Events at Big Reuse
Want to lend a hand? Big Reuse loves volunteers! The reuse sector will only grow with the help of others.
If you are interested in volunteering please check out our calendar, or if want to schedule a group to help out in our warehouses please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. *Volunteers must be 18 years or older.
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NOTE: Many of our volunteer projects are coordinated by New York Cares. Please RSVP via the links above, thanks!
Volunteer Opportunities & Tours
Monthly Sort, Measure & Move at Big Reuse Queens
Join Big Reuse and New York Cares as we tackle the latest donations at Big Reuse's Astoria warehouse on the first Sunday of every month. Please wear workboots or closed toe shoes, and clothes that you don't mind getting a bit dirty. Projects range from sorting and measuring salvaged doors, to de-nailing reclaimed lumber, to sorting paint donations. RSVP via New York Cares.
Bi-Weekly Sorty & Re-Organize at Big Reuse Brooklyn
Every other Thursday New York Cares volunteers visit our Gowanus warehouse and help us sort, organize, clean and move our latest donations of doors, furniture, books, plumbing fixtures, homegoods and so much more! Please wear workboots or closed toe shoes, and clothes that you don't mind getting a bit dirty. RSVP via New York Cares.
The NYC Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse turns residential food scraps and NYC Parks leaves and wood chip into compost to rebuild our urban soils! We would love to give your group a tour of our site. To book a tour, contact us at email@example.com. See on.nyc.gov/lorp for more information about the food scrap drop-off program.
Location: Queensbridge Baby Park,Queens Plaza South at 10th Street, Long Island City, NY
Check out what happens to your food scraps during an open house and tour of the NYC Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse's community compost site! The tours will include a comprehensive discussion about urban composting using aerated static pile (ASP) methods. We will also speak about other types of urban composting and how compost is integral to NYC's green infrastructure.
Location: Queensbridge Baby Park,Queens Plaza South at 10th Street, Long Island City, NY
Learn how to keep trees happy and healthy with the NYC Compost Project hosted by Big Reuse! Help prepare local tree beds during the fall and winter. We’ll be weeding, cultivating the soil, planting daffodil bulbs (fall only) and amending tree beds with locally made compost and mulch to help them thrive in our urban environment. We'll provide gloves, tools, snacks and tree care know-how! All ages welcome at tree care events. Youth under 18 must be accompanied by an adult to sign safety waiver. Please wear clothes suitable for gardening work and closed-toed shoes. For more information or to RSVP, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big Reuse has revamped, revitalized and reinstated our classes and in the spring of 2013, launched BIG!Workshops: low cost do-it-yourself classes focused on learning how to create with reusable materials. These workshops cater to NYC's environmentally conscious citizens who are searching for the skills needed to use old items in new ways. BIG!Workshops strives to educate and empower more individuals to incorporate reuse in their projects. Check out the BIG!Workshop Archive, plus view photos from classes on the Big Reuse Facebook page!
Have a BIG! Idea?
We do not provide refunds for non-attendance. If we need to cancel this course for various reasons due to low attendance or weather, we will contact you with the option to either refund your money or give you a credit for a future course. Save a Tree! No printed ticket necessary, WePay is our registration provider.
Please contact email@example.com or call 718-725-8925 x210.
In early 2014, Lie-Nielsen Toolworks®, the premier US manufacturer of heirloom woodworking tools, brought its popular Hand Tool Event® to New York City at Big Reuse (Big Reuse). This event was part of the company’s ongoing international program to expose woodworkers of all ages and skill levels to the benefits of traditional hand tools and techniques, and was a rare opportunity for the public to receive first-hand instruction directly from the toolmakers.
DIY and salvage expert, Joanne Palmisano, visited Big Reuse in Gowanus, Brooklyn on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 and showcased her top projects, and offered tips during her “How to Design and Decorate with Salvage” presentation. Joanne then led a tour through BIG!NYC’s reuse center, offering ideas and advice on reclamation projects. Joanne also answered questions and signed copies of her books.
Joanne Palmisano is an award-winning interior designer and author of the internationally acclaimed book, Salvage Secrets (W.W. Norton). She is a contributing designer for DIY Network, with over 150 projects online, including a video series on Salvage Design. Joanne's second salvage book is coming out in May 2014 and she is currently writing for the Williams-Sonoma's blog, Cultivate. salvagesecretsblog.com
On Saturday, July 27, 2013, at Big Reuse's Gowanus class, students learned how to transform a simple ball jar and piece of salvaged lumber into a classy vertical vase and wall hanging. This class provided students with a really beautiful new addition to their apartment, and also taught them the valuable skill of using power tools, prepping salvaged wood and certain household plant techniques to keep things green indoors all year round. These great wall hangings can be used for fresh cut flowers, small pot bound plants, or stable housings for plant cuttings. This workshop was hosted by BIG!Workshops coordinator (and piñata expert!) Meg Keys.
On Saturday, July 13, 2013 BIG!Workshops hosted a "Rainwater Harvesting" class, lead by Adam Katzman. Meet Adam Katzman. Adam likes water. More than that Adam loves reusing water. Adam can also teach you how to lower your water bill by building a rainwater harvesting system which can be used to help water your lawn, garden or plants as summer temperatures go off the charts!
