Kids make art from trash in free class
May 12, 2007
Art educator Kathleen Briley makes no apologies for her methods of gathering materials for projects.
"I’m a scavenger at heart," she said in a phone interview Thursday. "The queen of dumpster diving."
Specializing in recycle art, Briley creates pieces using discarded objects from garbage bins and recycling centers, putting things to use that would otherwise sit in a landfill or await expensive recycling treatment.
Briley will share her talents with Park City kids today, May 12, at the fourth annual Art Attack, sponsored by Recycle Utah (RU). The event, held from 1-3 p.m. at the RU center on Woodbine Way, will show kids how to create wind chimes from recycled pipe and metals and allow them to build their own.
Recycle Utah’s executive director Isna Riepen said the project is one of about four the center expects to hold this year, each featuring art from different materials found at the center. Briley said she hopes to teach another class how to make luminaries from aluminum cans for summer.
"The focus is to have a product the children made that they can walk out with and is totally useable," Riepen said.
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Because the materials and building process may be dangerous for small children, however, Briley strongly recommends that only kids in third grade or older participate. Parent supervision is also required.
Briley will work with Greta Andrein, an employee at Recycle Utah whom Riepen calls the resident "artistic mind," to teach kids the value of reusing materials over simply tossing them in a bin even one marked "recycling."
"Reusing is way better than recycling," Riepen said, noting the time and energy converting materials into recycled components requires. "In Summit County we don’t need to educate people on recycling anymore. We need to move on to the next step, and that is to precycle. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. This is all a message. Think about what you can use again. Could a can turn into a pencil holder? Could an empty jar become a vase?"
Riepen suggests buying in bulk whenever possible, avoiding products with double packaging and converting objects for different purposes.
"Of course, you can’t have a kitchen full of vases," she admitted, "but really take a look at the different ways something can be used. Get creative."
Briley said she hopes whole families will participate in today’s Art Attack. "This is really great for all ages," she said.
Riepen added that children also exert important influence over their parents. "Kids are great teachers, they’re wonderful listeners," she said. "They can pass on what they’ve learned to their families, and it’s very powerful."
The classes also offer opportunities for membership, which Riepen said drives many of RU’s programs. "Membership is very important to us. Aside from bringing in funding, it helps keep people involved with what we’re doing and informed on our message." Memberships start at $20 for an individual or $40 for a family. Volunteer opportunities are also widely available for all ages and interests.
"We take the good, the wonderful and the ugly," Riepen said. "We always need help."