Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Sustainable Creativity as Healing


This month has been a tough one for me and many in the SPU community, especially with the current political, economic, and social unrest happening in our nation and world. Closer to home, a fellow student, dear friend, and committed social justice advocate recently died in a car accident while traveling to Seattle from North Dakota. Erin Kimminau and a handful of others were on their way back from showing their solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its protest against the construction of the 1,200 mile-long Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). This pipeline is set to be done in early January 2017 and spans from North Dakota to Illinois. It will transport 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily, thus impacting the tribe’s access to drinking water and disrupting sacred burial grounds.

Before the accident, I had bought fabric at a sustainable craft store in Greenwood, and the trip could not have come at a more opportune time. I brought home four different patterns of scrap fabric and planned to use them for Christmas presents. Instead, ripped strips of the fabric were offered to folks to pray over and tie together into a beautiful garland as a way to tangibly honor Erin’s life. Being able to contribute this reused and reclaimed fabric was special for me, especially after seeing the ways in which it ministered to, comforted, and healed the pain that many of us were (are) experiencing.

From the looks of Seattle ReCreative, nestled on a busy part of Greenwood Avenue, one wouldn’t imagine the potential crafting opportunities contained within the store. Here’s the creative space’s mission:seattle-recreative

“Seattle ReCreative is a non-profit organization dedicated
to promoting creativity, community and environmental
stewardship through creative reuse & art education.”

Inside, there are multitudes of craft supplies donated by individuals and businesses within the community. Once the items are sorted and stocked, customers can come in and purchase the creative goods at extremely reduced prices. Some items they accept and sell include:

  • Yarnfabric, and sewing notions
  • Paper of all colors and sizes
  • Specialty items donated by local businesses and manufacturers
  • Colored pencils, markers, and pens
  • Fine art supplies (paint, ink, brushes, canvases, tools, etc.)
  • Frames and mat board that we can help you customize
  • Scrap booking supplies (stamps, paper, tools, etc.)
  • Greeting cards and gift wrap for every occasion
  • Woodmetal, tile, and plastic in a variety of shapes and sizes
  • Vintage ephemera
  • And more!


Additionally, Seattle ReCreative offers space to create, rooms to rent (for kids and adults), classes and workshops to take (stitching, book binding, scrap quilting, and more), and volunteer opportunities to give back. The space also offers frequent community events that bring people together and make (re)use of items otherwise headed to the landfill.

Here’s a few pictures of the space from the inside and outside:

As students, it can be difficult to find space and craft supplies that are accessible and cost-effective. Seattle ReCreative can be a fun, cheap, and sustainable form of re-creation for you and your friends to experience. I’m thankful for the ways in which this non-profit reclaims craft-based waste and cultivates creativity, sustainability, and community — especially in challenging times.

If you’re interested in ways that other elements of the arts are incorporating and accounting for sustainability, the Ocean Arts Society and Sustainability in Arts & Culture think tank are great resources. The latter even includes this helpful list of organizations representing many aspects of the arts, from theater to green architecture!

Even in times of seeming darkness, I’m thankful for creative resources that can help heal, process pain, and provide hope. As we move into Advent, the Christian season of anticipation of the light within darkness, how will you (re)use materials and art to heal the world…your world?


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