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Q&A: Second Chance Housewares

July 25, 2011


I see Goodwill as a giant supply warehouse of crafty goodness. It’s a place for fabrics, vintage buttons, lace trims and appliques. Sheets turn into giant bolts of vintage patterned fabrics. Blouses can be deconstructed into their various parts. Crocheted doilies, napkins, curtains…the possibilities are endless!

I am always inspired by other artists who use Goodwill as their craft store, re-making things that have been cast away into something new.

Shelley Orr of Olive O. Home is one Charlotte artist who does just that.

Shelley re-purposes her thrifty finds into a line of eco-friendly housewares, offering “Second Chance Napkins,” coasters with friendly fortunes, as well as tote bags and pillows made from salvaged textiles. She adds her own silkscreened prints to many of her designs, taking vintage looks to a modern level.

I talked to Shelley about the inspiration she finds at Goodwill, and here’s what she had to say…

Amanda: What inspired you to repurpose materials you find at Goodwill?
Shelley: I decided to use thrifted materials so that I could bring new life into something secondhand. I try to buy used as much as I can, in general, and repurposing finds for my own crafty business just spilled over.

Amanda: What is your favorite thing to look for on your thrifting excursions?
Shelley: I love to find vintage fabric to use for sewing and am always on the lookout for great patterned fabric. Every thrift store is like a mini adventure, since you’ll never know what you’ll find.

A: What is that elusive item you’re always trying to find?
S: I don’t think I have that one item that I’m always looking for. Typically, things tend to find me. I do dream of finding a vintage Oleg Cassini suit in my size one day.

A: What advice do you have for people who want to make things with their thrifted finds?
S: Always look for quality construction and fabrics when you’re going to repurpose items. It saves a lot of time in the long run and creates a better product in the end.

A: Where is your favorite Goodwill?
S: My favorite is the Goodwill on Franklin in Gastonia. I always find something useful when I’m there.

You can check out Shelley’s up-cycled creations online in her Etsy shop or at Charlotte’s quarterly All Arts Market.

-Amanda Aileen Fisher

Stop by our Contributors page for more about Amanda, or read her other posts here. 

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