Category: Collecting

Pennsylvania artist turns to Goodwill for inspiration and supplies.


By Goodwill Keystone Area blogger Tony D.

At Goodwill, our slogan is “More Than Just a Store.” Goodwill is many things to many people including affordable quality clothing, job training for community members with disabilities, local donation spot for clothing and household items to a non-profit making a positive difference in the local community.

Recently we were happy to learn that, for Pennsylvania artist Kathie Lister, Goodwill is a source of inspiration and her go-to spot for great deals on supplies for her creative art designs.

1. How did you get started in sculpture and why do you shop at Goodwill.DogSculpture
I was a business executive for 30 years but my undergraduate degree is in fine art. (I was a fashion design major and I too occasionally buy clothes at GW and redesign them). I always wanted to do “art” so when I retired I thought about what I really liked. My best friend dragged me to a GW in Virginia when I visited her and I was hooked. We spent hours looking and laughing. I found a ceramic poodle from the 50s that was so funny and kitschy that I bought it… 99 cents. I began seeing other ceramic dogs and an idea was hatched. My belief is that if you have enough of anything you can make something out of it. I went on to collect lots of dogs, old salt and pepper shakers, and generally anything that looked whimsical. Mind you, this is stuff I would never have looked at before. DUST collectors. I make elaborate centerpieces to hold flowers and candles but best of all are fun to look at. I shop at Goodwills because I buy this stuff in volume and frankly the prices and the surprises are terrific. It never ceases to amaze me what has been made into a ceramic object. One of my favorite ceramic planters is the back half of a horse. Too funny.

2. What Goodwill locations do you shop at and what items do you typically look for when considering a sculpture piece?
Too numerous to list. Mostly southern NJ and PA locations but I have been to stores in Virginia, Florida, Maine and Colorado where I have a second home. I look for pieces that are slightly older( doesn’t have to be vintage) and strike my fancy. It can be anything!!! Truly. My new great pleasure is going to the Goodwill outlet and buying big boxes of stuff for pennies.

3. What style of artwork do you prefer?
The pieces that I make have to have a utilitarian purpose. I cannot do Art for Art sake. That seems too pretentious for me. I admire those that can produce that way but it is not for me. I create mirrors, lamps, vases, sconces, candle holders etcetera as long as they are a bit whimsical. I have made tissue box holders completely covered in cut up ceramics just to work on technique. There is a fair amount of labor and technique involved in what do as well as toxic coatings. Plenty of power tools are used too.


4. Have you ever displayed your work in any exhibits?
I have exhibited at Brigitte Mayer Gallery in Philadelphia, Moore College of Art and a juried art show to benefit the William Penn Charter School. I have been at this for almost two years since I retired.


5. What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Don’t worry what other people think! Do what you love. I did not pursue this with the intention of making money. When I do sell something however it provides validation of what I am doing. Had I started when I was was just out of art school I would have been too concerned with others’ opinions. Sometimes when I start a piece I will ask my husband what he thinks. I can see the wheels turning as he tries to come up with a tactful answer since he is rather conventional when it comes to “art” and heaven knows, with the work that I’d do there is a fine line between “wow that’s cool” and “what was she thinking?”

Special thanks to artist Kathie Lister for sharing her story. If you enjoy Goodwill re-design projects, be sure to check out the finalists for our Goodwill Runway Show Re-Design Contest finalists and vote for your favorite by clicking LIKE on your favorite in our Facebook photo album – CLICK HERE.

Shop Goodwill Offers Online Auctions

This East African bottle topper is hand carved out of a rare wood and is about 50 years old.
This East African bottle topper is hand carved out of a rare wood and is 55 years old.

Goodwill stores throughout the 22-county region comprising Goodwill Keystone Area receive all sorts of interesting donations every day.  After processing and pricing, donations go directly into stores for sale to customers or to The profits from these sales are used to help people with disabilities and other challenges to employment through job training and other activities.

Interesting sterling silver necklaces.
Interesting sterling silver necklaces.

More than 80 Goodwills across the nation have online stores that auction merchandise on, including five in Pennsylvania.  You can search the site by item, category or seller. Goodwill Keystone Area (GKA) has two online stores. (Click here to view merchandise currently up for auction at the Berwyn and Reading online stores.) Each online store offers brand name clothing, shoes, antiques and collectibles.

To browse merchandise on, you can search specifically for items available online at GKA’s two stores, click the magnifying glass and browse by seller.  one your search specifically for items for sale by the Berwyn or Reading online stores.

Proceeds from these online auctions are maximized, adding additional funds to Goodwill’s mission to support persons with disabilities and other barriers to independence in achieving their fullest potential as workers and as members of the broader community.

Need Glassware for a Holiday Party? Goodwill to the Rescue!

