2011 Annual Report

2011 was an exciting year for WonderRoot Creative Reuse, and we’ve come a long way since that first advisory board meeting on Feb. 3. Our year was chock full of “firsts,” special events and making new friends. We want to thank everyone who has contributed to our success by purchasing materials, donating, coming to our pop-up shops, volunteering at events and spreading the word that creative reuse has arrived in Atlanta.

Here are the highlights of our year. If you missed anything along the way, don’t worry, we’re busting out in 2012.

The newest member of WRCR leadership

In March, Kerry Hill became the newest member of the WRCR leadership team. Kerry came to us from the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse in Oakland, CA, although she’s a native of Decatur, GA. She returned from California to live in Atlanta in 2011, lucky for us! Her energy and enthusiasm helped propel WRCR through numerous activities.

We’re blogging for you!

In February we started our blog, a great way we let you know where to find our uniquely creative pop-up shops. There you can track our progress as we celebrate creative reuse and reach new milestones in the development of WonderRoot’s creative reuse program. Find us at https://wrcratl.wordpress.com/. Keep reading!! And don’t forget to subscribe, so you’ll never miss an update.

Festivals and pop-up shops

In 2011, festivals became our first means of getting arts and crafts materials into the hands of teachers, children, parents, artists, and all people who like to make stuff. The materials were donated by people who weren’t going to use them any more, and we sold them for really low prices at these festivals:

  • April 17, Decatur Earth Day Celebration at the Oakhurst Community Garden

        — children’s craft activity: light bulb terrariums

  • May 7, Decatur Green Fest on the Decatur Square
  • Oct. 15-16, Brookhaven Arts Festival

        — children’s craft activity: yarn bracelets

Our best sellers were often “bubble kegs” — truly recycled beer kegs, these are clear plastic bubbles about 2 feet wide that dance and sparkle in the sunlight.

We called our festival tent a pop-up shop, and we took it beyond festivals to a variety of locations and events:

  • July 1, a WonderRoot fundraiser, Bomb the Moon, at the Goat Farm
  • July 9, a stand-alone pop-up shop in the WonderRoot garden
  • Aug. 4, a pop-up shop just for teachers at the DeKalb County art teachers’ meeting
  • Sept. 10, the Atlanta Mini Maker Faire at Georgia Tech

        — children’s craft activity: scrapbots

  • Oct. 8, WonderRoot Fundraising Yard Sale
  • Nov. 19-20, Indie Craft Experience (ICE), Ambient + Studio in west Atlanta, where we also offered complementary gift wrapping with fabric (see furoshiki, below)
  • Dec. 8, Homemade Holiday Arts & Crafts Sale at Midway Pub, East Atlanta Village

Workshops and more workshops

In July we were finally ready to begin our monthly craft workshop series at WonderRoot:

  • July: Beginner’s knitting
  • August: Beginner’s embroidery
  • September: Yo-yos
  • October: Functional origami
  • November: Mod Art with Becky Striepe of Glue & Glitter
  • December: Furoshiki, wrapping with fabric

Workshops are included (free!) with the cost of a basic WonderRoot membership, which is $10/month or $60/year.

Special events are our specialty!

What do you get when you introduce creative reuse into already-festive celebrations? Magic!! We made lots of new friends when we took arts and crafts activities to these big events:

  • For WonderRoot’s 3rd anniversary party in May, we laid out a table full of craft materials — buttons, beads, feathers, lace, sequins, seashells — and a bunch of colorful fabric squares. The results: an exquisite quilt that reflects the creativity and diverse talents of so many people who were at the party.
  • In August we helped WonderRoot’s Loose Change literary magazine celebrate their first year with “Postcards to a Stranger.” Again we laid out craft materials and watched the magic take over as adults became absorbed in paper and glue, glitter and paint and those wonderful National Geographic photos.
  • In November we took shoe boxes, wrapping paper, adornments and glue guns to Dia de Los Muertos, Atlantic Station, where children and adults made miniature altars to honor loved ones who had passed on. The participation was overwhelming as people of all ages waited patiently for their turns to create something special.

To sum up, in our first year we participated in 3 festivals, staged 6 additional pop-up shops, hosted 6 workshops, contributed craft activities to 3 special events, wrote 65 blog posts, and made too many friends to count. What’s more, we partnered with several other nonprofit organizations who wanted to acquire — or dispose of — arts and crafts materials: DrawChange, Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance, re:loom (formerly Ritzy Rags) and The Refugee Sewing Society.


Chris Appleton for being the excellent executive director of WonderRoot and sharing our vision
Amy Rush for patiently working with us to design our logo, gratis
Mary Civille for our first monetary donation
Storage World for donating storage space
Roseanne Winn, Mary Civille and Jess Wrenn  for volunteering their time to work with us at festivals
Diana Gaskins for fashioning 45 embellished fabric squares into the “WonderRoot Quilt”
Abby Gaskins for help with so many things including bubble kegs, the tent, storage, you know
Becky Striepe for leading our most popular workshop, mod art fabric painting
Brick Store Pub for bubble kegs
Phyllis Free for facilitating our organizational meetings
Cathy Ehrler and Linda Yates for sharing their creative reuse art so we could blog about it
Shannon Mulkey for leading the light bulb terrarium children’s craft activity
Shannon Mulkey and Christy Petterson for including WRCR in Indie Craft Experience
Peggy Whitlow Ratcliffe, Live Thrive, for including WRCR in the Roswell Green Expo
Betsy Eppes for introducing WRCR to the Dekalb County art teachers
Tani Person and Kourtni Potter Kaye for organizing the Craft Consortium
Rochelle Barker, Lauren Conrad, Betsy Eppes, Jennifer Olson Hasler, Drea Nedelsky, Barbara Rucket, Elizabeth Schaefer, Nathan Strange, Kip Thomas of Spartan Methods, Noel Tillman and the Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance for materials donations
Alex Bowers, Gina Chaves, Sue Ellis, Phyllis Free, Abby Gaskins, Diana Gaskins, Mary Horst, Shannon Mulkey, Tom Randklev, Amy Roeder, Amy Rush and Beth Schecter for agreeing to serve on the WonderRoot Creative Reuse Advisory Council

Thank You for a great 2011!

Susan Reu, Sally Shelton, Sydney Ellis Gaskins, Kerry Hill


4 Responses to 2011 Annual Report

  1. Phyllis Free, Interdisciplinary Arts Consultant, Atlanta GA says:

    It has been absolutely amazing to see what has been accomplished in such a relatively short period of time–from the conceptual stage to brainstorming ideas to clarifying the mission & vision, to the organizational process, networking, & outreach that led to the connection with WonderRoot, which has resulted in ALL this ACTION!! I want to say CONGRATULATIONS and THANKS to the WonderRoot Creative Reuse Leadership Team for all their efforts to bring this dream into reality and for their on-going commitment to making things HAPPEN!!
    ~ phyllis free

  2. Susan says:

    Phyllis, thank you for your heartfelt comments and encouragement.
    – Susan

  3. Genia Ryan says:

    Congratulations on a successful first year!

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