Visiting Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse: Let’s go again!

Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse –

Sign above door for Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse


Before moving to Pittsburgh I was told that the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse (PCCR) should be one of my first stops. My husband’s colleague, heard that I made hats and said that I ‘must go.’

I wondered why? My hats are made from a rather specific, niche-craft material, wool roving. It seemed unlikely that there was an undiscovered horde. Sadly, the collections and supplies of one’s hobby/passion might be trash to one’s heirs. Shudder.  And then what happens to that ‘stuff’?? It gets tossed in the rubbish bin/garbage can!  So sustainability-speaking, PCCR sounded like a worthy destination: individuals and ecologically-aware businesses who are trying to reduce their garbage-footprint.

Well, my family has spent some time at Construction Junction, looking for doors, lamps, chairs and other needed items for our home. But, we never could seem to walk around that corner to see that PCCR was literally right there. No need to move the car. Just hop on over on one foot if you like. Granted, there are some members of the family who don’t enjoy shopping.  Usually, we ‘exhaust’ this family member’s shopping patience by visiting Construction Junction. Such a happy face!


Younger son sitting on the sculpture at Construction Junction


However, while demonstrating at the Pittsburgh MakerFaire, I was again told that I must go to PCCR. This time by someone associated with PCCR, who was working a row over at the fair! In fact, teaching artist, Katy Dement convinced me that my procrastination must stop. That I really needed to visit soon.

So, last Sunday, while my eldest son was at the Pittsburgh Chess Club, we dashed on over. Not surprisingly, our reluctant shopper wasn’t impressed. However, my husband and I enjoyed seeing all the treasures and how interestingly they were organized and arranged. Moreover, the simplest items became Aladdin’s Cave treasures when presented as a grouping. Especially enjoyed the thread area and the area right next to it: dresser drawers arranged like giant playing cards and full of stuff! And what about those giant blue barrels that used to contain olives? They now have assorted colored pencils, which seem less chaotic. So don’t worry – it’s not a mess or an over whelming destination.


Thread Throne organized by color


I took only a few photographs, but there was so much to see. This keyboard art screamed ‘eldest son.’ He collects computer keyboards from the 1980s.  And while he’s not into art, when he hunkers down, he can create the most amazing worlds out of paper, tape and scissors.


Key Cap Art at Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse


The staff and volunteers at PCCR try and give ideas of what one might do with all of the materials. There are lots of photographs of project ideas and even kits of materials all collected together.


Kits displayed cleverly, with bags of materials and instructions.


The high point was the card catalog.Both my husband and I were enthralled with opening the drawers of the card catalog to see what each one contained.  Oh look a drawer of tiny compasses! This one has jingle bells.  And look over here! It’s a drawer of plastic chess pieces and another with some very handsome, old, wooden ones!


Card catalog filled with treasures asking for resuse


When we told our eldest son about PCCR, he pleaded to see the delights. So while the reluctant shopper played chess, we visited PCCR, AGAIN! This time, as we were accompanied by an excited consumer, we ended up purchasing quite a few items. It didn’t cost much either. And there was the added benefit of keeping items out of landfills!

Here’s a collage of some of our haul, minus the compartmentalized, plastic box that my chaotic bead collection is going to migrate into. There’s a bit of old technology to share with the kids, along with a magazine that I used to love reading and has ceased publication. And that fancy calculator was 50 cents and just needed new batteries. The little red box? My husband is using a few of them for something. So while we didn’t buy anything that we will be overtly creative with, we are still happy with our items just the same,




Have you been to the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse?  Or, is there something similar in your town?

Drop me a line and let me know.