Maker Spotlight: spare parts


Who are you, and what do you make?

spare parts is a volunteer-driven organization which makes and teaches others about making art through creative reuse. Our goal is to become a full-time effort for the San Antonio community. We encourage children, teens and adults to make art with reusable materials. These materials and supplies usually don’t look anything like your typical art materials. We create art projects from items such as used water bottles, scraps of fabric, CD cases, paper rolls, newspaper, shower curtain rings and more. If you are imaging it trash or simply ordinary, we’ll figure out a way to make art because it’s not waste until you waste it.

How did you get started making art through creative reuse?

The increasing scarcity of art offerings and resources in schools and the belief in the necessary role of art in education is precisely the reason Mary Elizabeth Cantú founded spare parts in 2011. Her idea—providing cultural and environmental sustainability, affordability and accessibility to the arts through education—has taken a firm hold in the San Antonio area arts, education and environmental community.

What is your favorite part about making art this way? 

Our joy is threefold. For the environment we save a lot by rescuing perfectly usable materials that otherwise would go into the landfill. For the arts and anyone who wants to make in a sustainable, eco-friendly way, we offer a plethora of materials and project lessons which spark the creative in all ages. For those who like to visit museums, we founded the MINI ART MUSEUM, where folks can view artwork no larger than a business card; it travels all over and you can make your own miniature masterpiece, too!

What is the most difficult part about making art through creative reuse? 

Our goal is to encourage EVERYONE to look at the endless possibilities of reusing items, before tossing them into the trash bin or even putting them into the recycle cart.

What is the best piece of advice you have for someone who is interested in learning how to make art through creative reuse? 

Come to a workshop, visit any of our events where we have live project demonstrations, volunteer with spare parts and don’t forget, “Trash is the failure of imagination.” This is one of our favorite quotes by artist Aaron Kramer.

Why should people come to the San Antonio Mini Maker Faire? 

The Maker Culture provides a community of creative people who encourage new and different avenues for art, making and practical applications. It’s a great place to share ideas, get inspired and have some fun!

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