20 July 2007

CRAFTING FOR THE COMMUNITY: Helen Keller School* August 5* 2-6PM

On August 5th (2-6PM) at the Etsy Labs, we'll be making several projects for the Helen Keller School in Brooklyn, and we hope you'll be able to join us! We'll be sewing, painting, cutting, and basically having a crafty time while helping out this wonderful school.

The Helen Keller school is non-profit, and is for children age 0-5, and most are blind, and some have other developmental disabilities. It is a *wonderful* place, filled with caring and awesome staff members (including our own joannetracydesigns.etsy.com, who got the ball rolling on this project) and amazing, adorable kids.

If you're not able to come to the event, but want to make project either with your street team or by yourself, here are some projects that the school needs:
* Costumes for dress-up- Should be a lab-coat or smock style (easy to get into), with large buttons (1/2" to 1 1/2" diameter) or zippers, etc. so the kids can practice using those skills. Any kind of costume that you think kids might enjoy is great! Mermaid, doctor, prince(ess), firefighter, police officer, whatever! Accessories for the costumes are cool too! Please make sure the costumes are machine washable. The school really wants these, and it sounds so fun! Here's an example of a lab-coat style costume:

* Texture quilt- this could be fun for a group quilting-bee! Make a quilt with lots of varied textures and things to feel. Machine washable, with no choking hazards please!

* Curtain- there is a "fort" in the playroom in the school, and there's a window in the fort. A curtain could be fun for peek-a-boo and hiding. The curtain should be 12" by 12".

* Hands and Feet- ok, this project could be for a group or several individuals. Make hand and feet shapes that can be put on the ground and be used as a learning tool. They should incorporate textures and bright colors. Materials should be durable- you can get creative here, but if you use fabric it should be machine washable (unless it's vinyl or something that can just be wiped clean).

Now, here's some things to know about what we'll be making:
1. Texture: Since most of the kids are blind, texture is really important. Use materials with interesting/varied textures, since that's a major way for these kids to learn about their world. Smooth, silky, fuzzy, hard, soft, nubby, etc...
2. Colors: Did you know that many blind people have some eyesight? Using bright colors with high contrast will make things easier to see. The school is decorated mainly in primary colors. Think about putting, for example, blue next to yellow instead of next to green.
3. Saftey: Make sure there are no choking hazards on the quilt or curtain. Small buttons, any small parts or pieces that can be pulled off are a no-no.
4. Machine washable- projects made of fabric should be machine washable.

So, if you or your street team is interested, please post in this thread: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5162246&page=1, or send a convo to daniellexo to sign up for a project. And, if you can, please send pictures and/or video of you or your group making things...we'd love to post them to the Labs blog, flickr.com, and youtube. We will also be broadcasting the event in the workshop (http://www.etsy.com/workshop.php), so everyone can join in!
If you have art supplies with interesting textures to donate, those are great too! We will post information soon about how to donate money to the school for those who are interested. We've gotten such a wonderful response from the Etsy community already. Go Etsy! And hurray for the Helen Keller School and their wonderful work!
Please send projects and material donations to:
Etsy Labs
c/o Danielle Maveal
325 Gold St., 6th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
To donate money to the school, send a check made out to Helen Keller Services for the Blind to:
Sam Morgan
Children's Learning Center
Helen Keller Services for the Blind
57 Willoughby St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
If you can make it to the event at the Labs, please rsvp@etsy.com. Thanks!


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