Archives for posts with tag: craft

A few weeks ago, we were approached by a nice Irish man working for Japanese TV. He was working on a segment that highlighted the “craft wave” in and around NYC and Brooklyn. In particular he was interested in highlighting our weaving and shoe making classes, and he discussed with us the various ways in which we felt this “craft wave” was growing, affecting individuals, as well as the economy.

I feel like we’ve been having this conversation a lot, through several interviews happening around the same time (EcoSalon, Brooklyn Based), and it’s really actually helped in how we run things here. For the most part, we are doing what we believe in and what we think will make people happy. But when you are asked specific questions, it forces you to wrap your mind around what you’re actually doing — what is going on in a larger picture. And rather than just feeling it, you can talk about it in a more concrete way. I like that.

Alisa, one of our wonderful previous interns, shows up on the video as a weaver. She is Japanese, and her father still lives there. So when he randomly saw her on TV one night, he sent her the clip through Youtube:

Now I only wish I could understand Japanese and know what it says under my face while I’m speaking..

(photo courtesy EcoSalon)

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Be sure to check out Elana Herzog’s show, Into the Fray, at LMAKprojects February 19.
It will be up February 19 – March  27 with an artist talk March 6.

Herzog alters and manipulates found textiles, including bedspreads and rugs, by stapling, tearing and draping.  These fabrics are transformed into new surfaces, often resembling organic decay or growth on the gallery walls they inhabit.

(Photos courtesy of http://www.elanaherzog.com/art.html)

I am using part of my time while a resident artist at TAC this spring to explore the multitude of ways in which artists/designers/crafters use our processes of making textiles to engage in social change (part of my masters thesis at NYU). As I do so, I’ll also share some of what I am thinking about here on the TAC blog, discussing artists, events, projects, books, social movements, and resources.

Textiles and garments—through their production, circulation, consumption, and use— have played a central role in social change for centuries. I’m sure I don’t need to tell any of you reading this that not unlike food, textiles are a consistent part of our lives: a fundamental human need and an important marker and driver of culture. The farms on which fibers are grown and the factories in which textiles and garments are produced have been sites of terrible abuses but also sites for important moments in the history of labor activism. This makes it a particularly rich place from which to ask questions about what is happening in the world today. If you have suggestions for anyone or anything you think I should look into, by all means send them my way! I value all of your comments and contributions.

Movie Nights:

While helping out at TAC’s mending circle this past Sunday, Owyn, Isa and I were contemplating organizing movie nights at TAC. So I thought for this first post I would share some of my favorite textile-related films that also offer a precursor to themes for future posts. Please do add your movie recommendations in the comments.

Daughters of the Dust, 1991

film still from Daughters of the Dust

A powerful film about the women of a family descended from slaves who worked on the plantations that grew indigo, cotton and rice. It takes place on the Sea Islands, where ships first dropped off slaves for quarantine before they were sold on the main land. In addition to a different view on an important part of textile history, the costumes themselves—the white dresses of the younger women and the deep indigo of the matriarch—are a striking part of the story telling.

Gabbeh, 1996

film still from "Gabbeh"

A Gabbeh is one kind of handwoven Persian rug, and in the film, Gabbeh is also the name of a young woman who mysteriously appears and becomes the protagonist in the film. The entire film is filled with images of the process of rug making, often used to tell part of the story of the human characters: collecting plants for dyeing, shearing goats, dyeing and spinning yarn, and weaving.

Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags, 2009

film still

A documentary on the history of the New York garment industry with a focus on its decline over the last 30 years in the context of global trade, the move of manufacturing overseas, and the continual search for cheaper labor.

Wool 100%, 1996

film still

A dream-like Japanese film of two junk-collecting women whose latest find are several balls of bright red wool. This acquisition also attracts a girl who spends the movie obsessively knitting a long sweater, then unraveling and re-knitting it again and again.

Gandhi, 1982

film still

Cloth played an integral role in India’s struggle for independence from Britain, something captured in great detail in this epic film, from the Indigo farmers who first tell Gandhi of their poverty to his promotion of Khadi cloth for both symbolic and economic reasons.

