Bundles of yarn representing every color of the rainbow line the walls from floor to ceiling. Collections of baby doll arms and heads sit in woven baskets. A handwritten sign that reads, “Haggling Welcome” sits on the front counter. These details make up the interior of a new arts and crafts thrift store opening in mid-December.
Arrow Creative Reuse is located at 1506 E. Saint Louis St. The resale shop will provide both new and secondhand art materials at a reduced price, ranging from colored pencils and paint brushes to box turtle shells and projector slides for more elaborate projects.
Evening workshops will also be held at Arrow Creative Reuse. Owner Re Baker-Dietz anticipates these workshops will be intimate, with about five to six people learning how to use materials found in the shop.
Baker-Dietz is a Springfield native and artist, specializing in encaustic painting, which entails adding colored pigments to heated wax. She has fond memories of visiting the The Etc. Center on Florence Avenue with her mother, who was an art teacher, growing up. Baker-Dietz described The Etc. Center, which has since closed, as a “teacher treasure trove,” full of donated art supplies.
“There was so much to look at and touch and think about, and I want (Arrow Creative Reuse) to be kind of similar,” Baker-Dietz said.
She also took inspiration from well-established art resale shops, including ScrapsKC Creative Reuse Center in Kansas City and Turnip Green Creative Reuse in Nashville. These resale shops are a part of the Creative Reuse Movement.
“It’s all about keeping things out of the landfill and putting them in the hands of people who will do creative different things with them,” Baker-Dietz said.
The items for sale in Arrow Creative Reuse are either ones Baker-Dietz has collected over the years or that were donated by community members. Even as she prepares for the shop’s grand opening, Baker-Dietz admitted to having a few storage units still full of materials. She’s been collecting materials for about 10-12 years.
One of the rooms in Arrow Creative Reuse is designated as the “gift shop,” which houses an array of different not-art-specific items. A mannequin bust and Raggedy Ann dolls sit on a shelf. A plaster hand appears to be reaching out from a wooden drawer, and fake fruit sits alongside high-end oil paints in a display case.
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Over the years of collecting and receiving donations, Baker-Dietz received many of these random items, but she couldn’t part with them. The idea of the “gift shop” is to inspire artists to use nontraditional mediums or props in their works.
Down the road, Baker-Dietz hopes to rent rooms at Arrow Creative Reuse for traveling artists, providing them both a studio and gallery to work in and display their art.
Soft opening, hours of operations
Arrow Creative Reuse’s soft opening is Saturday, Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event will include a craft table, prizes and a holiday sweater contest.
Once officially open, Arrow Creative Reuse’s hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Parking is available behind the store, off South Weller Avenue, in the rainbow parking spaces.
If you are interested in making a donation or learning about volunteer opportunities at Arrow Creative Reuse, email Baker-Dietz at [email protected]. For updates on the shop’s official opening date and what materials are in greater need, follow Arrow Creative Reuse on Instagram @arrow.creative.reuse or Facebook at facebook.com/Howdygallery.