Mathers hosts Amazon-themed Family Craft Day

Children, community members gather to celebrate Amazonian Art



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Alexandra Jia and her older brother Will Jia participate in the "Family Craft Day: Inspired by the Amazon" event hosted by the The Mathers Museum of World Cultures on Sunday. Echo Lu Buy Photos

The Mathers Museum of World Cultures hosts many events throughout the year to celebrate research and artifacts from across the globe. The center also makes special efforts to engage the younger members of the community.

The theme for April’s “Family Craft Day,” which took place Sunday afternoon, was “Inspired by ?the Amazon.”

Attendees, mainly elementary school-aged children, had the opportunity to learn about Brazilian and Amazonian art and create their own ?masterpieces.

Samantha Sandusky, a graduate assistant in the education department, said the event is connected with one of the museum’s current exhibits. “Açaí From Local to Global” follows the transition of the açaí berry as it became popular worldwide.

“Our crafts are inspired by the Amazon,” Sandusky said. “They’re based off of our açaí exhibit, which is from Brazil, so that’s why we chose the crafts that we did. They’re sort of ?Brazil-inspired.”

One area of the crafting event focused on replicating samba school flags, which Sandusky said are flags representing different Carnival schools in Brazil.

Each flag is distinct and based on the school it ?represents.

Another popular section was the kite station, where children had the opportunity to emulate a special kind of butterfly. Sandusky said the kites were the perfect craft for the nice weather.

“The blue morpho butterfly is known for being in the rainforest, so that’s why we chose that,” ?Sandusky said.

A large theme of the day was recycling, Sandusky said, so the final craft table was dedicated to crafts made from repurposed ?materials.

Next to the table was a small collection of Brazilian artifacts made in a ?similar style.

“Over here they’re making recycled crafts,” Sandusky said. “It’s inspired by these pieces from our collection, they all use recycled materials. Also, of course, Earth Day is this month, so another good reason to use some of the things from our craft ?closet.”

Though Sandusky has had a hand in planning many “Family Craft Days” during her time with the museum, she said, this is her first time organizing a craft day without her boss, who is currently in ?China.

Because of the museum’s involvement in other events, Sandusky said they decided to keep this craft day simple. She was happy people came out to create, especially because the day was so pleasant.

Laura Seifers, a student in the Department of ?Anthropologyand a member of the museum practicum program, said this is her first time volunteering at this sort of event, but it has been an overall positive ?experience.

“I love this station to see the creativity these kids have, making things that I would never think to make with these recycled materials,” ?she said.

The recycling station was where Seifers spent the majority of her time, and she said she believes that particular craft really falls in line with both the preservation and Amazonian themes of the day.

“We wanted to have a station where they could take things that people would throw away a lot of the time and make something pretty and creative with it,” Seifers said.

Seifers said being able to tap into the creativity of these children is one of the highlights of working an event like this one.

The museum, Seifers said, does a good job of making sure every craft day is a new experience, and she would be happy to work another one in ?the future.

“Each one is totally different,” Seifers said. “I think they do them almost every month, so people can keep coming back to them and have a completely different experience.”

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