Posts Tagged recycle

World’s Market Waste IS a “Local” Resource

by Eberhard Eichner,  REvision Division Lead Designer/Builder at The RE Store in Bellingham

This is the season where even the best of us can get bit by the shop-and-buy bug. It is also the season for reflection. These two, seemingly contradictory endeavors can go together, when our thinking/shopping habits include the notion of “repurpose”.

When our trees are cut, and ships are loaded with them for far away countries whose economies with cheap labor manufacture ready to assemble furniture components and other items to send back to us – we have also shipped off the pride in our own ability to craft and build. That can suck us down into depression. Not only for the loss of our jobs and skills and the undervaluing of theirs; or for the exploitation of human and environmentally resources globally; but also for the ultimate waste that happens when we consume to excess. What a burden we have taken on in believing we have a duty to consume new goods in order to spike the graph of limitless growth! Even when we shop sincerely for the things that make us functional, cozy and secure (a basic human need!) – what is happening to all the stuff that doesn’t make quality control anyway, that isn’t of consistent stain color, hole pattern and size, or just ‘outdated?

You may be boarding my thought train now, headed for the landfills in those same denuded hills or, more cynically, another way of “outsourcing”- sending the now jettisoned flotsam by barge to more “disposable” locations. But wait! There is a station called “Repurpose”, where we can stop this train wreck in the making and divert it’s direction to a more viable goal.

Repurpose is the grown-up sibling of Recycling. Though recycling is a respectable way of saving our planet and resources by properly disposing and regurgitating our wastes into “new-and-raw-again” materials for production, it is still quite energy and resource intensive.  Repurposing is the way of direct conversion that increasingly can be seen in our communities. It’s the growing trend of artisans, craftspeople, manufacturers and do-it-yourselfers to turn the waste of our market economy, including the “global”, directly into imaginative re-uses by simply converting the components with no or little alterations into new items of stunning beauty. We honor the efforts, resources and energies spent. We continue the story of making, rather then trash it. We have fun!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And it is done here, locally – yes, jobs and the “stuff” –  case in point is a load of imported, yet orphaned parts from an Asian furniture manufacturer once designed to be bed headboards, rails and drawer fronts. Now they are REvisioned by virtually no cutting or refinishing into bookcases (photo above), stand-up desks, storage shelves and for “new” components to hall benches and more at The RE Store.  These and more can be viewed on The RE Store’s website galleries.

‘Tis the season, alright, to reflect on what we consider waste, how we can use it as local resource and turn it into good, for good.

Get inspired to do your own re-creations.  Shop local, shop repurposed.

 

Posted in: Stories about stuff

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Whale Skeletons, Recycled Building Supplies and Custom Designs

Whale skeleton with REvision Division Display

“Using recycled materials is in line with our mission,” says Cindy Hansen. “One way to help the whales is by helping the environment, which is something kids can wrap their heads around. It’s something easy they can do.”

Cindy is a zoologist and the Education Curator at The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. For more than 34 years, the museum’s mission is Promoting stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem through education and research. The museum is home to two gray whale skeletons: one hangs from the ceiling, and the other can be put together like a giant puzzle on the floor. Last year, the museum’s gray whale project was in need of a new display when Cindy happened upon Eberhard Eichner and the REvision Division booth at the Green Village during the San Juan County Fair. Eberhard, The RE Store’s designer/builder, launched the REvision Division two years ago, taking orders for custom building projects using recycled materials for businesses, home owners, and organizations. The Whale Museum received a grant for the gray whale exhibit, and they commissioned Eberhard and the REvision Division to design, build, and help install the interactive/interpretative information station.

Cindy, Jenny (the museum’s Executive Director), and Jill (Communications Manager) met with Eberhard in Bellingham to discuss the project, and, “As the four of us were talking, it all fell together.” Cindy said they had envisioned something with several panels on it, but it was Eberhard’s idea to work with the materials that he used: a door and a table at the center of the design, and louver doors as a decorative touch. “We decided to use those to display trivia cards, which are a huge hit,” she said.

whale museum display in the shop

Eberhard described the process and the result: “In three design, planning, and feedback sessions, we developed a very unique and functional display.  The components are still clearly recognizable parts of former uses and purposes.”

