We are so happy to see such a growing interest in this program, and we would not be able to do it without the support of our wonderful customers. Thanks to you all, we can continue to grow this program. In this cycle, we have the opportunity to support four phenomenal artists whose work embodies community and center craft making. Explore each artist's project and learn more about what they will be working on.
Ọmọlará Williams McCallister ( pronouns: ọ, love, beloved) was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Ọ currently calls Baltimore, MD home. Ọ’s work is a call/response blend of sculpture, performance, installation, ritual, space holding, community building, surface design, adornment, word, sound, song, movement, moving images and photography. Ọmọlará uses a combination of traditional and nontraditional materials in beloved’s work. Many pieces are made from scraps, hand-me-downs, found and foraged materials from love’s studio, home and local landscapes. The resulting material language blends seemingly disparate cultural spaces providing a cohesive portrait of the many different worlds that Ọmọlará inhabits and moves through. Ọmọlará co-founded the Baltimore Community Weaving Studio along with Najee Haynes-Follins in May 2021.
Ọmọlará has show work at The Momentary, McColl Center, Baltimore Museum of Art, Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art, Baltimore City Hall, Target Gallery, in the gathering spaces of Baltimore and DC, and more. Ọmọlará’s work has been supported by grants from Foundation for Contemporary Arts, S & R Everymay Foundation, Ddora Foundation, DC Commission for Arts and Humanities, Maryland State Arts Council and more. Ọ has received fellowships to attend residencies at Mass MOCA, McColl Center, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Hambidge Center, and more. Love’s work is made possible by the generosity and commitment of beloved’s care team.Thank you.
thank God I don look like what i been through, hand me down yarn, 2023
Cut from the same cloth, cottolin, saftey pins, tacks, 2022
Weave Where You Are: Weaving Wagon Summer Program
The Weaving Wagon is a physical wagon that is adorned to be highly visible and audible as it is rolled through neighborhoods. We fill the wagon with portable weaving tools (cards/ tablets and little looms), yarn, and pre-set community weaving projects. We then walk it to public spaces, park it, and plop down to weave for a couple of hours, during which anyone who wants to weave is welcomed to join us. The Weaving Wagon serves as a way for us to get the word out about the Baltimore Community Weaving Studio and give people a taste of what they can expect to learn and do with us there.
Richie Wilde Lopez is a Queer Puerto Rican textile artist focusing primarily in weaving and hand embroidery. He is the creator of Duende, a textile art studio specializing in handcrafted goods made by needle and loom based in Philadelphia where he now lives and works. He is inspired by the ethos of Caribbean culture and its rich heritage in hand crafts. In an effort to connect with the ancestral past and draw connections to the present and beyond, Lopez attempts to reimagine what textiles would look like without imperialistic influence, which at its core is impossible yet limitless. A mix of patterns, abstractions, and natural fibers are used to establish a version of Taino-Futurism in the realm of textiles. He believes our artisanal practices need to be nurtured and our stories told in order to grow where we have landed. Through collaborations and community youth-focused work he hopes to recognize a shared past which is an endless source of inspiration and inspire youth to build upon these traditions.
Over the course of three months during the Summer Richie Wilde Lopez will be collaborating with the Latinx youth focused non-profit The Norris Square Neighborhood Projectin Philadelphia. Alongside the youth who attend this organization’s after school program they will be creating a large scale public art piece to be mounted in one of the six public gardens run by the organization. Considering the question of “What does public art mean to you?” The youth will help design and develop the piece through weaving, and dying workshops guided by Lopez in order to make their vision come to life. Once completed they will celebrate this achievement with a gallery style reception and opening night to unveil the woven art installation.
Steward . Cultivator . Shepherdess at High Hog Farm
Originally from upstate NY, Keisha Cameron began farming with her husband and three children on their family farm outside of Atlanta, GA in 2009. A returning generation farmer and cultural seedkeeper, Keisha finds herself leaning into Black agrarian heritage and legacies, incorporating agroecological land and foodways into her evolving relationship with the farm and its ecosystems.