Norma Rae, 1979

film still

One of my favorite films about organizing, based on a true story, a single young mother and textile worker organizes a garment factory in Alabama.

Made in Dagenham. 2010

film still

I haven’t seen this yet but its getting great reviews and looks like an important comment on the classification of garment work as supposedly “unskilled.” Also based on a true story, this is about the 1968 strike of 187 sewing machinists that eventually led to the Equal Pay Act.

Craft in America, 2009

film still: Lucy Morgan at Penland School of Craft

Craft in America is a PBS series that covers much more than textile crafts and their first season is available to watch online. For those interested in fiber, I particularly love the first part of the third episode on quilting and community and about the creation of the Penland School in North Carolina.

* The title of this column is a play on “Bread and Roses,” a phrase taken from a poem and used to refer to the 1912 textile workers strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The call of women marchers, “We want bread, but we want roses too,” is said to be a call for dignity as well as fair wages, that life should be beautiful as well as just.

(via unconsumption)

Most of all, we like to think of this day as a good excuse to stop our crazy lives and just spend time making something special for that special someone (or for the all the special someones) in our life.

What a busy week! We’ll leave you with a nice, relaxing film put together by Etsy about a 91-year old Alaskan moccasin-maker named Mabel. We want our own Mabel moccasins to kick around this weekend…

Students will be finishing up the last class of Shoe-Making 101: North American Footwear, where they got to choose from 17 different designs for their leather shoes.

If you missed this round of Shoe Making, you can join in April! Check it out.

Enjoy!

(courtesy Craft Zine)

An exciting weekend.

Friday was the Opening for Missing/Missed, curated by Scott Henstrand. The turnout was great, and the feedback thus far has been positive. Congratulations to Scott, and all the artists, on a wonderful show!

Visit our Facebook album for more photos

or see more about the show here.

And on Sunday, we had a first meeting with our 6 new Resident Artists!

And, so, I’d like you to meet them as well:

Denise Maroney

Denise recently returned from Lebanon, where she produced a traveling theater group called “Books in Motion”. The group traveled throughout the area, to perform small acts in abandoned train stations. She also helped design and create all the costumes.

Now she is back in NYC and will join us for the next leg of her journey, exploring her life long interest in dress and why we choose to wear what we do, as well as her strong admiration for Islamic fashion.

Check out this interview with Denise on her work in Lebanon.

 

 

Astrid Lewis Reedy

Astrid is a graphic designer by profession, but undergoing the process of exploring new routes of expression and employment through textiles and product design. She is a machine knitter, felter, and quilter who uses collage methods to combine many things to create a whole.

While at TAC, Astrid plans to create a first collection of home wares focusing on the the things we “keep” through tangible and intangible heirlooms. She also wants to continue her attempts to “hack” into her electronic knitting machine, directly connecting it to a computer and trying out new patterning techniques.

 

 

Julia Ramsey

Julia is an incredibly talented machine knitter, who has created commercial work, as well as completed her own collections of knit wedding dresses, and other knit sculpture exploring the consciousness of the human body.

While at TAC, Julia plans to research and develop her interest in the idea of a “dowry” and how textiles have traditionally come into play. Focusing on the history of the dowry in Georgia and Armenia, Julia plans to create parts of a dowry, that follow fictional characters.

Tali Weinberg

Tali is a current graduate student at NYU. Her thesis will explore the growth of community and contemporary textile crafts, in relation to ecology and social justice.

Aside from her activist and community organizational work, Tali is also a weaver, natural dyer, and sewer. While at TAC she will use the others around her, whether artists or students, as part of her research, while working on her own artwork.

 

Jill Magi

Jill is a poet, writer, and artist. In her current work, she uses embroidery techniques to draw on paper, also exploring repetition, the artist series, installation, projection and performance. Very attuned to language through writing, her approach is most often conceptual, playing with the subtext of language as well as the presence of the hand and body.

