My, Oh Maya!

My, Oh Maya!

Maya Donenfield. Photo by Allison Usavage.

Maya Donenfeld, the featured artist in our DIY section this issue has made a life out of turning something old into something new (and fabulous.) In the introduction to her book Reinvention, she writes, “I come from a long line of revinventors. My grandfather built our family house with thrift, ingenuity, and what was on hand. It was the first passive solar-heated house on Long Island (circa 1940s). Twenty-five years later, as a small child, my mother and I combed the thrift stores of San Francisco’s Mission District. In the creative spirit of the ’60s and early ’70s, outdated and discarded clothing became our re-created, artful wardrobe, and old furniture was repurposed and new.”

She’s continued this tradition on her arts and crafts blog, Mayamade, which has won awards and the hearts of many, many readers. We asked her what she was thinking about/working on for the holiday season.

“For me, this time of year is all about gathering,” she said, “both from nature and with folks we love. Because the colder weather brings us inside more, I find myself sprinkling objects from the natural world into different corners of our home. Our chickens’ recent seasonal molting have given us an abundance of feathers for “winged bouquets.” Acorns and

pinecones decorate bowls at our front door, water-colored fall leaves and garlands dance on the window panes, and varying winter squash live as the rotating centerpiece of the dining table until they’re eaten. These simple traditions mark the shifting season for my family–a sweet ease into celebrating the harvest of another year.”

Pick up a copy of the fall 2012 issue of Fresh Dirt Ithaca to read Laurel Lathrop’s profile of Ms. Maya (p.16) and get directions on how to make one of the water-colored garlands mentioned above (p.17) . Or visit for more eye candy and seasonal DIY delights.

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