Says Eberhard of the design, “I was after a whale/maritime/Pacific Rim theme, and a compliment to the magnificent skeleton above. I made very few cuts or alterations to the original size, shape, and appearance of the components. It was a process of true collage and fitting matching pieces to each other.”

“The top “whale’s tail” panel came from a bed headboard and is floating on and among stacked “low tide rocks”, a.k.a. furniture legs.

“Eberhard was great to work with. He was so great at listening to our thoughts and suggestions,” said Cindy.

The grant that The Whale Museum got for building the gray whale display also included some funds for bringing students from low-income schools out to San Juan Island to see it and participate in the gray whale skeleton articulation program. Some of the students had never been on a ferry before. The program and display really complement each other and has been a hit with the students and teachers. Cindy said, “We’ve gotten so many great, great comments on it! It’s been a really popular exhibit.”

You can see the whale skeleton and the custom display at The Whale Museum, of course, and also on its website.

 

The REvision Division has built, among other things, a puppet theater for the Lummi Island Library, custom furniture for an elderly retirement house, and a picnic table for a dog park.

You can get a free 15-minute consultation on your reclaimed materials project—anything from full remodels to simple DIY projects:
In Seattle on the third Saturday of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
In Bellingham on the first Saturday of the month from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. beginning in September, 2013

And you can find The RE Store educational DIY videos on the REvision Division page.

 

Special thanks to Christine Clifton-Thornton for authoring this article.

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

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Building Deconstruction, Green Demolition and Decon ’13

State Street warehouse seriesIf someone asked you what deconstruction is, would you respond:

  1. A complex philosophical movement about meaning that started in France in the 1960’s
  2. A new way of salvaging construction supplies from structures that are being demolished
  3. The age-old method of recovering useful building materials from an existing building

If you answered 3, you are correct. The Roman Empire dismantled and reused ancient Egyptian architectural elements and other building materials over 2000 years ago. They repurposed construction supplies, known as spolia, from throughout the many lands they conquered. Building deconstruction has become a movement in North America over the last 2 decades. The top five reasons are:

  1. Green building has become well-documented as a wiser way to build and remodel structures for all types of use
  2. Resources and commodities have increased in cost
  3. Waste disposal has become more expensive
  4. Design and decor trends have grown the public interest in reclaimed materials
  5. The “D.I.Y.” movement has become hugely popular across television, radio, print and online channels

Decon 13 logoThe deconstruction movement is spreading as businesses, tool research and development, national conferences and case studies all add fuel to the fire. The deconstruction industry’s largest conference, Decon ’13 is hosted by the Building Materials Reuse Association. The event happens this week in Seattle with a wide range of topics that include:

  • Designing for buildings to be deconstructed
  • Historic preservation
  • Deconstruction work force training and education
  • Use of low-value materials
  • Negotiating and permitting deconstruction projects
  • The RE Store’s REvision Division will present our innovative and award-winning furniture building program

You would be hard pressed to find a better source of information, best practices, great networking and much more. Come and be a part of the movement this week, whether you are a builder, architect, demolition contractor, salvager, government project manager, politician or average joe working to stay abreast of the latest building industry trends. The RE Store has over 13 years of experience taking down buildings, including case studies on our website. Contact us today for a bid on your project. What topics would you like to learn about, in regards to deconstruction?

Posted in: Green business, Reference and resources, Stories about contractors, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Transforming the building industry, You can do it yourself

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Picker professional Devin Champlin – luthier, musician and salvager

Our old friend Devin Champin, had a short and well-done video made about him. He shares how he builds guitars from reclaimed lumber. His work as a luthier and instrument repairman continues to gain notoriety. And if you haven’t ever seen him perform with one of his projects like the Gallus Brothers or any number of other projects around the NW, you are missing something.

Filmed and edited by Laura Going, Samantha Heim, and Lauren Stelling

Devin Champlin from Lauren Stelling on Vimeo.

