We use art to encourage our community to creatively look at trash. Reuse is at the heart of what we do. 

Finding the good in garbage

We do this by:

  • Dreaming up events to inspire people to creatively use reclaimed material.
  • Diverting materials headed for local landfills to local artists, who make them into decorative and functional art.
  • Linking artists, businesses, the public, and environmental, educational and arts groups.

Our Story

Crackedpots sprang from the fertile minds of gardener Tess Beistel and artist MaryLou Abeln. Passionate about recycling, they invited local artists to show and sell their art (made from recycled materials, of course!) in select gardens around Portland. That garden art tour quickly evolved into our enormously successful two-day Art Show held at Edgefield since 1998, now showcasing the recycled art of over 100 artists. But we didn’t stop there!

We’ve worked with kids in school, encouraging them to see waste in new ways; brought artists together with businesses to create art from the business detritus; sponsored neighborhood curbside “giveaways”; developed a public/private/non-profit collaboration that invites artists to create their art from materials gleaned from the “dump”; and paired artists with students to create recycled metal benches from student designs.

And we’re not done yet! We’ve got some new ideas brewing, and are always on the lookout for other amazing things we can do to help reduce the waste stream.


Crackedpots is a volunteer board and a small staff who are passionate about resource conservation – we are deeply committed to creatively reducing waste and shrinking landfills through environmental art, repair and providing access to rescued materials for reuse.  We have a mission: to use art to encourage our community to creatively look at trash. Reuse is at the heart of all we do.

At our art shows, we showcase many Northwest artists who make provocative art from reused, recycled and reimagined materials.

At our store, ReClaim It! (reclaimitpdx.org) we rescue materials from the transfer station and sell them to the public for reuse. We hope to inspire reuse, repair and creative reuse or re-imagination of rescued items.

We partner artists with individuals and businesses who have items that they no longer want, but don’t want to throw away and hope will be reincarnated in some artistic fashion.