LIHUE — Storybook Theatre is welcoming master fabric artist Evelyn Roth, who will give Kauai’s kids two entirely new classrooms — shaped like monk seals.
“We were very excited by her work,” said Executive Director Mark Jeffers. “She’s a very rare person and she has almost single-handedly pioneered this area of fabric art.”
Beginning Tuesday, Roth will work with Storybook Theatre and people across Kauai in workshops to create two inflatable Hawaiian monk seal shaped classrooms in order to help students across the state learn about the endangered mammals.
“It was our idea, Storybook Theatre’s idea, to choose Hawaiian monk seals,” Jeffers said. “The last couple of years we’ve had problems here on Kauai with the health and safety of pups that are born here.”
Roth has been working with Storybook Theatre for over 30 years since 1984 and has created many inflatable creatures for the organization including two giant humpback whales, a turtle and sand crab for educational purposes.
“Imagine now that we have this mission to bring awareness to Hawaiian monk seals because we really want people to care for them, leave them alone and studying, researching and learning about the monk seals their behavior and their habitat,” Jeffers said. “So we can rise up to the occasion and really care for the monk seals on our island and Evelyn will help us to do that.”
The monk seal classrooms will take two weeks to create. When complete, they will be toured around the state in November, teaching children about the creatures’ habitats, behavior and anatomy and status as a threatened species.
Storybook Theatre has done similar tours with the humpback whale inflatables in order to educate students. Jeffers has been educating students across the islands with the inflatable creatures since 1999.
“In my experience, it’s really important for children to engage what they’re learning about,” Jeffers said. “You can’t just be didactic teaching those kind of things.”
Storybook Theatre is also hosting a crowdfunding campaign on the website Indiegogo, where individuals can donate money to help with the endangered marine mammal educational tour. The monk seals will cost $4,500 to make.
The two workshops will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and from May 19-21, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m at Storybook Theatre.
Classes are open to anyone on Kauai who wishes to learn the skills and techniques necessary to make fabric art.
Three sessions for the workshop are $100 while six sessions cost $150.