Music by Devin Champlin

http://www.champlinguitars.com/

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

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Show Us Your Junk – 2013 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 12th year. Galleries this year include:

  • Blowing Sands Studio and the Laura Frost Fine Arts Gallery in Seattle (Ballard)
  • Allied Arts of Whatcom County in downtown Bellingham
  • The RE Store in Bellingham.

The Bellingham galleries will exhibit during the month of April. The Seattle gallery show runs from mid-April until mid-May.

You may experience wonder or amusement at people’s creativity and fabrication skills after seeing something like Jubilee by Julia Haack (above).

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 March 1, 2013 by 11:59PM for online submissions. Mail-in submissions must be postmarked by March 1 for. There is a $10 fee for submitting up to 3 pieces. Get all the details at the following links:

Call for Submissions for Seattle Recycled Arts Show
Submit your recycled art or functional design pieces to show at Blowing Sands Studio in Ballard. Deadline: March 1, 2013 by 11:59 PM

Call for Submissions for Bellingham Recycled Arts Show
Submit your recycled art or functional design pieces to show at Allied Arts of Whatcom County or The RE Store. Deadline: March 1, 2013 by 11:59 PM

Posted in: Recycled art and trash fashion, You can do it yourself

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DIY Garden Shed: Extra Space or Special Place

Garden shed in EdmondsSheds and shacks can be a saving grace for home owners, creatives, gardeners, or contemplatives.  Have you considered a small space recently that could give you on-site storage or reprieve from the rat race?

Gaetan Veilleux designed and built himself a sweet little 10×12 garden shed in Edmonds, Washington. His father was a master carpenter/cabinetmaker so Gaetan learned a lot about building growing up, but that was over 30 years ago. He looked to books from the library and the internet to relearn things such as installing windows, hanging a door, and building the roof.

Gaetan’s wife, Deborah Binder, helped source some of the materials like finding roofing materials through Freecycle and Craigslist. Deborah revitalized the dutch door, also known as a stable door or a half door, that she found at The RE Store in Ballard. The door restoration required that she learn how to cut glass and reglaze the multi-paned upper half of the door. The shed also has a Velux skylight (Oooo… fancy!) that the couple bought from a local window and door store. It was out of the box and had been used as a showroom demo.  They scored it for 75% off the list price. The windows came from The RE Store as well.

The shingles were a fun find for Deborah. She writes:

Gaetan in his shed's dutch doorway

“I had been watching a house being built in Edmonds on my daily dog walking strolls.  For months I saw a huge pile of shingles on pallets sitting in the front yard. As the grass grew taller and the house seemed finished I wondered what the builder was going to do with all the shingles.  I called the number on the sign posted in the front yard and reached the site manager.  He said I could take as many of the shingles as I wanted for FREE. So I took them all.   When I priced them out I realized that I saved at least $500. We have a small amount left that we plan to use on another project.  The shingles were pre-painted blue, but we plan to paint the shed this coming Spring (2013) to match our house.”

Check out The RE Store’s guide to designing your own little shed with this free pdf download: Extra Space or a Special Place

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, You can do it yourself

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Entrepreneurs needed for construction and demolition waste

Trackhoe eating houseIt is time for you to get out your entrepreneurial hat. Imagine tons of useful construction and demolition waste, sorted and available by the truck load. What can you dream up in the way of fabulous new products that help our dear citizenry? The supply is about to increase because the City of Seattle is shooting for the moon, aiming to reduce the mountain of waste sent to landfills by 50,000 to 100,000 tons annually.

In 2007, Seattle adopted it’s Zero Waste Strategy to help revolutionize waste disposal and recycling in two main channels of the river of waste that flows from the Emerald City: construction & demolition waste (C & D) and food waste. Additional disposal bans have been put in place, including concrete, brick and asphalt paving in January of this year. On December 10, 2012, Seattle City Council took the next step with ordinance #124076.

