By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
For artistically talented sisters Cheri Green and Michelle Mandziara, everything in life has a (re)purpose – even old transmission plates.
That’s the core idea behind their hidden treasure of a shop at 297 SW Pinkney Street. Around the corner from Madison Florist, sandwiched between Madison Tax Services and the narrow alley that runs between the shop and the Rancho Grande Restaurant, Junk in the Trunk is filled with little gems created from mundane, everyday, even throwaway items used in new, wonderful, almost unrecognizable ways.
From the front door inscribed with the words “Rescue, Reuse, Recycle,” customers enter to find purses created from old jeans and old shorts, old jeans legs recycled into water bottle carriers and plastic grocery bags crocheted into water bottle bags. The swirling red and silver patterns of earrings, on closer inspection, are part of a Coke can logo. Other earrings are cut from tin can lids; still others are created from old watch gears – all of them hanging from old shutters, old kitchen cabinet drawers made into display cases and old transmission plates Cheri salvaged from her husband’s junk pile when he was rebuilding an engine.
Old belts become bracelets, old ties become stuffed snakes with button eyes and old skeleton keys on chains and delicate ribbons become charming necklaces.
It started out with little charms. Cheri and Michelle discovered that they loved making little charms with images of about a square inch in size, encased in glass. Soon they began making them for family and friends. Then, they were traveling to festivals all over the region to see if their ideas would sell.
Then, they began coming up with other creative ideas.
“We had been talking about ideas for going into business together for about six or seven years,” says Cheri. “When we got the opportunity to open in this spot, we took it.” They have been in the shop since April 1, 2011.
After having been closed a lot during the fall (the best time to do festivals, Cheri explains, when the weather is so nice), they are now keeping the shop open Tuesday thru Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
They have been approached by other local artists who want to place items in their shop, but because space is so limited, what they do is feature an “artist of the month,” showcasing a different local artist each month in one of their front windows. Sometimes, they have a waiting list.
Currently their featured artist is Shabby T, unique cards, gifts and jewelry by Vicki Bass and Angie Lott of Live Oak.
Junk in the Trunk is not only a business, it’s an outgrowth of a philosophy the sisters share, a passion for creating products that reduce the impact on the environment and embrace the values of “Frugality, Creativity, Ingenuity, Industriousness and Meticulousness.” They have even created a line of five-petaled flower pins made from fabric scraps representing each of these five values.
“Our generation’s legacy should reflect the values that made us the greatest nation on earth, rather than the addiction to convenience and disposability that pervades our culture,” states a printout about their shop. “We hope to pass this on by inspiring you to support local businesses that have similar goals, or at least rescue, repurpose and recycle a little bit more than you did yesterday.”
For more information about Junk in the Trunk, visit their facebook page at www.facebook. com/junkndtrunk.