If you’re having a holiday gathering and expecting more guests than you have glasses or you want to keep your set intact or ensure grandmother’s china doesn’t get broken, think about stocking up on some extra mugs, glassware and other kitchen items from Goodwill.

If the thought of serving drinks in your wedding crystal or good wine glasses gives you nightmares, why not get some inexpensive beverage glasses at one of our 35 Goodwill stores? Different mugs and glasses for each guest would also prevent drink mix ups from happening.

Barware 1
Budweiser Clydesdale lager glasses, a Planet Hollywood and a Brown University shot glass at Goodwill.
Unique quality barware from Goodwill doesn’t break your budget. Hand-blown champagne flute & martini glass – $0.97 each. Four matching tumblers – $0.47 each.

How often have we heard this exchange:” Where did I put my drink?” “What kind of glass was it in?” “It was like yours. Did you take my glass by mistake?” If you’ve ever been to a holiday party where identical wine glasses had different charms on them, but still got mixed up, you know how easy it is to forget where you left your glass when you get up to go to the bathroom and someone takes your spot near the fireplace.

Don’t lose track of which glass or beer mug is yours. Giving each guest a unique glass is easy if you shop at Goodwill.

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Cyber Monday at

Have some fun cyber shopping today at We have jewelry, designer clothes, boots and handbags. Our online Goodwill store based in Reading has a piccolo metronome, right, used for keeping time

or a zither, below (Everyone has an uncle who plays – or should play – the zither.). These and many much more unusual gifts are up  for auction if you know an aspiring musician.

Find accessories from scarves to earrings to necklaces to match them…all at Goodwill – you never know what you’re going to find when you

Classic Games Come Back

Jacks and Marbles from Goodwill Remember all those games that we used to play when while we were growing up? I remember being outside all day with my pals playing everything from kick the can to jacks to 4-square. I miss those days. Let’s make a goal this spring to get our children outside again. It is time for these classic games to make a comeback. The classics come back all the time. Look at throwback jerseys in professional sports to classic music being popular on the concert scene. Classic games can comeback too.

I have collected many of these games from my childhood. I found jacks, marbles and jump ropes to name a few. You know where I found these: my local Goodwill. Just check it out for yourself and see if you can find these classic items to introduce to a new generation and get them back outside this spring.

At the very least it’s worth getting them a bike or a scooter. It may take some searching but they can be found. My two children are going to see what it’s like to spend more time outside and less time in front of the TV and video games. These classic games can help. Hunting for them at Goodwill was fun for me. Seeing the children’s enjoyment to experience these classic games was even better.

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The Happy Hunter

If you are like me, then you love rare and collectible items. It is my passion in life to collect and own, for my enjoyment, all kinds of things from classic comic books to fascinating looking clocks to vintage figurines. I have spent many years all over the world searching for these rare, valuable, and sometimes weirdly cool artifacts. In all my travels I learned that all the items that I have ever wanted to find are right here at my local Goodwill stores.

I just walk in to my local store, take a look around, and let my imagination run free as the hunt begins for collectibles and treasure. I live by the mantra that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

In upcoming posts, I would like to share stories of some of my great finds and point you in the right direction to start your own treasure-collecting journey. To help you, be sure to check out for online sales of interesting and collectible items. Think of it as eBay for extraordinary shoppers and collectors. Until then, happy hunting.

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Goodwill Secret: Silent Auctions

Some Goodwill stores sell unique, valuable or popular items by silent auction. The rules vary by store, but generally, the items are on display and you submit a written (silent) bid for the item you are interested in. At the end of the auction, the person who bid the highest wins!

Goodwill Exton has just refreshed their Silent Auction.  They start on the first and third Fridays of each month and last one week. To get started, go to 45 Marchwood Road in Exton and talk to an associate to get started!

For larger photos, click image above.

Are you a Mac or a PC?

Apple MacBook Pro 17"

If you’re a Mac lover, here is a fantastic find for you on A 17″ Widescreen Apple MacBook Pro lap top new and sealed in the box!

Get your bid in now, the auction ends February 12!

In case you missed my last post, is like Goodwill’s own ebay-style auction site. Proceeds help people with disabilities find work in your community.

Attention, numismatists!

Lincoln Wheat Penny

Did you know coin collectors are called numismatists?

So, numismatists, I wanted to share this great find! There’s a great set of Lincoln Wheat Pennies on Check them out! Better hurry, bidding ends on January 25.

I didn’t know this at first, but is the first Internet auction site created, owned and operated by a nonprofit organization. Goodwill’s from across the country offer for auction on the site antiques and collectibles as well as new items pulled from their inventories of donated goods. Proceeds from fund programming for people with disabilities to help them find work.