Brooklyn’s Textile Arts Center

All those who sew, weave, dye, spin, print on fabric, bind books, create art with cloth and fibers, check out NYC’s Textile Arts Center.  Choose the antique townhouse in Manhattan just north of Washington Square or the loft space in Brooklyn; you can rent a studio space or book time to use their resources, and there are classes – especially great for children.

I make handspun yarn.  Like most spinners, I  ended up with way too much fleece and fibers.  Storage bags bursting at the seams, off I went to mordant and dye it all in Brooklyn TAC’s dye kitchen because, well, if you live in NYC you know the size of my kitchen.  It’s a charming journey from where I live in Bed Stuy:  hop on the G train, hop off at the Carroll Street station, stroll down charming streets, and across the Gowanus Canal:

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The Carroll Street Bridge, built in 1889
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The Gowanus Canal, formerly a Superfund site, with a view of downtown Brooklyn
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Classic brownstones
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Water tower
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Repurposed little vehicle

The dye kitchen is well equipped.  Pots of all sizes, colanders and strainers, jars and measuring cups, and a very large double sink.  The high ceiling and fans let me dye without odors, and splashing dye around isn’t stressful when it’s not your own kitchen.  There’s a large stainless steel tabletop to work on (not pictured) and they even provide mordants.

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It’s great to craft among other crafters because you can watch and learn.  Dyers share the sink with silkscreeners.  The center of the space is filled with large tables, sewing machines, and mannequins.  The front of the space, along the huge windows, is full of looms.  Sometimes there is a class in session, such as the time I watched people learning to dye with local plants.  And in NYC, where it seems most people have a living area the size of a sailboat, it’s a luxury to be able to simply spread out and create.

Another bonus: you can volunteer – just 4 hours a week gives you unlimited free use of the studio and its equipment.

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