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'Recycled Christmas crafts' taught at OMSI

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Jen Linn and Taius Linn picked out items to make a cloth gift bag from recycled bits of fabric.Few like receiving “re-gifted” presents at Christmas. But, organizers of the day-long “Celebrate Sustainably” craft fair at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) insisted their event was about creating new gifts from recycled materials.

“We’ve created this event to help people learn about sustainable choices,” explained OMSI Energy and Environment Coordinator Chris Stockner at the fair.

“‘Celebrate Sustainably’ is focused on simple things people can do to reduce their environmental impact during the Holidays,” explained Stockner. “It’s also about saving money!”

He came up with the idea for the fair, he said, because his job is focused on helping all OMSI departments follow the museum’s environmental initiatives. “We’re trying to do more with our sustainability commitment – and this craft fair was a natural project for us.”

At twenty different craft stations, people from partner organizations – and many co-workers from OMSI who have special craft skills – were on hand to help visitors learn new techniques, and get new ideas.

“People are learning how to make simple gifts from simple materials that they might have at home already,” Stockner remarked.

Attendees learned, for example, how to make Holiday wreaths from backyard materials – and how to create greeting cards using homemade stamps and stencils. They also learned knitting basics, and how to make the “perfect” pie crust; alternatives for gift wrapping – and even how to make their own “play dough”.

As he turned away to help arriving guests learn how to make a gift bag out of recycled newspaper, Stockner had a jolly twinkle in his eye. “If you think about it, there are many ways you can make your Holidays more sustainable – and fun, at the same time!”