Arts and Entertainment

Not the new Lego

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Brad Griffith’s laundry room is full of surprises; yardsticks that wind around like corkscrews, a clock made of craft sticks bent at extreme angles and a toy tank equipped with a plow made of Popsicle sticks and a camera that swivels on top.

Griffith is a “contractor gone inventor” who over the past three years has developed techniques to bend craft sticks, craft wood and even sticks from the yard into just about anything.

Since Griffith also remodeled the former Sequim Dungeness Co-operative Creamery building — the Cays family home from 1933-1997 — and established a unique courtyard at the house, which he offers to Sequim Middle School employees and students to use on their lunch breaks, the creativity of the crafts should come as no surprise.

He started with simple gentle bends, finding the best ways to alter the shape of the rigid craft sticks.

“It’s gotten quite complex,” he said, pointing to a freight train he built by bending craft sticks and other forms of craft wood.

Now, with a collection that includes small fences, pencil holders, bridges, shelves, home decorations, jewelry holders, toys and accessories, and even all the letters of the alphabet ­— upper and lower case — he wants to teach others how to do their own craft stick bending projects.

Griffith, whose main industry for the past 13 years had been construction, is in the process of creating instructional DVDs and starter kits so people can enjoy a new hobby.

“It’s quite unlimited,” he said of the things that can be made with craft sticks.

In February, Griffith sponsored the Puget Sound Popsicle Stick Bridge Building Competition by having 40,000 food grade, made-in-the-USA Popsicle sticks shipped in from Maine. He displayed some of his craft stick creations at the show and people found the projects quite amazing, he said. Many signed up for his newsletter.

Along with developing the craft as a hobby, Griffith sees it as a learning tool for teachers — especially in the science, technology, engineering and math arenas.

Aside from the engineering that goes into building projects like bridges, catapults and chariots, there also are experiments that can be done using food coloring and water, he said.

“We need science and technology,” he said. “I’m not just making ‘the new Lego.’”

To learn more, go to Griffith’s website at www.craftstickbending.com.

Reach Amanda Winters at awinters@sequimgazette.com.
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