Secondhand Items Transformed To Art, Gifts

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CLARKS SUMMIT — A gift shop in Lackawanna County is dedicated to protecting the environment and you know that as soon as you walk in the door and see what’s for sale.

A welcome sign outside this store reads “here comes the sun, lots of summer fun!” It’s the first thing you see when you walk into the Cloe and Company store here in Clarks Summit.

A gift shop sells mostly handmade items, all re-purposed from something else.

“There are hundreds of items in here that have been turned into something made from nothing or sort of like trash to treasure,” said Donna Czarkowski.

One artist turns old bottle caps into necklace charms and key chains with kids’ characters or sports teams.

Another artist makes “button vases,” flowers made out of buttons inside a reused vase.

Then you have button mirrors and even old teacups and plates glued together to make jewelry holders.

One local artist works with vintage materials, like sheets and bed spreads, and transforms them into teddy bears and stuffed animals.

“The sheet goes to the landfill, I’m using it to make somebody happy with a little toy,” said artist Kathy Churilla.

To make her creations, another artist goes to local thrift shops and reuses second hand sweaters and shirts to make comfy pillows.

“I noticed how many clothes were there and there’s just such an excess and I saw the idea of pillow sweater covers,” said artist Susan Ellsworth.

All this is helping out the environment and the local economy.

“It has a good appeal for our economy. We boost it up from the bottom and bring new things,” added Czarkowski.

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