As of January of 2015, it will be prohibited to dispose of metal, cardboard, carpet, plastic film wrap, and new gypsum scrap (dry wall) in dumpsters or at the city’s transfer stations. The new ordinance establishes “a construction waste recycling facility certification program; requiring the submittal of waste diversion reports by certain construction and demolition waste generators.”

This isn’t just some crazy idea vetted by green building idealists (like us!), but was assessed as achievable based on assessment modeling and a public review process of the industry stakeholders who would be affected by the changes.

From Richard Conlin’s blog, one of Seattle’s most progressive council members:

“Making this effective requires that facilities cooperate, that markets are available, and that we collect data on what construction projects are actually doing with their waste.  All of these components are built into the program, with provisions for administrative flexibility if there are problems with market development.

The materials that will be included in recycling requirements by 2016 represent more than 80% of the tonnage of waste generated in the construction sector.  Since SPU has forged a cooperative agreement with the businesses involved to make this program work, it is likely that we will be able to attain these goals.”

Dream big because the recycling facilities will be sifting and sorting this stuff by the ton in the next few years. What’s your big or little idea? Come talk to us if you think you have something that could work in the realms of salvage and repurposing.

Posted in: Green business, Stories about stuff, Transforming the building industry

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Industrial Demolition Contractors Embrace Reuse and Recycling of Materials

What happens to a 1.2-million-square-foot aluminum plant when skyrocketing energy costs force its doors closed forever?

goldendale plant photo - before and midwayIn the wrong hands, it could become a massive pile of rubble languishing in a landfill. However, when the Goldendale Aluminum Plant in southern Washington shut down in 2003, the owners insisted on hiring industrial demolition contractors who could dismantle the plant with a minimal amount of waste sent to the landfill. That meant thousands of tons of materials – and truckloads of usable equipment – would need to be carefully extracted, sorted, processed and repurposed or recycled.

It was a project J.D. Elder, president of Elder Demolition, had been preparing for since starting the company in 1997. Back then, the contractor specialized in selective demolition of interior commercial spaces. Their previous work involved meticulously picking apart materials in tight urban spaces. Elder invested in state-of-the-art shears and other equipment that offered almost surgical precision.

Owning the right equipment paid off as the company transitioned to total structural demolition of industrial and commercial buildings. For eco-conscious industrial demolition contractors, Oregon offers plenty of green demolition opportunities – and Elder’s crew is often able to reuse or recycle up to 95 percent of a job’s materials. So when the bid for the Goldendale plant came around, they were ready.

Aftermath of Industrial Demolition

The Goldendale Aluminum Plant project was easily the largest job J.D. and his brother, Jeff Elder, had ever undertaken. By the time the contractors finished taking apart, they were left with 147,000 tons of debris, including:

  • 100,000 tons of concrete.
  • 35,000 tons of structural steel.
  • 10,000 tons of aluminum siding, roofing cable, conduit and copper wire.
  • Boilers and other usable equipment.

Concrete crushing at GoldendaleRepurposing Materials from the Goldendale Aluminum Plant

To deal with the 100,000 tons of concrete, Elder’s crew went to work with concrete shears. It took close to six months to remove all the rebar and slice the material into 3-inch chunks for crushing, Jeff Elder said. These were then loaded into the company’s concrete crusher, which chewed them up into gravel. Instead of purchasing new gravel, the Elder brothers reused all of the crushed concrete onsite to level the land – a cost-effective as well as eco-friendly solution. (J.D. Elder notes that the public can buy crushed concrete for half the price of gravel for their own DIY projects.)

There were also truckloads of perfectly functional industrial equipment salvaged from the plant. Ultimately, an entire building’s worth of machinery was sold for reuse. The steel, aluminum, copper, roofing cable and siding were all recycled. In the end, only 2,000 tons of debris went into the landfill – a mere 1 percent of the total demolished materials.

The RE Store’s green demolition and salvage services haven’t ever taken on a project this large, but we have worked with major demolition companies like Nuprecon and others.

Thanks to Elder Demolition for their guest post. Elder Demolition is a fully licensed and insured commercial and industrial demolition company, with certifications for hazardous waste handling as well as broad experience with LEED-certified green demolitions. 

