Center encourages supporting local artisans and eco-friendly gift alternatives.
By Alison Graef
Sinkin Eco Centro will host a holiday gift-making workshop 9 a.m.-noon Dec. 2 at the center and an artisan market noon-3 p.m. The workshop will be taught by Spare Parts, a local non-profit dedicated to teaching art using recycled and natural materials. Participants will create twig photo frames and quark and bottle cap Christmas ornaments.
“Spare Parts has highly trained educators,” center Coordinator Julie Cornelius said. “So it’s not just like you’re coming in, you’re coming in and you have a couple of people saying, “OK, slap your twigs on! Ready? Go!’ They’re teaching you the how and why, which I think is valuable.”
Meredith Miller, director of the center, said the workshop would normally be $20 per person, but community sponsors have contributed so much that participants will only be charged $5. To register for the workshop, visit www.facebook.com/ecocentro1.
Miller said she recently read the average U.S. family has more than $16,000 of credit card debt, and more than 25 percent of that debt is associated with the holidays. She said upcycling to make holiday gifts is both eco-friendly and budget friendly.
“We’re adding to the landfill, and we’re putting ourselves in debt,” Miller said. “Let’s find a better, more fun way.”
The holiday market will have free food, live music and will feature 16 local artists.
“We try to have a really diverse selection of vendors,” Miller said. “So you can buy everything from soap, to pesto, to woodwork, to planters with succulents in them, to pottery—everything you can think of.”
Alex Ruiz, blacksmith and student at this college, will do a blacksmith demonstration at his booth of hand-forged wares, while Rios MediaWorks will be selling custom holiday e-cards.
Happy Gut Foods will sell a selection of organic, raw, vegan and gluten free foods. Other wares include herbal remedies, natural skin care, handcrafted glass items and live portrait drawing.
Local sponsors have donated Mexican pastries, cookies, sandwiches and other hors d’oeuvres to be served to guests for free. Fruit punch and hot apple cider will also be served.
The first 100 guests will receive a $10 gift certificate to Whole Earth Provision Co., and Miller said the center will raffle several-hundred-dollars-worth of prizes and restaurant gift cards for $1 tickets.
Miller said the goal of the market is to encourage people to support local artisans and the environment when shopping for holiday gifts.
“You can go buy something at Target, or you can buy something from a local person,” Miller said. “And then you’re helping make that person’s holiday, too. You’re helping the local economy.”
A giftwrap station will allow visitors to create custom cards and creatively wrap their gifts with brown paper, fabric, yarn, dried flowers and paint. Another free creative station will be set up for children to make ornaments.
“It’s helping the local economy; It’s reducing the carbon footprint,” Miller said. “Sustainability has a tentacle in everything. It’s about hanging out with your neighbors. It’s about trying new things, meeting new friends.”
For more information, call the center at 210-486-1874.