Update: Urban Threads Studio

Remember when I told you about this free sewing event in Chicago? Since then I’ve attended a couple of Urban Threads Studio’s events and met their founders, Ilona and Michelle. I actually just got back from meeting with Michelle and my head is swirling with all of the different ideas we talked about. So, let me tell you a little bit more about the different ways I’ve gotten involved and some of the exciting workshops coming up.

As I mentioned in my original post, Urban Threads Studio (UTS) is located in the Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago, Illinois. Their tagline is “textile arts for all” and, from what I’ve experienced so far, they are doing a great job of making this mission a reality.

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My first experience at the studio was helping with the Mending Café, which is the first Wednesday of the month from 6:30-9:30 pm (the next one is tomorrow night). I was there to help other attendees learn to mend their clothing. I spent most of the time helping an older gentleman patch up a pair of jeans for his wife. It was great! He was a natural at operating the sewing machine, but he needed a little help threading it and deciding how he was going to fix the threadbare areas of this favorite pair of pants. I think this event is so unique and am looking forward to helping each month because I am sure it will be different each time.

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The next time I was at UTS was during the Art Center’s open galleries evening, which is the third Friday of the month. During this time, UTS hosts TGIT or “The Greatness in Textiles”, which is a chance to mingle, have a glass of wine and learn a new textile art. My friends joined me for this event and we were able to complete three small projects: a Japanese shibori dyed sample, a gift pouch that looks like a flower, and a wet felted sample. We were also able to see some of the other studios’ galleries while we were there. (All of the photos are from this night.)

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UTS operates as a non-profit and the workshops, youth camps and other events they offer are really there to teach a valuable skill and art form. They have a community outreach plan that brings textile arts into schools and after school programs. This is where I really see them living out their mission to “teach creative problem solving through textile art in a nurturing and community building environment.” I am really excited about supporting this mission, which is what Michelle, the Artistic Director and one of the founders, and I spoke about during our meeting today. My involvement is evolving, so I don’t want to give away any details too soon, but I am just thrilled about all the possibilities we discussed.

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If you get a chance, please check out UTS. Maybe there’s a workshop you’ll love or something else you can do to get involved with this new and exciting collaborative. Finally, if you are in the Chicago area and there’s a class you’d love to see on the schedule in the future, don’t be afraid to leave a comment. I’ll be sure to pass on your ideas because I know they are trying to build and grow based on the interests and desires of the community.

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