An active community supporter, social justice and human rights advocate, Keisha has given her time as a community volunteer and organizer. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion for agrarian arts with friends, neighbors, local organizations and schools.
Today, Keisha continues to work alongside her husband, tending their flock of heritage breed sheep, growing food, fibers, and plant-based dyes while also offering programs, workshops, and fiber circles designed to address the various forms of healing and connection that are needed within and beyond our food system. Keisha’s approach regularly infuses exploration through fun and play into the experiences she designs, empowering others and facilitating opportunities to become agents of change.
We envision this as a collective "quilt" of sorts, wherein through the process we learn how to dress the loom and weave our individual sections into a final tapestry/hanging piece. We have already begun to identify some potential teachers through the local guilds and other groups to help us learn together and accomplish this goal. This residency will help us not only through financial support but will also help us organize, manage, and document the process in a timely manner.
After the first two years, our BSFC gatherings led to the inception of High Hog Farm's Fiber Intensive, beginning in 2021. With 3 primary tracks: protein, cellulose, and living color; we have endeavored to invite a small collective of artists and enthusiast (currently a dozen members) to the farm to learn how to grow and process our own yarns, dyes, and finished projects. Through the support from Gist Yarn, we will be able to progress toward a finished, woven textile, a project that we have been dreaming about but have yet to accomplish. At present, we are sharing my personal set of tools and equipment, which limits how quickly we can create. Through this program, we would be able to invest in the necessary tools and skill-building required to complete this next phase of our journey.
The finished project will be a combined textile of all 12 individual artists, using our own farm-raised, hand-spun and dyed yarns.
Elizabeth Pellerito lives in Lowell, MA and is the Director of the Labor Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, which is part of a statewide initiative that provides education to working people across the Commonwealth about their rights at work. Elizabeth first learned to weave in her home state of Michigan, but credits the apprentice rating program in the Weavers Guild of Boston and a weeklong class at Harrisville for helping her take her craft to the next level. She looks forward to continuing to develop her technique as she works on her journeyman rating. She lives with her three elderly cats in a former textile mill and thinks of the generations of mill workers fighting for their rights - as well as the enslaved people whose labor supported the early textile industry in Lowell - every time she sits down at her loom. She is also the Co-President of the Bread and Roses Heritage Committee, which hosts a festival in Lawrence, MA honoring the Bread and Roses strike in which thousands of workers, largely young, immigrant women, shut down an entire industry to fight for justice at work.
This project brings together weaving and textiles, worker justice, and storytelling. Phase One will include a series of mobile weaving workshops in and around Lowell, Massachusetts, the first home of the textile industry in the United States. During these workshops, participants will: a) learn basic plain weave and practice on a rigid heddle loom using their own recycled textiles to create a piece for themselves and a piece for a larger installation; b) learn about the economic, racial, and environmental impacts of the textile industry and “fast fashion,” rooted in Lowell’s history as a city of immigrant mill workers but tied to present-day globalization, with exploration of workers’ struggle for justice in each era; and c) share their own stories about textiles. During the workshops, participants will generate messages to workers, messages to corporations, and messages to politicians, and learn about next steps they can take to demand justice. During the workshop, participants will create two pieces – one they can take home with them, and one they will contribute to the final installation. The final product will be made up of the individual pieces created by workshop participants along with additional pieces created by me, which will also incorporate used textiles but will be woven on a 4- or 8-shaft loom, probably in varying overshot patterns, to add visual interest and cohesion to the final piece. These pieces will be sewn together to create 3 foot by 5 foot panels. On the walls surrounding the panels will be a narrative about the workshop, photographs of worker activism in the textile industry, and quotes from individuals’ narratives as well as ways to get involved in advocacy for worker and environmental justice.