Malia Matsumoto stands surrounded by up-cycled materials in the tutorial area in SCRAP Humboldt in October 2018. | Photo by Chelsea Wood

SCRAP Humboldt: Saving the Planet One Scrap at a Time

Affordable art supplies with environmental consciousness in mind

Affordable art supplies with environmental consciousness in mind

Doohickeys, thingamabobs and whatchamacallits galore. One local craft store has it all and does so with purpose to provide a community with creative inspiration and affordable art supplies while reducing, reusing, recycling and repurposing.

SCRAP Humboldt is a craft supply store with hundreds of items available for creative reuse. The store started as a temporary holiday season shop in 2012 at the Jacoby Storehouse and later became an established organization aimed at repurposing items that society would typically deem as waste.

Malia Matsumoto first began volunteering her time with SCRAP Humboldt and later became the director of the organization in 2017.

“As an artist, I taught classes at Scrap and volunteered my time to come take care of the store,” Matsumoto said.

As director, she coordinates events, reaches out to similar organizations for cross pollination and manages staff and volunteers at the center. SCRAP Humboldt also works with other local organizations for mentoring programs like the Humboldt Area Foundation.

SCRAP Humboldt relies heavily on donations and receives items for reuse from community members, businesses and even Humboldt State University. Steady donations also come from partnerships with local businesses that aim to reduce their product waste. Local donors include Los Bagels, Kokatat and the Humboldt Bay Coffee Company.

Donations are sorted into respective categories and then placed on the store’s floor. SCRAP Humboldt has supply sections for sewing, painting, scrapbooking, holidays, jewelry-making and crafting.

“Because everything is donation-based, it’s a really low price point,” Matsumoto said. “As an artist or a maker you’re able to get more materials than you would if you went to a traditional brick and mortar store like Michael’s or JoAnn’s.”

The variety of conventional and unconventional up-cycled items SCRAP Humboldt has to offer gives locals access to affordable art supplies. The organization also hosts weekly tutorial classes to teach the community how to complete projects with repurposed materials.

Matsumoto and the crew at SCRAP Humboldt have a passion for diverting reusable waste from landfills by finding creative ways to repurpose items that typically wouldn’t be thought of as art supplies.

Matsumoto said that once people start making things on their own, they begin to see the hard work it takes to create something. Matsumoto said people also learn to give more value to scraps while seeing the potential for an old thing to become new.

The SCRAP Humboldt team spreads this message and their passion for waste reduction and art creation with the community by offering summer camps for kids, creative reuse classes and a space for an artist-in-residence program.

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