
  • Holes were drilled into the slates and a jig was used to put the sides together
  • The sides were attached to each other using recycled screws
  • The bottom was then attached and then finished with light oiling

Thanks to Brandon for his work with us, and for writing the details of this piece!

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2014 Call for Recycled Art & Functional Designs

Recycled Art piece - Jubilee by Julia HaackOne of the harbingers of Spring is The RE Store’s annual Call for Recycled Art and Functional Designs. The RE Store’s Recycled Arts Show will bring fresh examples of fine art and useful things for it’s 13th year –  at Blowing Sands Studio and the Laura Frost Fine Arts Gallery in Seattle (Ballard). We won’t be holding our own gallery show in Bellingham this year, but sponsoring the great work of Allied Arts & the RARE recycled arts expo. You may experience wonder or amusement at people’s creativity and fabrication skills after seeing something like Jubilee by Julia Haack (right). You may question our wasteful ways after seeing pieces like Kuros Zahedi’s “A Glimmer of Hope” (below – represents only a small portion of the piece that took up an entire pallet) Recycled Art - A Glimmer of Hope by Kuros ZahediAnd we want to see whats been brewing in your studio, garage, or right on your kitchen table. We welcome submissions from Washington State, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia province. The deadline is February 15, 2014 by 11:59PM for online submissions. Mail-in submissions must be postmarked by February 15. There is a $10 fee for submitting up to 3 pieces. Get all the details at the following link: Call for Submissions for Seattle Recycled Arts Show Submit your recycled art or functional design pieces to show at Blowing Sands Studio in Ballard. Or just come and support Recycled Art at the show – opening scheduled for Saturday April 12th, 6-9p.     

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An “Art Gallery” of Salvage at the Flower & Garden Show

flower & garden show display 2014

Once again, we’ve had a great time designing and building our booth for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show (February 5th – 9th at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle).  This year our booth’s theme is an “Art Gallery” in line with the larger show’s theme of “Art in Bloom”.  Our linear booth is filled with salvage garden and furniture ‘art’ pieces and random reclaimed rummagings used for planters.  Our window wall, ‘lean-to’ drawers and gutters as planters, and wall of doors fill out the vignette.  Thanks so much to our friends at Seattle Urban Farm Company for teaming up with us on our booth and plant wrangling – and thanks to Sky Nursery for loaning us some plants too.

The Flower & Garden Show seminars bring experts on a wide variety of experts on gardening, plants, garden design, food and more.  Our REvision Division designer/builders, Eberhard Eichner and James Taylor were chosen to do a demonstration today (Wednesday, February 5th, 6:15p at the DIY stage):  High Art From the Junk Pile, Inspiration for Using Just About Anything.  

Come check out the demo, and see us and the booth for inspiring salvage ideas or to discuss your projects –  it is always great to meet new folks and catch up up with old friends at the Flower & Garden Show!

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