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Southeast Craft Rumble entertains — and opens minds to material reuse

by: David F. Ashton Getting ready for the SCRAP Rebel Craft Rumble are organizer Jon Toorock; Janet Strahl, secretary of their board; “Craft Cop” and staff member Jenn Alvin; and volunteer raffle ticket seller “Chrissy Pretty-Piñata”, a/k/a Sarah Dyer.

Dressed in kooky costumes - high fashion, and casual - competitors and audience members filtered into the Clinton Street Theater in early summer, for the second annual 'SCRAP Rebel Craft Rumble'.

'SCRAP is an acronym for the non-profit organization 'School and Community Reuse Action Project',' pointed out the volunteer event chair - and unseen announcer - Jon Toorock.

'This extravaganza is a 'craft-off' between ultra-crafty competitors, using only reused materials that they have never seen until that very moment,' explained Toorock about the competition then about to start.

'It is important to educate people about the concept of reuse, and how it helps the environment,' Toorock continued. 'It's about saving materials, and not throwing them away - and how you can turn used materials into great things, like art. This is part of SCRAP's effort to open minds to the concept of reuse, and to raise funds for our programs.'

The Rebel Craft Rumble is more an over-the-top raucous entertainment event than a serious artistic competition, and Mistress of Ceremonies Alyssa Kail, SCRAP's creative reuse manager, moved the program along with light banter. Contestants were allowed to present the four judges with bribes before each competition, hoping to sway their vote. And, the 'Craft Cop' locked up those who were too rowdy - or, not rowdy enough.

After the show, Donna Sanne, Operations Manager of SCRAP, said their staff and about two dozen volunteers produced the event, which raised about $2,000 to help their efforts to educate children, adults, and businesspeople about the benefits of reuse.

'We sold more than 130 tickets, and had a raffle for our 'Fill minds, not landfills' project,' Sanne said. 'It is becoming our big community engagement event that draws both audience members and crafters from the greater Portland area.'

For more information, go online to their website: www.scrapaction.org .