Adam is an accredited professional of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association and works on designing and installing alternative energy and water systems in the NY area. He works on projects ranging from the 'do-it-yourself' scale all the way up to commercial grade systems, where he tries to participate in projects that are, as Adam describes, “within the boundaries of smart, green, and alternative building”.
During Adam’s project All Washed Up, he worked in collaboration with local artists to turn an abandoned water tower into an off-grid laundromat that showcased a variety of low-tech renewable water and energy systems. Adam was also the mastermind behind such projects as Jerko: The Gowanus Vacuum and The Poop and Paddle.
In Big Reuse’s workshop, Adam taught students how to turn a 55 gallon food grade drum into a beautiful and efficient rainwater collection system. Rainwater harvesting serves many different purposes. According to Adam, harvesting rainwater in New York City has many benefits such as “reducing combined sewage overflow”. Additionally the process “allows us renewable access to one of our most vital resources,” which is continually being polluted and depleted. Adams says, “in most areas of the US, people have access to municipal water, but for a number of reasons we are seeing many scenarios where groundwater or municipal supplies become threatened in one way or another (fracking, interruption of municipal infrastructure due to natural disasters, etc) so learning to harvest rainwater is like learning to take control [of your water supply]."
Big Reuse partnered with Annie Evelyn for the July 2013 BIG!Workshop “Upholstery 101 with Annie Evelyn”. Annie received her BFA and MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Furniture Design and has taught at RISD, “Turning and Furniture Design” at Indiana University Of Pennsylvania Center, Anderson Ranch, and Penland School of Crafts.
While at RISD, Annie discovered her love for sewing and upholstery, and upon graduating decided to pursue a career in this trade. She has been working in the furniture and upholstery business since 1997. Annie is the founder of New Colony Furniture, a Brooklyn based studio that works with wood, upholstery, concrete, and metal. Annie has created unique and comfortable seating using a technique that she created herself, which includes some nontraditional materials in her furniture. Her “upholstered” chairs are made from reclaimed hard materials such as concrete and wood chips. Despite a seemingly hard surface these chairs can be “squished” thereby providing comfy seating!
In her BIG!Workshop, Annie showed us how to give chairs new life. Over the course of this four-week class students completely re-upholstered a chair from start to finish. Students learned to properly remove old fabric, minor frame repair, spring tying, material selection, webbing, cutting foam, basic sewing, stapling, tacking, etc. Annie hoped that each student would be able to bring in an old chair and “leave with something more”, which is exactly what happened. Her method of teaching allowed each person to create a chair unlike anyone else’s, making it completely unique to them. Additionally each person received individual help and guidance as they work.
In mid-June 2013, Shannon Kerner returned to Big Reuse after the success of her previous workshop, “Mosaic What Your Momma Gave You”. Attendees created their own book by reusing some of Big Reuse’s vintage record covers. We have an extensive collection so the options were limitless! Shannon taught the ins and outs of binding books to create a unique and one-of-a-kind book, all while promoting reuse at the same time!
Shannon Kerner is an artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She can bind any material together, and makes a gamut of mixed media 3-D art using primarily paper. She has taught art workshops at 826NYC, the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, and the Brooklyn Public Library and has done a series of books for 596 acres. She has also released one Blue-eyed Blues album titled, SHANIMAL Rough & Tumble: Everybody Gets the Blues.
On June 8, 2013 students learned the basics of building with Gary John Oshust Jr., owner and operator of SPark Workshop Brooklyn a collective creative space located at 34th Street/2nd Avenue in Brooklyn. Gary illustrated how to repurpose the very great, naturally weathered and sturdy scaffolding wood always in stock at Big Reuse. Attendees went home with a great bench for both indoor and outdoor use.
SPark occupies over 10,000 square feet and features a shared workshop, conference room, gallery space, photo studio, individual storage, kitchen, private and semi-private studios ranging from 200 to 400 square feet. Gary is a trained sculpter and builder who has produced works commercially for clients such as Disney and Sesame Street, as well as smaller clients like Sloane Tanen the author of ‘Bitter with Baggage, Seeks Same.’ This is a beginner class so no working knowledge of tools is required, but of course, always welcome.
On June 2, 2013 students made modern mosaic art with Miss Shannon Kerner. Shannon taught attendees the ins and outs of designing a stellar tile mosaic that they could then incorporate into DIY home projects. All designs were unique, as the attendees brought their own special pieces to incorporate into the design and prompt great conversation.
On April 27, 2013 Big Reuse hosted our amazing Gowanus neighbors Twig Terrariums for a workshop where we provided a little breakfast and some serious creating. The outcome was amazing ball jar terrariums that were made with our materials and your crafty hands.
Twig Terrariums is a verdant venture sprung from the minds of two old friends, Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow. Twig's open studio and shop is located near Big Reuse's Gowanus location and you can find all types of terrariums (moss, plant, succulent, and air plant), do-it-yourself kits, unique gardening items and funky flora, as well as cool and unique gifts for just about anyone. Twig has partnered with BIG! Workshops to assist us in repurposing some of our salvaged glass.