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Arts Organisation, Creatively Christchurch

Creative Junk

Craft & Object

How would you describe what you do?

Creative Junk is a registered charity that is committed to finding a second life for Christchurch’s/Ōtautahi waste materials.  We envision a world where everyone recycles, reuses and rethinks in a creative and imaginative way. Throughout the last forty years, Creative Junk has nurtured the creative minds of many generations of children. We are a non-profit organisation that collects waste materials from Christchurch businesses and households and sells these materials for creative use.

You have to come here, you have to see it with your own eyes.  It’s so unique.  If you can picture the Room of Requirement from the Harry Potter series, filled with an intricate collection of treasures, then you are imagining Creative Junk.

What was your most recent project?

Our most recent project was our school holiday workshops.

What project have you worked on that you’re the most proud of?

Teaching children how to re-use and recycle the materials we get into Creative Junk.

We once had workshops making concrete mushrooms and we had a young boy and his Mum come in and thank us for showing them how to make these concrete mushrooms. He had made a business of selling them at the Oxford farmers market because he wanted to raise money to buy a rescued greyhound dog.  He found that some people didn’t like the colour of the mushrooms, so he grew his business by letting people paint them then and there.  He eventually raised enough money to buy his grey hound.

The boy came back after a year making a recycled clock that he put up on his wall that he had made in a workshop.  He was so proud that he only had to change the battery and could now tell the time properly.

What is essential for creatives to have in their life?

Other peoples junk (so they can stop it from it going to landfill).  That’s Creative Junk’s treasure.

What inspires you about Ōtautahi?

For Creative Junk it’s about the businesses that support us, and the people’s willingness to keep us going.  When we were about to close our doors due to COVID, our Community helped support us with financial donations.

What piece of advice about your creative work has served you well?

Many people say that they’re not creative, but once you start showing them things, they realize how simple it can be. So ny advice is never think that you’re not creative.

What’s the biggest misconception about your creative work?

People don’t realize that Creative Junk is actually a shop, so they don’t realize that anyone can come here.

What Christchurch artists do you most admire?

It’s hard to single out anybody and there is no right or wrong way when it comes to being an artist, as we all have different strengths which form different views.  Artists aren’t just about traditional art forms like painting.  Being creative is far more encompassing.

What artwork/piece of music/performance has taken your breath away?

I enjoy when the schools invite me to watch the children’s wearable art shows.  This comes about after they have been to Creative junk to get the materials, and I go out to the school to help inspire and guide them in creating their costumes.  I just love seeing the end result.

What do you wish you’d have known about creative work when you were younger?

The value of recycling.

What’s your favourite hidden secret in Ōtautahi?

Creative Junk is one of them.


Journalist, producer, writer


Zara potts here
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