Arts group has new furnace, in time for holidays

Kauai Recycling for the Arts celebrates the completion of the first phase of its new gas and recycled vegetable oil furnace with demonstrations, a Holiday fundraiser sale and kid’s art activities tomorrow at the Kauai Resource Center near the airport from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Big Island artist and furnace builder, Hugh Jenkins, gave the OK to load up the new furnace with recycled glass this week to melt and make into art.

Jenkins is a former math and science teacher from Punahou School who designed and built the first high school glass blowing program in the United States. He currently works as an artist blowing glass with his wife in Honokaa on the Big Island. The furnace building stalled after the earthquake somewhat devastated the Jenkins’ glass gallery and studio in Honokaa. Jenkins designed his second recycled vegetable oil burning furnace that can easily switch to propane as well, depending on fuel sources specific to KRA’s needs.

KRA sees this as a good model and green solution to its mission of recycling, art and sustainability.

With the rising cost of electricity, the electric furnace at the County’s Resource Center was no longer efficient or affordable for Kauai Recycling for the Arts to run.

KRA’s nonprofit organization had to find solutions and funding in order to keep recycling glass and to run their art programs. The new vegi oil/gas furnace will cut operation costs dramatically and enable the program to offer more recycling and art activities. This project is made possible through funding from the Atherton Foundation, Group 70 Foundation and the Office of Economic Development, Energy Extension Service.

Tomorrow’s event will include kid’s art activities with junk sculpture, jewelry and ornament making, demonstrations of hot glass casting and sales of artwork made by volunteer local and visiting artists. Participants can order a glass tile with their family’s handprints in it for holiday gift giving, as part of KRA’s fundraising and Hands in the Sand program. This is an excellent way to have a hand in recycling this year.

For more information on the KRA, art classes or to volunteer for KRA projects and programs, call 632-0555, 651-1766 or visit the Web site


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