Textile company Designtex recently partnered with Weaving Hand to host community events as part of the second-annual New York Textile Month. Participants in the Weaving Gathering were offered a first-hand look at how textiles are made in an environment that facilitated the sharing of ideas,
techniques, cultures, crafts, communities, and beyond.
Weaving Hand is a Brooklyn-based weaving studio and healing arts center that
celebrates a fusion of traditional and contemporary weaving techniques with studio
classes, workshops, commissions, outreach programs, and exhibitions while embracing
sustainable and ethical practices. The organization utilizes the art of weaving as a creative
tool in programs for adults and children with intellectual, emotional, and physical
disabilities. Weaving Hand also regularly collaborates with weaving artisans in South
America, Africa, and Europe.
“In thinking about what we wanted to do for Textile Month, we really liked
the idea of partnering with a community-based organization, and the idea of zero-
waste weaving [promoted and utilized by Weaving Hand] seemed really interesting,”
said Susan Lyons, president of Designtex. “We have a long history in sustainability
and Cradle-to-Cradle thinking. We gather a lot of material because of our development
process, and we donate materials for the arts to artists and schools. The opportunity
to work with Weaving Hand and to use waste materials for yarn, and the opportunity
for a richer collaboration with the addition of the events, was really amazing for
these groups with overlapping interests. We really like the community side of the
The Weaving Gathering was organized as a performance art exhibition and
served as a hands-on weaving event. When visitors entered the studio, they were
presented with four looms facing outward in a circle, surrounded by piles of Designtex
scraps on the floor. Weaving Hand and Designtex provided instruction on how to
weave the scraps, giving information about the weaving process as well as the project.
As the weavings were completed, the textiles were thrown into the middle of the
weaving circle. This transfer of materials from the outer circle to the inner circle allowed
visitors to experience the production process firsthand. Through this zero-waste weaving
event, participants were encouraged to think more about how much material is
required to produce one textile and the waste created by the products they buy.
“There is a need right now for communities to come together,” said Cynthia
Alberto, founder of Weaving Hand. “Community draws people together, and with a
loom in the center [of the event], that certainly draws people together. They are curious
about it. It also helps heal the community. We work with senior centers, and underprivileged, low-income-housing kids. Weaving is inclusive; we go around to different
small communities so everyone can experience weaving.”
By Jenna Lippin | Photography courtesy of Designtex
Weaving Hand works with the fabric
and garment industry, corporations,
and community groups to help
repurpose material waste as yarn for
zero-waste weaving, to educate about
the weaving process, and to provide
meaningful group activity.
In addition, its Cultural Textiles
classes explore weaving traditions
found in textile arts from around the
world; current classes include courses
on weaving techniques practiced
in Guatemala, Tibet, and India. With
these sessions, participants gain a
deeper understanding of the cultural
significance of one of the oldest forms
of artistic expression by working on
traditional handmade looms. Weaving
Hand also offers courses in Textile
Conservation. Its Textile & Fiber Arts
program covers floor-loom weaving,
technical weaving, pattern drafting, and
concepts in color. Fiber Arts projects focus
developing technical skill in traditional
practices, as well as experimentation
with non-traditional materials.
For more information on the
services and programs Weaving Hand
offers, visit weavinghand.com.
Participants at the Weaving Gathering were
instructed on how to weave Designtex
scraps. Attendees learned more about
the weaving process overall in addition to
Weaving Hand’s zero-waste solutions.
As part of New York Textile Month, two organizations collaborated to educate about craftsmanship while bringing together the community.