Sunday, August 14, 2011

A different sort of craft...

There are many, Many, MANY, great things about living in Portland. Okay, the lack of sunshine isn’t necessarily one of them. However, we do have a phenomenal crafty community. When I say phenomenal, I mean, insanely huge, awesome, and wonderful. Many of the things that others wouldn’t necessarily consider craft, we do; for example, ever heard of ‘Craft Brewing’? Pretty sure that term was developed here… or at least our PBS affiliate told me so.

Combining craft with recycled materials is something that a lot of local artists are known for, some nationally renowned for. I discovered a cool place in North Portland about six months ago, and also found out that they have other locations nationwide – which only adds to the coolness. What comes to mind when I say recycled materials? Bottles, cans, milk jugs, etc., right? What if fabric, zippers, old trophies, binders, buttons, paint, folders, odd pieces of wood, spent CO2 cartridges, old patterns, snaps, signs, and random plastic tubes were included?

Yep. You’d have SCRAP. Located on MLK in North Portland (very close to the Nike store, for you Portlanders) this little store is a little wonder in a very small package. Materials are donated, and resold, at a HUGE discount. Make an art project, get your back to school binders, make a garden art plaque, how about a baby hat? Sure thing. The funds go to help get art to kids and schools that might not have a lot of the funding that they need, and as many people are coming to realize, are incredibly important for well rounded development. Helping to create hand-eye coordination, spatial skills, group collaboration, and more, art is an essential part of a developing (and well functioning) brain as we grow older.

During the summer, SCRAP hosts two different summer camps: Camp SCRAP and Trashion to Fashion. Camp SCRAP is a week long gig, where each day the kids focus on a new material, learning its properties, and exploring what they can create out of it. Trashion to Fashion is all about creating wearable garments from recycled materials. We were lucky enough to receive a scholarship to Camp SCRAP (with me still not being able to find a “real job”… the $275 for the week was way out of our budget). Ethan, who is 10, had a blast. They made crayons, shrinky dinks, rubber band balls, stained glass sheets, and more. Quite frankly, he was rather hesitant about going… “Whaddya mean, an art camp?”, however, in the end, I’m pretty sure he had more fun than he did at his OMSI computer programming camp that he was so stoked to attend.

From this experience, he has decided to create an entry for SCRAP’s upcoming youth art show – I think he has decided on a space lander craft… but we’ll see what we find when we go up there to search for more materials! Oh, and he has decided that “even though I'm a boy, that Trashion to Fashion camp sounds pretty cool, and I think I want to do that one next year.”

Hmmm. Maybe, just maybe, Mom was right?


  1. SCRAP is a treasure! So glad your son enjoyed camp. I'm glad he can see past traditional gender lines and have fun!

  2. This sounds amazing. Portland is amazing. Super cool.


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