She currently has an installation in the Missing/Missed exhibition at TAC, and plans to spend her time here on a new project related to labor and work.

Whitney Crutchfield

We first met Whitney two summers ago, when she was a volunteer in our first year of Summer Camp. How happy we are to have her join us again!

Having just completed her MFA in Textiles from Colorado State, Whitney primarily studies repeat patterns and printing methods, and finds her relaxation through weaving.

After completing her thesis, she wants to explore the refuse from the process of creating — what can be done with the things were not purposefully created?

 

As General Manager at TAC, I often answer the question of whether or not I create anymore. And my answer is usually no, that I’ve really devoted myself to Textile Arts Center, and found far more fulfillment in that — watching others create — than creating for myself. While this is true, and it’s been several years since doing my own artwork, I left last nights meeting incredibly inspired to make that time for myself again.

I can’t wait to see what these 6 talented women do in the next couple of months, and finding my own creativity again through discussion and learning — even if I’m just sitting in on critiques.

I am incredibly lucky to have this life at Textile Arts Center.

Last winter I bought one of the ever-popular eternity scarves. I searched and searched on Etsy for the right thing (Of course it had to be unique. No H&M crap for me…) Finally, I came across Yokoo — who continues to be a fave Etsy seller for her product and styling.

And almost the same day that my new Nantucket Scarf arrived in the mail, I came across the NY Times article featuring the seller, talking about making the transition to turning her craft into a profit. Upon searching, I realized via Vice Magazine, that I’d been missing out on Yokoo all of 2009!

I took particular interest in this, as we had just gotten started with Textile Arts Center, and had a main goal of helping folks to make these kinds of transitions, whether they were sick of the office life or had lost their job, or maybe just needed a new creative outlet.

So, why the tangent back to Yokoo’s rise to popularity in 2009? Because we are having a Warm Weather Gear class, and her items are entirely classic, beautiful, relevant inspiration for Winter 2011!

(all photos courtesy Yokoo)

Join us for Crochet 101: Warm Weather Gear on Tuesdays, 6:30-9PM January 4 – 25.

When you make it yourself, it will last beyond seasonal trends.

Too busy? Then we support you supporting Yokoo. : )

It’s time, it’s time!

Textile Arts Center needs new interns for the Spring term.

We’re looking for FOUR new people to join our team in the following areas from January – April:

Education

Product Development

General Studio

Marketing

If you or someone you  know is interested in becoming involved at the Textile Arts Center, is a student or individual able to commit 15-20 hours per week in exchange for classes and studio time, this could be the right internship for you!

TAC interns are an integral part of the team, taking on larger projects in addition to the day-to-day. There are no coffee runs (except for yourself) and we love you forever.

Send in resume and cover letters to submit@textileartscenter.com, subject: [position title]


It was definitely a mad house in here this weekend.

After our blow out holiday party — which was nicely rounded out by neon decor, ice-sculptures, the Brooklyn Girls Choir, and a live nativity scene — we hosted one half of the BK Craft Central Holiday Market.

While I was thoroughly exhausted, by the end of the weekend, I was happy to spend 11 hours perusing the many works of the talented folks that filled the studio all weekend.

In case you didn’t make it, and are still looking for some great gifts for anyone, these people will surely sell to you in your last minute shopping frenzy. I’ve gathered some of my faves:

For a co-worker:

Wonderful bath salts, soaps, and scrubs from Volta Organics

 

For a good friend:

Pendant necklaces from SKT Ceramics

 

For the craft-crazy:

Hand spun, hand dyed yarn from HelloMello Hand Spun

 

For the sweet-tooth:

Oreo-Chip Cookies from Bean & Apple (highly addictive)

 

For the self-analytical writer:

Board Game spiral bound notebook from Another Work In Progress

 

AND Textile Arts Center has a few necklaces, pairs of suspenders, keychains, and woven cowls left! Stop by the studio if you want to check them out.

Thanks to all the vendors for sharing their talents, and all the customers for supporting local artists! Happy Holidays!

Happy Friday!

Cute way to wrap your presents. Or try these recycled options.