Family has gift for recycling

Their crafts will be available at green holiday bazaar

By Erin Middlewood, Columbian special projects reporter



If you go

• What: Check ’Em Off Green Holiday Gift Event.

• When: Noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 13.

• Where: Marshall Community Center, 1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver.

• Cost: Free.

• Information:

At first, Matthew Dukart didn’t think of what he did as art.

His wife and daughters were crafty, but he never had considered himself to be the type. Then, a couple of years ago, he started folding the pages of a sports magazine and weaving them together into a rudimentary purse. He gave it to his wife.

“She looked at me a little funny,” he said.

Her reaction didn’t deter him. He was already thinking about how to improve his creation.

He was tossing out a potato chip bag when he realized the glossy, water-repellent paper would be even better material for bags. Then he got to work in earnest.

Now Dukart, a 34-year-old Vancouver resident, spends his days at a bank working as a loan consultant, his evenings creating and many weekends selling his pieces at craft bazaars, joining his family in creative endeavors.

His wife makes jewelry, some from computer parts. Daughter Katja, 16, makes guitar picks fashioned from gift cards. And daughter Briayne, 14, makes hats from reclaimed fabric. The whole family’s crafts will be available Nov. 13 at the Check ’Em Off Green Holiday Gift Event at the Marshall Community Center.

Throughout the afternoon, people can browse items from 42 vendors, as well as swap holiday decorations. The local chapter of Green Drinks, a networking group, is organizing the event.

“If you’ve ever been to the Recycled Arts Festival, this is the holiday version of that,” said Terra Heilman, one of the organizers. “There will be some items for the person who has everything.”

Heilman herself will have items for sale. She makes jewelry organizers from thrifted frames, corkboard and fabric.

Another organizer, Laura Sauermilch, makes handbags and notepads out of CapriSun drink pouches.

Reusable gift bags, mosaics from recycled glass, reusable sandwich pouches and other items will also be for sale.

Dukart said he also plans to sell his work at holiday bazaars, but shoppers at those events view his items as oddities, while shoppers at green-oriented events such as Saturday’s are more likely to actually buy one of his purses.