It sometimes feels like the Community Makerspace and UpCycle Ohio were the missing stitches in Hannah Eppler’s college experience. Hannah, a recent graduate of Ohio University and avid upcycler, said that she’s been sewing since she was eight years old.
“I got my first sewing kit when I was eight, and I distinctly remember being twelve and upcycling things. They were simple upcycles, like cropping shirts, but it definitely was something I was actively doing.”
Hannah said it wasn’t until the pandemic that she got a sewing machine and started making masks and selling them. That’s when she started taking upcycling more seriously. She returned to Athens for school in 2021 and stumbled upon the UpCycle Ohio Thrift Store.
“It was when UpCycle had just reopened, and my friend and I were thrifting and just Googled other thrift stores to go to around Athens. We met Sadie who asked if we would volunteer, which soon led to a work-study position at the Community Makerspace. I thought it would be a good opportunity to work someplace that allowed me to test my creative boundaries as a maker and upcycler.”
The community work-study program, which is open to any Ohio University student who is eligible under the guidelines of FAFSA, provides opportunities for students to work off-campus at community and nonprofit organizations like the Community Makerspace.
Hannah worked in the Community Makerspace work-study position her entire senior year of college at Ohio University. After graduating, UpCycle Ohio offered her a regular staff position at the store.
“It’s really great how it all happened. I really just came here to volunteer because I love clothes and I love turning something into another completely different piece of art. Now, every day I get to come into an expressive and creative environment that lets me experiment and share my love for clothes.”
This position and her experiences at Rural Action go beyond influencing her as an upcycler. To Hannah, this position has shaped her personal style, and improved her confidence in herself.