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In the Studio This Week

Posted by Christine Eckstein on

We are always asked how we make our items and what the process looks like. Even the occasional "do the participants really make these?" With that in mind we'll occasionally highlight a few different projects that we are
working on and talk about how we accomplish them.  
adult with disability weaving yarn
This week we started work on a new loom for our spring line. The fabric being woven will be used to make the bottom portion of our Persephone bag. When the warp is finished being woven, it will give our colorful bag a gorgeous linen colored bottom. In the pictures below you can see Ruth helping one of our staff to thread the loom. On the left our staff is making sure that the rods Ruth inserted have successfully gone through the cross. This aspect can be a little bit difficult to do correctly, but most of our weavers can do it without any help. Our goal is to let our workers be as independent as possible. This means our preferred method of working is to let them work without us and after a bit we come around to double check that everything's right and ready to go! On the right, Ruth has begun threading the loom. This requires that each strand of yarn goes through the heddels in the correct order and pattern. This is one of the most technically difficult aspects, so we are are often working side by side to help them follow the patterns. In a few weeks this loom will be finished and we'll cut off the fabric to sew into our bags! 
Adult with Disabilities weaving Adult with Disabilities setting up loom
pattern for persephone bag
For our guys who like tasks with a little more instant gratification we work on projects like the Naja Scarf pictured below. We love working as a team, and often have multiple people working together to make one final project. Our printed scarves are an excellent example of this. One person can wash and iron them, the next can get the stamp ready, after that you need another person to apply pressure to the stamp. By working this way we get a chance to involve a larger variety of people in our production projects. On the left you can see Alexis painting the stamping dye onto the stamp. Then our staff lays it onto the scarf so that Hassan (on the right) can push down and set the ink. We're lucky to have several artistic staff members, so almost all of our stamps are handmade. We draw and cut them out ourselves which means that we can make them a size and shape that best suits they physical abilities of our workers. Most of our best selling silk scarves are printed in a method similar to this, so this type of project is available to our guys on a very regular basis. 
alexis applying paint to stamp for silk scarfhassan pressing down on stamp for silk scarf
Last but not least is a piece from our jewelry collection. Almost all of our workers participate in jewelry production in some fashion, it's one of their favorite jobs. For some people they just love all the beautiful colors and for others they enjoy following complex patterns. There are two main ways we go about setting up a jewelry project for our workers. Either we give them a physical example of the final product to look at and replicate, or we make a bead by bead pattern. A pattern is great for projects that have a complicated design whereas a physical example is useful when it's a line of beads on one long strand. Of course the method we use just depends on the person! Pictured below is our Cassia Necklace being made by Jade and Paul. This necklace is 54 inches long and has about 15 different beads in a predetermined pattern. Paul and Jade are wonderful at beading and in this instance they are able to look at an example of the necklace and follow order of beads. 
Jade beading cassia necklace, coletta collectionspaul beading cassia necklace
All of these products are part of our Spring Collection. This season we have lots of bright colors, beach party worthy jewelry and a few bags you'll want to carry all summer long. We'll start releasing our new line of products on April 1st so be sure to check in with us over the next few weeks to see what else we're working on! 

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