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A New Vision: Teaching Weaving to the Blind for Art on the Streets 2019

Jeanette, bottom left

The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center teaches weaving to the blind and visually-impaired. We spoke with Katie Glass Executive Director to find out more about the center’s annual group project. Read on:

Can you tell us what The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center has been working on recently?

Every year, we ask our Artisans to participate in a Center-wide project where all of our Artisans work together on one theme. The theme of “Not Your Grandmother’s Weaving,” takes traditional weave structures and makes them new by using color and tweaks in pattern to make bright, bold and interesting new pieces.

What is The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center’s dream project?

I think Not Your Grandmother’s Weaving is a dream project for the Center.  It’s allowed us to have 100% Artisan participation. It has a fun theme that allows people to experience traditional weaving and be bold in choosing different colors and materials which allows each Artisan to flex their creative muscles!

What memorable response have you gotten from your work?

The reaction we get from the Artisans when they know they’re participating in the group project is special. On Monday, we had a Center-wide critique, where we talked about everyone’s finished pieces.  Many, ooh’s and aah’s were heard, from everyone in attendance. We had scarves, bags, towels and wall hangings. Jeannette, a blind Artisan, saw her piece for the first time and said, “Oh, I did that!”

What are you most excited about for this year’s Arts on the Streets?

 As the Executive Director, I’m excited to have been a part of the planning process for Arts on the Streets this year. Last year before I started at the Center, I went  to Art on the Street as  a fact-finding mission/orientation for my new role. This year, it will be a lot of fun to see what’s made after everyone “on the street” participates!

Who are 3 Hartford Artists we should be following?

Three great organizations I’ve been working with lately are: Arts Center East, The New Britain Industrial Museum, who will be holding a fiber display with us next year, and Hartbeat Ensemble!

How do you think the Arts supports health and wellness within the community?

I think it’s important for our community to have an artistic and creative outlet because they’re usually overlooked in their ability to be productive members of society. Plus, weaving and being a part of our program has health benefits of its own. Recent medical studies have shown that social isolation is a physical and mental health risk for aging populations and adults with disabilities. Being able to combine artistic skills and social interaction into our weaving program is a huge benefit to the Artisans in our community. 

 

Join us and The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center, Thursday, May 30th at State House Sq. Find out about other local artists and musicians participating in Art on the Streets 2019 here.

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