SCRAP Humboldt’s (along with the Mother Organization, SCRAP Portland) mission is to inspire creative reuse and environmentally sustainable behavior by providing educational programs and affordable materials to the community.
I was able to drop by and chat with Tibora Girczyc-Blum, Director and Artist at SCRAP, between poking around the materials shop and creative workshop.
The materials have been organized neatly into their specific categories: fabric, mechanical pieces, wood items, tiles, maps, glass decanters, silk flowers, antique photo slides (which they have several hundred of and Tibora blames them for her #1 distraction while in the shop) and a plethora of teaching materials and supply needs.
As I stood examining all the various useful pieces, I was amazed at just how many visitors and regulars were streaming in. Teachers looking for pencil cases for all 26 kids in the class, a Regular chatting with Tibora about her latest project and at least three other people scanning and rummaging through the aisles for their perfect find. I have even heard tales from out-of-towners that they stopped by the area just to head over to SCRAP Humboldt.
While the store front of SCRAP offers materials and supplies, there is a workshop space (called the ReWorkshop) located to the side that has a rich resource of tools and equipment, work space and crafting books to complete those creative projects. As someone who often can’t warrant the purchase of a fancy tool needed for only one project, I am wholeheartedly excited for this space. You can also sign up for a creative workshop event. Awesome.
I am thankful to know that SCRAP Humboldt is in my community, I am excited for myself, but also to introduce to my children and neighbors (if they don't already know about it, because I'm pretty sure I'm the last one to find out).
Tibora shares with us what led her to SCRAP Humboldt and what makes her tick as a creative entrepreneur.
Where you always hands on when you were younger?
I received my first camera (a fisherprice film camera!) for the Holidays when I was 5. We were visiting my grandmother in Chicago, and took that little camera with me everywhere. It wasn’t until I was studying at university that I looked back at some of those initial roles of film and was surprised at some of the scenes, composition, and details.
What clues did you have about your natural tendencies that led you do be a Creative?
I’ve always been a visual learner which I think I inherited from my grandmother, who was a social worker and an artist, my grandfather who was a photographic interpreter in World War II (my namesake) and my Father who was a dermatologist. I was always drawn to creating images and making things and always considered it to be a release or an escape. It wasn’t until my Freshman year of University that I started working as a photojournalist and that changed everything.
When did you decide to start your own business?
SCRAP Humboldt is unique because it is a nonprofit that runs a small business to sustain itself. I grew up in Humboldt County, left for a number of years and was living in San Francisco teaching art, using the creative reuse centers down there. I moved back to Arcata and was unsure of what my next step was. I was shocked there wasn’t a creative reuse center and even more shocked that the Arcata Recycling Center ( the oldest recycling center in the USA) was in the process of closing. Those circumstances lead me to think “What would a creative reuse center look like in Humboldt County?” And so the research and journey began. I attended small biz classes at SBDC and did a lot of research before settling on becoming a part of SCRAP, which is a nonprofit based in Portland, OR.
What was the best piece of advice you were given as you were starting out?
Research and relationships! Know as much as you can about what you are doing, what others are doing, and how you can do it the best. Also, know who your partners and supporters are.
What do you do behind the scenes?
Everything from graphic design, organizing, taking out the recycling, meeting people, building relationships, making custom trophies and sculptures and picking up large donations from other businesses and nonprofits
What is your inspiration for your work?
Making creative materials and creativity accessible and affordable, as well as keeping usable materials out of the landfill. There is so much stuff in the world, that buying new is just a waste of resources (your money, and our environments)
What are a few things people don’t know about you?
I love traveling and have traveled to a number of unusual locations. My boyfriend has never left the country, and we are planning our first international trip together next summer.
I’m learning to play the drums.
I love arranging flowers.