Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Creating lasting memories from recycled material

Aaron Sikes, right, and his wife, Belinda, use discarded items to help foster creative playtime with their twin 3-year-old daughters, Charlotte, left, and Margaret. Aaron Sikes has written a children's book entitled "The Obtainium Fairies," which deals with recyling and re-using for fun and to help the environment. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

By
From page A6 | October 04, 2012 | Leave Comment

Aaron Sikes has been digging about in the garbage for years — in fact, since he was a child, when his parents taught him of the wondrous things that can be created from such an endeavor.

“Growing up, my sister and I had some great costumes because Mom and Dad made time to invent and create for our enjoyment,” he said recently, when discussing the genesis of his children’s book “The Obtainium Fairies.” “They used whatever was at hand instead of buying something new, so I grew up not only with art and creativity all around me, but also parents who encouraged an appreciation for recycling, reusing, and making what we needed or fixing things before spending money on something new.”

“The Obtainium Fairies” is a children’s book that Sikes has written to share the experience of his childhood, where parents and kids invented their own fun together using obtainium (whatever they could find or had at hand).

“ ‘The Obtainium Fairies’ is a tribute to creative play, with parents and children working together to enjoy childhood now and encourage children to care for the future,” he said, recalling how he, his wife Belinda, and twin 3-year-old daughters Margaret and Charlotte have had some of their most delightful moments digging together in the trash, then making something together from their finds.

In “The Obtainium Fairies,” a girl’s favorite book goes missing and she finds a fairy shadow on the bookshelf instead. The girl, her twin sister, and their father go on an adventure to the land of Obtainia, where they meet the Obtainium Fairies and learn how to invent their own fun with reused found objects.

“The Obtainium Fairies” were born when Sikes needed a clever way to encourage his daughters to put their toys and books away, and figured what better way to do it than to make it a game the whole family could play. He made silhouettes of fairies from patterns his father used to make the fairies he would hide around the garden for Aaron and his sister as children. Aaron’s fairy silhouettes show up in place of a picture or a mirror for his twins to discover, but they also entice his kids to keep the house clean.

“Now and then the Obtainium Fairies visit our house and make off with a toy or book, so together we make sure the toys and books are all put away before the girls go to bed,” he said with a laugh.

For parents who want to tap into that creative part of themselves, Sikes reminds them that it is easier — and closer — than they think.

“Part of being creative is just letting yourself do things differently. If a child is asking for fun, for playtime of some kind, the creative approach is to explore possibility rather than turn on the television or a video game,” he said. “It’s letting the child’s request for playtime attention take priority and letting yourself be a kid again.

“Sit in a cardboard box and sail the Seven Seas across the front-room carpet. Just watch out for the pirates.”

Sikes is excited about how creative play between parents and children can combine with instilling a sense of responsibility for the planet.

“The freedom to engage in creative expression in childhood helps us develop problem-solving skills and perseverance, and that can help us learn how to use or fix something instead of throwing it away,” he said. “We as a global society need to encourage the younger generations toward reusing and repurposing.”

Sikes is in the process of getting his book published, using an innovative approach called Kickstarter, a crowd-funding platform for creative projects. Since the website’s launch in 2009, more than $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding 30,000-plus creative projects.

Each project is independently crafted by the person behind it, then launched on the website with their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen.

To check out “The Obtainium Fairies” Kickstarter website, go to www.kickstarter.com/projects/1923212044/the-obtainium-fairies-a-steampunk-childrens-story?ref=home_location.

Sikes loves living in Davis, a community full of obtainium miners.

“Gleaning and Dumpster diving is a time-honored tradition in this town,” he said. “All you have to do is look around on graduation weekend in June, and then again around Labor Day, to know that is true. You’ll see us out there with our trucks, trailers and bike baskets full to the absolute brim.”

For those who aren’t yet obtainium miners but want to be, Sikes advises looking at things in a new way. That is what he did recently when he noticed construction crews doing a renovation at an apartment complex near Peregrine Nursery School, which his kids attend. For months, the workers dumped old redwood in a trash trailer.

“I pulled out easily $500 worth of 2×12 redwood planks, all covered in old paint and with dry rot down one edge,” he explained. “A few passes through my planer and a rip along my table saw and I had the makings of two 5-foot-long garden benches for Peregrine School.”

The process with the redwood benches will be the subject of a photo-essay type of book, which will be for sale on Amazon.com, most likely next spring. All proceeds from sales of that book will go to benefit Peregrine School.

“Somebody saw trash. I saw benches and a way to maybe make some money for the school,” Sikes said. “That’s the real beauty of obtainium.”

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

 
4-H members get ready for Spring Show

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Will city move forward on public power review?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Obama to Russia: More sanctions are ‘teed up’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
2 pursuits, 2 arrests keep Woodland officers busy

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
 
Youth sports in focus on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Rummage sale will benefit preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Concert benefits South Korea exchange

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Conference puts focus on Arab studies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Water rate assistance bill advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Program explores STEM careers for girls

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
MOMS Club plans open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Things are turning sour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
The high cost of employment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

High-five to Union Bank

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Broken sprinklers waste water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Three more administrators?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Neustadt has experience for the job

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
Davis is fair, thoughtful

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

.

Sports

DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

 
Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Arts

Congressional art competition open to high school students

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6