Posted in: Green business, Stories about contractors, Stories about stuff

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Meet the Fleet – Trucks, Trailers and Moving Stuff Around

Truck collageWe like to move stuff around just as much as any American. The thing that The RE Store does differently is that each load that we carry on our trucks save precious building materials from the brink of doom by way of landfill or incinerator. It is a lot of work and we love it. Our crews drive over 100,000 miles each year if you combine all six of our trucks that roam throughout Western Washington and occasionally East of the mountains.

We have our weekly “truck love” maintenance schedule that insures our trusty steeds stay watered, fed and in as good a condition as we can keep them. Neither of the Seattle trucks have a lift gate. We use ramps or brute strength to get everything on and off and on and off and on and off every day. The trucks have hauled materials from job sites that include homes, businesses and storage facilities. We carry amazing reuse displays to trade shows or haul our Recycled Art Station to community events. The trucks have even hauled tons of trash picked up from our beach clean-up projects as a part of the annual Recycled Arts Show. We utilize biodiesel in our diesel trucks and work to minimize storm water run off from our job sites.

As is true to our car culture, The RE Store’s fleet of trucks all have their own personalities:

Lily the truckLily is a 2000 Ford F250 Crew Cab pickup with over 133,000 miles.
She is lily-white and is the truck that up to six of our Bellingham crew travels in. Lilly witnesses the most progressive conversations and brainstorms, due to her community-building roomy interior. She also carries lots of tools, but not a huge amount of materials. She loves to pull trailers and heave large timbers on her beefy rack. We wonder if she is a pig at heart, as she gets stuck in the mud all too often with her out-of-commission four wheel drive. Lilly has has spent a lot of time on overnight projects out in the San Juan Islands. Bellingham crew member, Charlie Myers, slept in Lilly’s back seat on a Lopez Island job site for four nights. His tent had collapsed under a downpour, so he made due in Lily.

Herman is a 2006 GMC-Isuzu 12-foot box van with over 137,000 miles.
Herman is the heavy lifter with a lift gate, allowing one crew member to do a lot of work and keep stuff dry. Herman is our workhorse and is the newest member of our fleet. He was an exciting replacement, 2 years ago, for our old open bed pickup, Graywolf. He is named after Mt. Herman that located close to Mt. Baker (big and white). Some of our staff wonder if Herman has a crush on Lily.

Blue truckBlue is a 1997 Chevy 3500 with a 12-foot flatbed, the oldest and most tired of our hard-working Bellingham fleet with a whopping 187,000 miles as of October 2012.
Blue has hauled millions of pounds (seriously) of lumber and large items back from thousands of job sites over the years. You name it, Blue has carried it. We have rebuilt the gates twice that close in the sides out of bleacher boards and rebuilt the bed once, out of salvaged 2×6 tongue and groove decking, all on our own. When Blue’s rear steel gates went missing, former crew member Gabe Gonzalez welded up new ones for us.

Possum, the truckPossum is a white, 2001 Isuzu flatbed with over 120,000 miles on the odometer.
We have had Possum for close to a decade. He was named Possum because a possum was living in the Seattle store that evaded capture for weeks. This trusty steed has hauled from more than 2000 job sites. Every brick load over the last seven years came back to the Seattle store on Possum’s strong back. Possums gates are made out of our bleacher board and the deck currently needs replacement, like Blue received.

Fuso, the truckFuso is a white 1994 Mitsubishi flatbed that we put a dump bed on with 175,000 miles.
Fuso has been the main green demolition / deconstruction truck thanks to the dump bed that we installed after buying it in 2007. 15 or more houses have been deconstructed and hauled back to the store in Fuso. This is our only Seattle truck with a working radio, and it rarely is changed from KEXP or KUOW radio stations. Fuso’s side gates are also built out of our favorite wide-plank lumber material, bleacher boards. These bleacher boards sport a patina that could only be created by decades of wiggling and giggling adololescents during their school assemblies and sports events.

