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Families Welcome New Arts And Crafts Studio to Forest Hills

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | January 16, 2013 2:45pm

QUEENS — A new arts and crafts studio that offers activities for both children and parents opened in Forest Hills this week, and locals say it is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

The owner of Oliloli, at 103-23 Metropolitan Ave., Sandra Mandell, 36, said she decided to start the studio because she couldn’t find a place in the area where she could “take my kids and enjoy myself as well.”

Parents, who came to the studio on Tuesday, when Oliloli opened its doors for the first time, agreed that families with children don't have enough options in Forest Hills.

Vicky Barshai, who came with her three daughters — Raisa, 8, Eva, 6, and Nina, 4 — said she was waiting for the opening since she read about it on the Internet a few months ago.

“When we heard that it was open, we came on the first day, after school,” she said. “We are very excited."

Barshai, who owns an IT consulting company with her husband in Forest Hills, said her family is "very local," and that she appreciated the new option in the area.

Parents in the neighborhood said they must often travel long distances with their kids to find interesting family activities.

At Oliloli, parents work alongside with their kids at communal tables made of recycled wood.

Activities include “Paint your own Pottery,” in which participants select from a variety of pre-fired pieces of pottery, including mugs, bowls or figurines, and paint them.

Oliloli also offers glass fusing, which allows participants to create various shapes out of colored glass, including tiles, earrings, necklaces and bowls.

On Tuesday afternoon, Raisa, the 8-year-old, was painting a mug and her sisters were painting horses. The girls said they wanted “to come back tomorrow.” 

Oliloli is also planning to organize activities for adults who want to test their own talent with “parents night out" during which adults will get an opportunity to meet with friends and get creative, Mandell said.

Participants are charged per project (on average $15 to $25). There is no studio fee and people can stay as long as they want.