Dumpsters across the world are constantly being filled with tossed art supplies: fabric scraps, yarn, coloring utensils and paper. Thistle Creative Reuse is a new business in Denton that takes donations of what local artists would normally throw away and resells them so others can utilize these supplies.
Thistle Creative Reuse was started in December by the same women behind SCRAP Denton, an art supply resale shop that closed last summer due to the pandemic.
“It’s a second-hand arts, crafts and hobby store,” Kari Meyercord-Westerman, Thistle executive director and Denton resident, said. “It’s what you would call a ‘creative reuse center,’ which means we take donations of materials that were destined for the waste stream, and we make them available to the community at really affordable prices.”
As a creative reuse center, Thistle aims to make art more inclusive while being environmentally-friendly.
“I think one of the biggest things is allowing creativity to become more accessible,” Heather Leigh Hoskins, Thistle education and art director and Denton resident, said. “Where people aren’t scared to buy expensive materials and waste them if their craft or art project doesn’t go the way they intended it to.”
In addition to selling second-hand supplies, Thistle is also holding classes and workshops for people to learn about art and build the creative community.
“Our workshops teach very intro, basic [and] easy [skills] that allow people to learn a new craft and new ways to be sustainable,” Hoskins said.
The owners of Thistle wanted to start it once SCRAP closed and they discovered the need in Denton for second-hand art supplies.
“When it closed, we just sort of knew that Denton had to have a creative reuse center again, so we decided that we had the expertise and skills and knowledge to do it, so it should be us and not anyone else,” Meyercord-Westerman said.
Thistle has started as an online-only business, and plans to keep that as the focal point of the business model to avoid some of the struggles faced by SCRAP.
“There’s a lot of ways that it’s very different [from SCRAP], but some of those decisions came out of seeing where SCRAP was struggling,” Meyercord-Westerman said.
Meyercord-Westerman said going into Thistle, the owners had minimal expectations, but those were quickly shifted after an overwhelming positive response from the community.
“I just feel like every day is a new reward,” Hoskins said. “We way surpassed our expectations of what it was going to be like when we started asking for donations.”
Thistle customers appreciate that the small business is bringing the creative reuse concept back to Denton after a few month hiatus.
“I adored SCRAP and was crushed when it closed,” digital retail senior Kristina Muñoz said. “I was so excited to hear about Thistle and placed an order immediately. I really resonate with their mission statement of creative reuse and reimagining the lifecycle of materials. I try my best to only buy secondhand and local, and my quarantine art supplies were dwindling down.”
To continue having a community impact, Thistle will be donating two percent of earnings to provide art supplies for those in need in the community through its giveback program.
“We just gave our very first [donation],” Meyercord-Westerman said. “She got $40 worth of yarn, like a big bag of yarn, for her chronically ill sister who had taken up crocheting. We’ll do that every single month, so it can be a person who is hurting from the pandemic who’s unemployed, it can be educators, it can be nonprofits, it can be groups that do charitable things. The point being that we just want to make sure that everyone in our community has access.”
Going forward, Thistle aims to build the education program, continue to divert craft supplies from the landfill and open a physical storefront by the spring. Individuals interested in more information or making a purchase can visit its website.
Featured Image: Kari Meyercord-Westerma, Heather Hoskins and Jeanna Dunlap alongside donations for their new business Thistle Creative Reuse on Jan. 30, 2021. Image by Bri Morales