Getting to know us: Sydney Ellis Gaskins

One reason that the four of us–Susan, Sally, Sydney, and myself (Kerry)–make a good team is that we share a passion for Creative Reuse but we have different strengths and skills.  When I think of Sydney, one of the first things that occurs to me is her amazing ability to articulate and market.  The three of us love to let Sydney take over when we need someone to pitch the beauties of Creative Reuse to a potential donor or anyone we might like to partner with–she is collected and approachable, bright, and incredibly funny.  But this is only one reason that we are really lucky to have Sydney!


Tell me about your background. Where did you grow up and go to school? What was your major in college?
I am a native Atlantan!  I grew up very close to where we have our meetings at the Library in Brookhaven/Buckhead.  I went to school in the public school system all the way through North Atlanta High where I was in their performing arts magnet program for theater and voice.  I went to UGA for composition and voice performance, but quickly changed my major to marketing.

How do you think your background has informed your interest in creative reuse?
My interest in creative reuse comes less from my background and more from my heart and values.  I’ve always been very concerned about being as “green” as possible (I drive a Prius!) and finding out that I could combine my environmental drive with my craft supply hoarding drive was too wonderful to ignore.

I know you are currently working as a nanny, but what were you doing before that?
After a stint in the corporate world of waste management (not the company, the genre), I quickly developed a strong desire to work in nonprofit. Additionally, I joined Dad’s Garage as a musical improvisor in 2005. I then worked in the Atlanta theater scene in a marketing/management capacity until 2010 when I was asked to join Second City on a tour as a Music Director.  It was on this tour that I developed a vision for a creative reuse center in Atlanta (more on that later).  After I returned to Atlanta, I took the opportunity to explore a nannying position I was offered while also delving into this creative reuse idea more fully.

Do you make art? Are you crafty?
Actually, I am both artistic and crafty!  Aside from being a musician (a whole different kind of art), I am an avid crafter and craft supply hoarder.  One of my passions is collecting wrapping paper and ribbon, and of course refining my wrapping abilities. I also used to scrap book and make greeting cards, but have recently turned my crafty attentions to sewing and building mosaics.  As far as “real art” goes, I have submitted several more traditionally “artsy” pieces to shows nationally, including a recent “text” themed show in Anchorage, Alaska.

A lovely bouquet made by Sydney

What made you think about starting a Creative Reuse Depot?
While I was touring with Second City, I had the chance to stumble upon The Long Beach Depot for Creative Reuse.  I was instantly hooked on the concept and visited as much as I could.  I also had the opportunity to talk to the owner/founder about her store and her creative reuse experiences and goals. I was easy to recruit and soon found myself thinking of how to start something like this in Atlanta.

What is it about the Long Beach Depot for Creative Reuse that you loved so much?
The things I love about the LBDCR are the same things (as it turns out) I love about the very concept of most creative reuse centers around the country! They are very rooted in diverting materials from the landfills, having these materials available for incredibly cheap and teaching people how to use these supplies. Also, something that is sort of unique to LBDCR is that they keep the collection of their materials as “green” and energy efficient as possible. Many of their suppliers are the stores/restaurants/residences directly around them, making material pickups as easy as a neighborhood walk. Amazing!

How do you practice creative reuse in your day-to-day life?
I think my whole life involves creative reuse!  As a nanny, I often see the children I watch imagining amazing new ways to play with or use something.  Consequently, I try to never look at a discarded object from only 1 point of view.  I am an avid recycler in my home and have convinced all my friends and family to save items for potential creative reuse, as well!

What else do you do when you’re not working or saving the world?
Although WonderRoot Creative Reuse is one of my top priorities right now, I am also in the midst of composing for a future musical at Dad’s garage (Slaughter Camp, opening in June) and trying to keep my house clean so my partner, dog and cats don’t leave. 🙂

Sydney and the kids she cares for, playing a kid's show at Dad's Garage


About Kerry

One of the founders of Creative Reuse in Atlanta!
This entry was posted in Creative Reuse, Profiles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Getting to know us: Sydney Ellis Gaskins

  1. Abby says:

    DOH! It’s the Long BEACH Depot for Creative ReUse! 🙂

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