June 11, 2012

The Re-Creations Project

I recently joined a new website that I found quite by accident.  On a previous shop feature I had done, I noticed that I was getting a lot of traffic from this site.  So I clicked on the link to see what this site was and it took me to her post in the forums.  Much to my delight, she was thrilled with her shop feature (whew!).  As I read through her thread, I noticed how supportive the members were and really enjoyed their comments.  So I poked around on some other threads and liked what I saw.  I decided to join and posted another one of my shop features and said that I was the one who wrote up the feature that had been posted previously by the shop owner.  At the bottom, I asked anyone interested in a shop feature to contact me.  Luckily for me, someone did.  A lovely woman named Stacy who, with the help of Jacqui, started not only an Etsy shop called ReCreationsProject, (they also do summer markets!), but a program for the developmentally disabled that enriches their lives, helps the environment by doing upcycled projects, and does community outreach in the form of workshops and demonstrations teaching people about upcycling and all of the nifty things they can make!  I honestly stopped breathing for a minute.  That is like the trifecta for me!

This item is available for purchase here.

Stacy's description of the group and their work blew me away.  I worked with people with developmental disabilities for several years, so what she had to say in her email tugged at many of my heartstrings.  Then I read the links she had sent me.  This is the first thing I read on the first website I visited; I took this directly from the Re-Creations Project website on the Home tab:

The Re-Creations Project consists of me (Stacy) with support from my fearless sidekick Jacqui Atkins, and some awesome freelance crafters who pitch in to help.  We started in 2011 in the hopes of creating a sustainable social enterprise for people with learning disabilities that would give them a chance to do meaningful creative work and help the environment in the process.
In October 2011, the Project received a Level 1 Millennium Award from Un Ltd, helping us to buy tools and materials for the group.  Off to a good start!  Since then we’ve been working with a small group in Cambridge, as well as delivering “roadshows” to schools, youth groups, and other social enterprises.  We’ve opened our etsy shop, and are preparing for the upcoming summer market season.  Along the way, we’ve met loads of inspiring people, and had a great time.  We’re always looking to connect with new people, so if you have fresh ideas, please get in touch!
I couldn't wait to learn more about this incredible group.  I asked Stacy how she got started.  She said, "In 2011, Jacqui and I were both facing redundancy from our job at a local disability charity.  Having been in the situation before, we wanted to try setting up a group of our own that could run without all the overheads of a large charity.  So we met with a group of people with disabilities to find out what was important to them and what kind of project they would like.  They said that their ideal project would a) involve arts and crafts, b) give something back to the local community, and c) help the environment.  So the idea for the Re-Creations Project was born".

By this point, my heartstrings were playing a concerto.  I was struck by the fact that the mission of this group was designed by the people it was meant to benefit.  The best way to empower a person is to let them make a decision.  I have always strongly felt that people with developmental disabilities should be as involved as they can be in the decision making process of groups whose mission it is to enhance their lives.  My experiences in the States have not been so completely inclusive and I was very impressed with Stacy and Jacqui for taking that approach.

This item is available for purchase here.

I asked Stacy about the size of the group.  She said, "Our existing group has six members, and we're currently recruiting more.  Jacqui and I also have support from several freelance artists who help us with specific projects, and many of the group members employ their own support staff to help them access the group".

They may not be a large group, but they get a lot done.  Stacy told me more about their community and outreach programs, "Our core group meets every Wednesday to process materials and try out new crafts (with lots of coffee and a good old natter in the process!).  But at our markets and public demonstrations, we realized that many of the passers-by were keen to try making our crafts.  So we started to offer private parties and workshops to help finance the core group.  So now kids (and adults) can have birthday parties with games that teach them about upcycling and make cool crafts to take away with them!".  I thought all of it sounded wonderful and asked about the what the community involvement had been like.  Stacy said, "The community support has been fantastic!  We've had support from several recycling champions around the city, and have held workshops and demonstrations for youth groups, fairs and other social enterprises to exchange ideas to provide mutual support".
This items is available for purchase here.

And they have some fabulous recycling champions!  Stacy describes where and how the acquire their materials, "We've had wonderful support from local youth groups, recycling champions and "being green" representatives from the county council, who have responded to our appeals for particular materials  We even have dedicated individuals around the country who post us certain items when they've finished with them!  It's inspiring to see so many people who are motivated to find better solutions for their waste packaging materials.

Some of our project ideas are motivated by the groups desire to practice a particular skill.  So, when they wanted to learn about jewelry making, we set about finding ways to make beads from upcycled materials and incorporating used inner tubes instead of leather.

Other times we're motivated by a random donation of a particular material.  Right now we work in a great community Centre, that's been inundated with donations of plastic bottle tops - so they asked if we could do anything with them.  Our stock response is 'Ummm....  Sure!' and then we hit the internet to work out what the heck we can do with them!

Our biggest appeal at the moment is for the metal ring pulls from drink cans.  One of our group members has an ambitious project idea, but we're going to need thousands of ring pulls to make it work."

This group is impressive in every way.  I am going to end this with Stacy's words summing up what this group is out to accomplish, "Our main goal is to help people with learning disabilities develop their skills and showcase the results of their hard work.  We're always looking for new members who want to connect with the local community, learn craft skills, or work on sales skills.  Each of our group members has the option of displaying a gallery of their work on our web page, so we love it when people stop by and offer feedback on their work!

Our second aim is to inspire other to try upcycling, by demonstrating that anybody can do it!"

Please visit their Etsy store, ReCreationsProject, and their website, Re-Creations Project, and show this group some love by leaving some feedback for these talented and hard working artisans.

Peace and Love,



  1. Great feature....wonderful program!

  2. Hi, My name is Charlotte. I'm a graduate student and just have the task to look into Upcycling industry. Can you reply to my email? I need some information from insiders. I appreciate a lot for your time. :) Thank you so much! (xuanxuan.li@pepperdine.edu)