Creative Conundrum Lab

By Madison Arnette-10th Grade, Franklin Regional High School

The Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse hosted a monthly Creative Conundrum Lab. The “shop” is the perfect place to challenge your creativity. The Creative Conundrum Lab program started as a collaboration with Laura Ramie, the education assistant, and her co-workers Katy DeMent, principal teaching assistant, and Nora Gilchrist, creative coordinator. They wanted a program that would “happen in the shop and be free for people to come and focus on a specific material to reuse.” The labs started in early spring of 2016. Laura and her co-workers think of new labs by thinking of the “season.” For instance, this month’s lab was markers and pens and around this time people throw out old markers and pens to buy new ones for school.

Laura Ramie and her marker cap mobile

Laura Ramie and her marker cap mobile

When I went to the lab Laura wanted to use markers and pens. I made my own watercolor paint from an old, dried-out marker and the paint works just as good as the watercolor paint in the stores. I event got to do chromatography which was my favorite thing to do in science class.

Laura and her co-workers have gone to schools, libraries, museums, camps, and many other places. They join with these places to show how they tie art and science together and loosely teach science. For example, chromatography is science but you can make art with it.

The shop regularly has gallery shows, and they just had their third one called “Altered Art.” The artists took artwork that was in the shop and mimicked it and made it their own. The artwork is then displayed and is for sale. For instance, one picture sold for $50.

"They Came From Columbus" by Darnell Chambers; sold for $50

“They Came From Columbus” by Darnell Chambers; sold for $50

A volunteer named Kim Payne has volunteered at the shop for a year and loves volunteering there because “you have the oppurtunity to be creative.”

With it being the month of August and school is around the corner, the shop is having a back-to-school sale! All office and school supplies are 20% off, and students get a free small bulk bag with any purchase, and educators get a free large bulk bag with any purchase. Stop by the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse for the next Creative Conundrum Lab and learn how to reuse old materials on September 9 from 2:00-5:00 pm.

Back-to-School sale sign

Back-to-School sale sign


Madison Arnette Is a tenth grader at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, PA. She has interviewed students at her schools homecoming bonfire that happens every year before homecoming and the homecoming football game. Aside from interviewing people, she also likes photography.

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