The Textile Arts Center explores retail.
The Textile Arts Center’s Manhattan Studio and online shop recently underwent a (re)launch. On a continual journey to help preserve textiles and fiber hand-crafts, TAC serves as an exceptional resource for designers, artists, and now, curious shoppers who hope to explore their creative ideas. EcoSalon had the opportunity to chat with General Manager Owyn Ruck and hear about the recent happenings and what the future holds for this New York City gem.
What are the new and exciting things we can expect from the Textile Arts Center?
Retail was always the intention for the Manhattan space, we just took a little while to get there. Staying true to our mission, we wanted to have a space where people could find hard-to-find textile materials and equipment, and hand made goods, but also take workshops. Over the summer we’ll continue to add more items, especially materials and kits. To us it doesn’t feel too different, because it was constantly in the back of our minds, but we’re really excited to be offering class options that are project-based, and to have a clear retail platform that supports designers and makers that we work with.
What types of items will be available in the online shop?
Mostly work from local artists and designers. This was one thing we felt was missing from what we had to offer – we haven’t yet had a way to support designers and artisans who want to sell their goods. There are plenty of places out there (Etsy, Poppytalk) but it’s always nice to do it from your own point of view. For the most part we intend for this to be a way to help that community and create a “collective” feeling, selling work from interns, instructors, students, staff, etc. TAC kits this season include a convertible bike bag, summer quilt, spinning, felting, and solar dyeing. Some of the other materials being sold are handspun yarns, natural dyes, and weaving tools. And thanks to Carmen Artigas we have a lovely collection of vintage books, Vogue magazines, and beautiful fabrics and trims.
What classes are set for the summer? Any new options?
This summer we are starting to focus on the shorter and highly affordable workshops. We’re introducing Friday After Workshops, which are 3 hours every Friday. There will be 5 this summer, each $50, and they’ll focus on a different project – which are all pulled from the book we recently wrote The Textile Artists Studio Handbook (due out in mid-July). Otherwise, we’ll have some weekend intensives and 4-week classes on all the favorites – natural dyeing, leather working, weaving, etc.
What do you feel like this new transition into retail means for the future of the Textile Arts Center?
Oh, we’ll have to see! First, we hope that it sets the Manhattan shop apart from the Brooklyn studio. We want to be a place you know you can go for a very unique gift, to pick up the perfect yarn you needed for a handknit hat, or for a fun event on a Friday evening. While it means a new platform to explore for designers and makers, we also hope it takes our own product down a new path. We hope to continue adding new kits and providing fun, educational ways to explore textiles. We also have some very exciting things in the works around a new custom production facility for weaving, natural dyeing, and other processes. This facility would allow us to continue working with independent designers and design houses, but also develop product and materials under the TAC name. And then, we already have a place to sell it!
To watch for upcoming events and happenings this season at the Textile Arts Center, keep an eye on their Events Page.