Clutch, the truckClutch is a white 1989 Nissan pickup that was donated to our organization in 2002 with over 160,000 miles now.
Clutch is the scout for our Seattle field services and sees the most mileage of all of our trucks. This old friend previews between 1200 and 1500 jobs. Clutch doesn’t have a working radio, so Clutch hears a lot of Joel, our Seattle field manager, talking to himself. Clutch proudly wears the rack that lived formerly on our previous preview rig, Scout.
Before serving The RE Store, Clutch was used by our parent non-profit, RE Sources, for hauling recycling education materials to hundreds of Whatcom County school classrooms.

Visit our Field Services pages to get a free bid from our Pick-upSalvage Strip-Out, and Green Demolition “Deconstruction” Services

Check out this great examples of alternative transportation in the construction industry with local remodelers, A-1 Builders, in Bellingham, commuting to a major remodel job site via bicycle. Read the article on page 16 of American Bicyclist.

Posted in: Green business, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, Things you never knew about The RE Store, Transforming the building industry, Why blog about The RE Store?

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One man’s junk is another man’s musical instrument

Guest post by Doug Banner

Doug Banners instruments on display

Doug Banners instruments on display at The RE Store in Bellingham

I am always surprised at how often people tell me that they are not artistic or creative. In our culture you must have exhibited in a gallery or performed to be called an artist. I play at playing music and music keeps me sane or at least as sane as I can be in this sometimes-crazy world. I am therefore a musician and so are you. Your heart keeps great time. Music is a great way to come together in community and share joy. I have played with people in Japan, Thailand, and China where our only common language was music and everybody had a great time.

In making instruments from recycled and repurposed materials I achieve several goals:

  1. I take stuff out of the trash stream. My wife laughs when I wont let her throw out old salad bowls and wooden spoons.
  2. I make instruments that sound good, are relatively easy to learn to play, and are affordable. Many people shy away from learning to play music because cheap instruments usually sound bad and good instruments are too expensive.
  3. I have fun creating usable art for public consumption. If it’s not fun, why do it, Right?
Doug Banner's Satori flutes

Doug Banner’s Satori flutes     Photo by John D’Onofrio

The RE Store is my primary source for materials and I draw my inspiration and design ideas from indigenous instruments from around the world. I spend a fair amount of time in the plastic pipe section. My didgeridoos are the least expensive and easiest to make and the most difficult to play. They’re made from 1.5” to 2” PVC pipe. I have heard $100.00 didgeridoos that don’t sound as good. My Santori Flutes, modeled after Native American Love Flutes, are made from ¾” PVC. I add wooden mouthpieces turned from wood I find in the scraps bin. The great thing about the Satori flutes is that they are indestructible. Throw one in your backpack and you’ve got music in the wilderness. Practice 15 minutes a day and you’ll be sounding pretty good in just a month. The Fujara, a Slovakian overtone flute, is both difficult to make and difficult to play but it’s so odd that just having one will draw attention.

I am always looking for 1” x 12” boards and door skins or thin paneling to build box drums known as a Cajon (sounds like ka-hone), tongue drums, or anything else I am inspired to try. I also use paneling and large plastic drainpipe to build great sounding conga drums. Reclaiming wood is a lot of fun for me. The instruments seem to have a special feel to them. It’s almost like the wood is saying, “Thanks for not throwing me in the fire.”

I find my greatest limitations to creating and playing instruments is my own imagination and my willingness to try new things. My bamboo Zither is an example. I didn’t know how to play it or even if it would sound good, but I gave it a shot. It worked and sounds great. I am sure more of those are on the way. Even if it sounds trite, you don’t know what you can do until you try.

~ Doug Banner

You can view Doug’s musical instruments on display in the Meridian windows at The RE Store in Bellingham through August, 2012.

Doug Banner is a professional storyteller and multimedia artist that plays music weekly with the Monkey Puzzle Orchestra. He also uses many of my instruments in his storytelling performances and can be found online at dougbannerstoryteller.com

Posted in: RE Store Rockstar Project, Recycled art and trash fashion, Stories about people, Stories about stuff, You can do it yourself

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