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Kimball Art Center to offer Holiday classes

Dan Bischoff, Of the Record staff

It’s no secret the holidays can diminish the size of a wallet. While sugar plums are dancing in children’s dreams, parents may be writhing at night from nightmares of dollars swirling down the drain.

So, this season, the Kimball Art Center will offer a gift that keeps giving. Kids can sign up for classes to make their own gifts and Christmas decorations.

"It’s a great opportunity for kids to have some time alone and make gifts for family members for a surprise," said Annie Kennedy, the director of education at the Kimball Art Center. "They will learn skills one can use at home and they can do for a lifetime."

The classes, she said, might offer parents some needed alone time as well.

"It might also give parents a couple hours free for Christmas shopping," Kennedy said.

Kennedy is excited to see how these classes may affect children involved.

"The ornaments in my family that are the most significant and the most cherished are the ones that I or my brothers and sisters have made as kids," she said. "They might not be the prettiest ornaments, but being able to make something by hand to give to loved ones is really powerful and is cherished for a long time."

The teachers agree. The process of making gifts has more meaning than simply purchasing any item at the store.

"I think it’s perfect," said Holly Maier, who will be teaching a jewlery and gift making class. "They are right before the holidays. I think it’s a great idea to make their own presents. For them to use their imagination on gifts is something much more than going to buy something that’s more withstanding. There’s more of a sentimental value there."

Last year, the Kimball featured classes for both adults and children. This season, it is focusing more on children’s education

"I want to give kids tools and abilities to make things beyond these workshops," Kennedy said, "tools to help throughout their lives, but also for these holidays to make gift."

There will be five classes that will run through Jan. 3. Sun Park will teach a Gift and Ornament Making class and a Card and Ornament Making class. His classes will start Dec. 4 and go through Dec. 14.

"He’s an incredibly talented teacher," Kennedy said. "He’s a recent addition to staff. He’s amazing in the classroom. I think it’s rare to see anybody who exhibits the kind of connection and talent that Sun (Park) does," Kennedy said.

Park specializes in origami and will help apply his teachings in a way that can be translated into other skills objects and abilities.

"He makes great objects and artwork but he also is really encouraging motor skills abilities and really teaches kids and encourages them to work at their best ability," Kennedy said.

Maier’s class will run from Dec. 18 21. Maier has been at the Kimball longer than any other teacher. Kennedy said she is an "Incredibly talented artist and designer, she’s very skilled at working with elementary kids."

Maier, who has taught mixed media drawing and painting, calls herself the jewelry queen and said she makes 75 percent of the jewelry she wears. She will be teaching kids how to make beads with various materials, bracelets and variety of other homemade jewelry.

"One process is using old bread and massage it enough where it turns into a hard ball," Maier said. "You bake that and use those as beads. We will also be making metal beads. You cut out metal pieces out of sheet metal and we will handcraft those pieces to make charm bracelets. It should keep the kids busy and do things they’ve never tried before."

Maier wouldn’t give too much away for fear of people not coming to class, but, the trades they learn will stay with them after class is over. Maier hopes some may be stirred to create their own creative jewelry.

"Kids can be inspired if they see something. Kids notice jewelry and get ideas and places and build that within the classroom. They will assemble jewelry in class and they can take it home and experiment with other jewelry at their own levels," Maier said.

The skill may have the potential to be a money-maker as well.

"A lot of people make quite a lot of money making jewelry," Maier said. "Once you learn to do that, it’s a piece of cake. It just gives you opportunities. I go to stores now and when I see jewelry, I think, ‘I can make that.’"

The jewelry classes are not just for girls, Maier emphazsized.

"Even boys like jewelry," she said. "I have a nephew that wears shell necklaces."

There will be two sessions of pottery classes taught by Candice Methe starting Dec. 28. Methe will teach Pottery on the Wheel to both children and adults.

"She connects with (students) in a personal way. I’ve seen a lot of people teach ceramics to children but I have never seen anyone come as close to them as she does," Kennedy said.

"I’m really excited about these classes because I have a lot of admiration for the teachers," Kennedy said. "It’s an amazing opportunity to learn with talented professional artists and teachers."

The Kimball Art Center will hold a Gift and Ornament Making class Mondays and Wednesdays Dec. 4 through Dec. 11 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The Card and Ornament Making class will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. from Dec. 5 to 14. The Holiday Jewelry and Gift Making class will take place Dec. 18, 19, 20 and 21 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The first session of the Pottery on the Wheel class will be Dec. 28, 29 and 30 from 9 to 11 a.m. The second session will be at 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 1, 2 and 3. Each session of classes $95. For more information, call 649-8882.


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