Textile art was an integral part of many mid century women’s lives. Women created woven textiles, created unique fabric designs, sewed items for themselves/their home/their family, etc.
My desire to combine sewing with storytelling has inspired me to partner with Spoonflower and Modern Phoenix for a dynamic event in March 2019. Together we launched the Desert Modernism Design Challenge, which encouraged people to be inspired by the designs of the past to create their own repeating pattern for fabric.
600 entries from around the world submitted their interpretation of midcentury modern design in the desert. The images to the right is one of the beautiful designs submitted.
The winning design (selected by a public vote and jury process) was utilized for the Sew Modern! workshop hosted during the 2019 Modern Phoenix Week. Participants of all ages sewing skill levels learned a brief history of women who designed mid century modern textiles (professionally/ recreationally) in addition to being empowered to create their own pillow on a sewing machine. With the decline in sewing as a profession in America, it is important to reflect on how this traditional skill can empower people of today and assist them to create for their present.
In addition to teaching a lesser told aspect of women’s history, the Sew Modern! workshop served as a proof of concept for an adaptation of a storefront into a maker’s space at the former Park Central Mall. Park Central Mall (1957) was Phoenix, Arizona’s first mall and was open until the mid-1990s. It is currently being redeveloped to be utilized as non-traditional office space, retail, community space, and more.
The Sew Modern! workshop even included a visit by Phoenix’s mayor Kate Gallego, who expressed her support in the preservation of the city’s mid century modern assets.
Workshop Partners: Modern Phoenix, Spoonflower, ArtLink, Garment League, Park Central Mall