Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fashioning art from scrap

MOST households will find their postboxes stuffed with flyers, brochures and catalogues on a daily basis, which then usually accumulate into piles of unwanted paper.
While sending them to a recycling centre remains the best option to dispose of them, and at the same time lend a helping hand to Mother Earth, those with a penchant for handicraft could also turn these unwanted scraps into nifty household items.
Some 10 participants of the Friends of Penang Botanic Gardens Society’s recycling crafts workshop at the Botanika Outreach held last Saturday discovered how to do just that, rolling pieces of unwanted paper into straws and then weaving them into mats and baskets.
The society’s programme coordinator Lim Keng Pheng said it was best to use glossy paper as it was more durable and colourful.
Friends of Penang Botanical Gardens programme coordinator Lim Keng Pheng showing eco-guide Choo Kok Leong (right) the way to weave the paper straws.
After rolling them into long straws, pieces of unwanted wires are inserted into the core to strengthen them. These are then weaved into a variety of items, employing the same concept and techniques as rattan weaving.
Programme and events head Cheah Li Li said the craft could be easily mastered by anyone, regardless of age, and once they get the hang of the basics, it was rather easy to fashion colourful trinkets.
“These flyers and brochures are things we get every day. Instead of throwing them away, you can make something useful out of them.
“The only thing you need to buy is glue, which is used to stick the straws together. The finished items can also be given as gifts,” Cheah added.
Among those who participated in the workshop was retiree Chng Saw See, who got the hang of it and managed to fashion a basket just one day after trying it out.
“It’s interesting, and you can choose whatever style or colour you want. There are just a few basic principles, but beyond that, it’s entirely up to each individual what they want to make,” she enthused.
Homemaker Selina Khoo also brought her three children Ashlynn Lim, 12, Nathalynn 10, and Chrisalynn, six, to the workshop, intent on inculcating a ‘go green’ concept in her young daughters.
“We believe in caring for the environment. Moreover, we get to learn a new art and spend time together in a meaningful way,” Khoo said.
Another participant, eco-guide Choo Kok Leong, found that it was common for people to discard pieces of paper once they were done reading them, as not many had fully embraced the concept of recycling.
As such, he wanted to learn the craft to show his friends what could be done with recycled paper, and hopefully motivate them to follow suit.
Sometimes, there is no need to go out and buy something, because many items could be reused and recycled, Choo added.
Those interested in the society’s upcoming activities and programmes may call 04-2279915 for details.
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