Turning Trash to Treasures at Maho

Creativity is bursting from the seams of Maho Bay Camp’s fabric tents with its exciting new lineup of sustainable art classes which teach even amateurs how to transform ordinary trash into works of art.

Maho’s Trash to Treasures Art Center boasts an array of new classes — from fabric batik and glass blowing to paper making and a variety of children’s arts and crafts — that began November 23 and are scheduled to run through August.

“We have added nine new classes this year in addition to the ones we already had with special classes that will be available when more kids are at the campground,” said Ginger Kreofsky, Maho’s art director. “Last year, we didn’t have a whole lot of classes, but this year we have more people on staff who are artists and want to teach the classes on their days off.”

After being away from Maho for the past four years, Kreofsky said she is delighted with the new classes on offer.

“Last year we had all of the Clay Works classes, the sun catcher class, the glass blowing class and paper making, but that was really it,” she said. “So we have added a lot more this year — we have 18 classes in total.”

With Maho’s two new glass studio classes — Pull a Glass Flower and Intro to Advanced Glass Blowing — those with all different skill levels in the craft have the opportunity to create beautiful pieces of art.

“The Pull a Glass Flower is just teaching a different technique — you aren’t blowing glass, you are manipulating the glass,” she said. “And this is a great way for people with less experience in glass blowing to make something really beautiful.”

Kreofsky said the intro to advanced glass blowing class gives students more than just a greater knowledge of the art.

They also leave with their own personal creations: a paper weight; small glass rosebud; and sun catcher.

But it is the free glassblowing demonstrations that take place nightly from 6:30 to 10 p.m. that often draw a crowd of spectators out to Maho.

“Watching the glass blowers at night is something like a magic show — people just love it,” Kreofsky said. “Even kids who won’t sit still for a lot of activities will sit here for three hours straight. Imagine taking an old beer bottle and turning it into something so amazing like a beautiful vase or a conch shell — it really does blow your mind.”

Recycling used goods into art is the premise behind Maho’s art center and its new series of arts and crafts classes for children are based on utilizing recycled materials almost exclusively in classes such as Origami Critters and Flower Folding which turn recycled office paper and old magazines into delicately folded pieces of art.

“Kids Arts and Crafts from Recyclables is for ages 4 and up and they can make anything — from using bottle caps to create mosaics to making cards from recycled paper,” Kreofsky said. “We also have a weaving class where children use textiles and fabrics that have been batiked to create a small wall hanging.”

Kreofsky said a few more classes are slated to begin after the first of the year — an adult batiking class, tie dye for kids and a class where children make treasure maps out of old boat sails.

“The map making class is just a really neat class, but it is very difficult to get the sails because people use them for just about everything,” Kreofsky said.

A list of classes is posted at Maho’s activities station, in its weekly newsletter and online at: http://www.maho.org/OngoingClasses.cfm. Classes range in price from $5 to $75 and are open to visitors and locals by calling (340) 776-6226 and asking for the activities department at ext. 212 or the art gallery at ext. 248.

“The best thing about taking the art classes out at Maho is the family environment — it is what draws so many people out here,” Kreofsky said. “This is really a great opportunity for families to do things together and explore and use and create things using recyclables. We have classes going on out here every day of the week.”