For crafters, artists, do-it-yourselfers, or anyone who wants to reduce the amount of perfectly good materials being dumped into landfills, Scrap is the place to go to get your materials...and get lost for hours. Located at 801 Toland Street in San Francisco, Scrap is a warehouse of sorts dedicated to recycling through reuse of materials donated by individuals and businesses. Buttons, corks, containers, scraps of paper and cloth, pieces of wood...you'll find anything and everything here. Go with a list of specific items you need or let your creative juices flow as you see what's there. The selection will vary from trip to trip based on donations so you'll never run out of things to look at, ponder over, or reminisce about.
Normally I would deduct points from a venue inside San Francisco (unless you live there or have planned a day trip to the city) because transportation, both public and private, can be a headache. However, Scrap is located just off the freeway from the Bay Bridge, and though traffic can get heavy back and forth to the bridge, it's pretty much a straight shot in and out.
Scrap is also nestled among warehouses so there are wide roads, lots of truck traffic, and you park on a dirt run along the building which looks, well, scrappy. But all this gives the place character. I never feel like the area is unsafe just...time-worn. Classic. Scrap is real in a plastic, corporate world. It makes you feel like a kid again searching through odds and ends amid people of all creeds and backgrounds. Sometimes I feel I could build a spaceship in an old tilt-a-whirl from things found here, and I wouldn't have a problem finding willing passengers. To add to the charm of the place, Scrap has a resident cat you can pet as you shop, and there is a donation jar on the counter for its care.
And you'll definitely want to leave a donation in the cat jar and at the register because everything is so cheap. My latest visit was especially successful. Not only did my sister (the crafter) and I (the artist) find materials to make time-capsule necklaces and a lamp shade made out of old slides, but I also found a phone cover celebrating the Golden Gate's 75th anniversary and office supplies to organize the craft room. We also picked up a large stack of old calendars from the free pile to use on a variety of future projects.
Besides providing a place for the American crafter and artist to find materials and network with other crafters and artists, Scrap employees work to increase reuse and recycling awareness in the community by hosting field trips, workshops, and training. Scrap reminds us all that self sufficiency, creativity, and environmental awareness are still possible and valuable.