Local Artist Gives New Life to Old Materials

Creating beautiful things from discarded materials is a way of life for Nicole Kraus. Her work is a reflection of her faith in God, whom she says has created something beautiful in her.

Nicole, owner of Handmade and Reclaimed, makes rustic, modern home decor from reclaimed wood. She states on her website: “I love taking old, broken and unwanted things and breathing new life into them. I love it because that is exactly what my savior Jesus did for me.”

Nicole says her business was born of necessity in 2015.

“I had been a stay-at-home mom, but our family needed me to help out financially, and with a 7- and 3-year-old at home, I was having a hard time figuring out what that could be. One day, I was cleaning out my garage and realized I had a ton of old wood and paint, and I thought I could teach myself how to create some cute signs. If all else failed, I would just keep them for my own home.”

Nicole’s idea did not fail; instead, it flourished into a successful business. Her shop is now housed in the Painted Tree in Highland Village. 

She says she named her business Handmade and Reclaimed because it had a double meaning.

“On the one hand, it speaks to what I create. I create one-of-a-kind items that are handmade, and I also use reclaimed wood to create the signs and home decor. On the other hand, it speaks to who I am as a child of God. I was handmade by my father, lovingly and purposefully made. And through Jesus’ death and resurrection, I was reclaimed back to him.”  

Nicole says her faith inspires her work.

“I truly believe the Lord opened this door for me as a way to bless others, as well as to bless our family. Every piece of broken, unwanted wood that we find on the side of the road reminds me of my life before Christ. But God stepped in, dusted me off and saw value. He sought me out and created something beautiful in me. He gave me a new life.”

The pieces she creates have a similar story.

“I love that the pieces I create also have a story of restoration. Planks of wood destined for the dump, with a little love, end up in a place of prominence in someone’s home, usually with a verse or quote that inspires them daily,” Nicole says.

In addition to showcasing her pieces in the Painted Tree, Nicole also creates custom pieces for individuals in the community.

“A lot of the pieces that I make are very personal to the people who are ordering them,” she says. “They often want me to create for them signs with words spoken by loved ones, prayers or their favorite scripture. To be able to create that for them is such a blessing to me. I absolutely love what I do and the people I do it for.”

Nicole says the community has been extremely supportive of her blossoming business.

“It has been a bit overwhelming—in a good way!” she says. “I have needed to recruit my family to help me when they can.”

Nicole creates signs, graphic T-shirts and many other home decor items. One of her favorite items she was commissioned to create was an 8-by-4-foot geometric art piece.

She says her most popular items are her signs and wall art.

“I sell a lot of scripture and song lyric signs, like ‘It is well with my soul’ and ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ I also sell a lot of the modern wall art pieces.”

One thing is for sure: no two wooden pieces are the same, she says.

“They are completely one-of-a-kind. The wood I work with has a history and character that makes it unlike another. That, coupled with the fact that each one is hand-painted by me, creates a piece that is one-of-a-kind.”

For more information on Handmade and Reclaimed, visit HandmadeAndReclaimed.com.