Earlier this month, the Greater Hartford Arts Council joined volunteers from United Healthcare at The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center. The Center’s Artisan program is dedicated to teaching the art of weaving to the blind and visually impaired, and anyone 55 and older.
Executive Director Katie Glass led the group of volunteers on a tour of the Weaving Center’s main floor gallery and various work rooms–where staff members assist blind and low-vision artisans craft an array of woven goods. More experienced artisans work independently at looms spread throughout a designated studio space. The volunteers also got a firsthand look at various hand-woven scarves, blankets, and stuffed monsters made in-house and available for purchase in the gallery room.
“Our Sewing Room is where we do all of our own finishing twisting of our scarves, hemming, creating our bags, [stuffed] monsters, etc.” Katie mentioned.
On the Weaving Center’s second floor, Katie led the group through a layout of newly renovated classrooms, one of which was completed as recently as January. Further down the hall, the group toured the Fiber Room, where all donated fiber is organized and stored by the Weaving Centers’ creative director and volunteers. Various parts of the upper floor were still undergoing renovations, and Katie expects to have a newly renovated classroom in the near future.
After the tour, Katie and the volunteers circled back to the sewing room, where they unraveled the seams on donated neckties and prepared hand-spun fiber to be used by the Center in future projects. In fact, the fabric from the neckties will be used in an upcoming Open House and Community Project at the Center on Saturday, June 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
“This isn’t just an average arts center. Stephen Farrell, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of New England says in a shared post via LinkedIn. “The work they do is truly outstanding.”
After a long day of honest work, easy conversation, and meaningful connections, Katie expressed gratitude to United Healthcare for funding the Weaving Center’s center-wide project: “The center-wide project allows all of our artisans to be involved in one central project, showcasing each artisan’s unique skills. This year’s theme is ‘Not Your Grandmother’s Weaving.’”
The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center provides a safe place to escape the hardships and isolation often faced by the blind and visually impaired. They also offer year-round classes for all ages. Proceeds from these classes help support their Artisan program. Volunteers of all skill levels are welcome, and tours of the Weaving Center and shop are offered Monday through Friday, year-round.
Supporting organizations like Hartford Artisans Weaving Center is part of our mission to improve lives and transform communities through the arts. Your support for the Greater Hartford Arts council helps us make it possible.
– Elijah Brown, Marketing Assistant