New Castle News

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December 10, 2013

Bit of a stretch: Student to conduct workshop on rubber band bracelets

NEW CASTLE — Olivia McKenna, 11, started getting interested in rubber band bracelets last summer.

“My friends all had them and they looked like they were really fun to make,” the Mohawk sixth-grader and Bessemer resident remembers.

Of course, they also were taking the country by storm, and bags of rubber bands and looms were popping up in all the stores.

So even though she didn’t know how do any other kind of crafting, Olivia got a loom of her own and began stretching the tiny rubber bands over posts.

Today, Olivia has a collection of items made from rubber bands that is truly astounding. She has learned all she can about the craft from reading the loom directions, swapping ideas with friends and watching online tutorials.

Now she is branching out. She has begun to design her own bracelets and is making other items, such as coin purses and little pumpkins and polar bears to attach to bookbags. She can make a simple bracelet in a few minutes and a more intricate one in about an hour.

And at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Olivia will give a workshop on rubber band looming at the F.D. Campbell Memorial Library in Bessemer. It is free and open to anybody who wants to learn the craft.

Olivia said that those attending should take looms and rubber bands if they have them. However, she can also teach them how to make bracelets just using their fingers.

And if they don’t have any rubber bands, Olivia says not to worry. “I have a ton of them.”

A ton might be an exaggeration, but not too much. Olivia had one box with 18 compartments for different colored rubber bands and said she has 12 more boxes like that at home. She said rubber bands for the popular craft are available in such variations as scented, checkered, glittered, color changing and metallic.

Olivia might come by her talent from her mother, Kari McKenna, who works at the New Castle Pubic Library and has done artwork on a Christmas “Grinch” display there.

However she got the talent, Olivia has a growing collection of bracelets and other items and is considering starting to sell them online. She also might teach another workshop in January.

Anyone wanting to sign up or get more information can call the library at (724) 667-7939.


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