3000, Victoria
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The Open Drawer

A second chance for unwanted knick knacks

Hands up if you have a drawer full of fabric, old buttons, lace curtains and other knick knacks? The Opendrawer is a shop-front business that aims to repurpose unwanted haberdashery so that others can explore its creative potential.

Can you tell us the story behind the naming of your store “Opendrawer”?

Opendrawer was my daughter’s idea – by combining the two words we are suggesting an environment that is open, welcoming and friendly, where you can fossick in drawers and find lovely stuff.

What is the purpose of Opendrawer?

Our philosophy is to encourage creativity at all levels, whether choosing a hand-made gift, selecting fabric and threads for a project or learning new skills in a workshop. Customers get to use all their hunter-gatherer and explorer instincts.

What organisations have you worked with in the past?

We provide supplies, workshops, work, fundraising, and a meeting space, and have worked with the 5000 Poppies Project; the Margaret Pratt Foundation; Days for Girls; SisterWorks (a non-profit social enterprise that supports migrant and refugee women); art therapists; local schools; our local Ashy Op Shop; and community groups and craft groups.

What treasures come into the shop and how do you maximise their potential to reduce waste?

We take donations of fabric, sewing and art-related items. We have a pool of willing groups and makers who create for various charities. During the sorting process, items are organised by type and then distributed – yarn to the knitters, thread and fabrics for SisterWorks, books to the op shop or craft groups, weird interesting stuff to the costume shop, items for our classroom.

 “Customers get to use all their hunter-gatherer and explorer instincts.”

Robyn Steel-Stickland

Some items are sold at our market with funds going to SisterWorks, and some will be sold in our shop – this helps offset the cost of sorting, which is mostly wages. In the end, very little is thrown away.

Can you tell us a little bit about the art play sessions you run for adults?

Five years ago I created and started teaching ‘Art Play – free up your creative consciousness’. It is based on the notion that many of us misplace our creativity as we grow up. Spend enough years working, raising a family, being a carer, or dealing with health issues and there is no room left for self, let alone creativity.

We recognise that children learn through play, but don’t realise that adults do, too. Art Play is a safe environment where adult students can play with art materials, learning how to use them and find out what they can do.

Each class has a theme and runs for a full day. The emphasis is on how and what we do – not on the outcome. This way students learn how to let go of self judgement, relax, get brave and try new ideas.

You can browse the Opendrawer retail gallery and find out about upcoming workshops at www.opendrawer.com.au.

This sponsored article was originally featured in Issue 13 of Junkies, find your back copy here.

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