Tag Archives: Art

Sewing and Embroidery Powered by Brother International

Sewing with Brother

Sewing and Embroidery powered by Brother International

Thank you for your donation Brother International!

Donation by Brother

Brother International generously donated 4 Project Runway Limited Edition Computerized Sewing Machines, a 1034D Serger (edger) and an Persona PRS100 embroidery machine to the Dresner Foundation Soul Studio last summer. Several artists have learned sewing skills on the donated machines and have produced purses, scarfs, pillows, mug rugs, bracelets and more. The finished products are then displayed in the gallery and sold to the community. Thank you Brother International; your donation has made it possible for several artists to learn new skills and to push themselves to create more art with those skills.

Artists at work

There is a gentle murmur of excited people around 10am in the Dresner Foundation Soul Studio. The artists are all exiting the regular morning meeting and are headed to their places in the studio to get started with their work. The art program is in the second week of a new schedule, where artists are immersed in a medium for an entire month to get a more thorough experience.

Artists Devorah Newman and Adam Egrin are assigned to sewing projects and their volunteers, Ginger Pringle and Bonnie Laker, are assisting the artists with getting the machines ready to go. Bonnie is threading one of the Brother sewing machines with black thread for Adam’s project and Ginger is applying a line of blue tape near the needle on Devorah’s assigned machine. As she waits to get started Devorah discusses her project and her first time sewing. “I am making a light violet pillow because I had too much room left on the baby blanket I made.” Devorah explains, “I haven’t sewn before and I’m enjoying it. I find it challenging to keep things lined up sometimes, but that’s why she [Ginger] is putting tape on my machine.”

Devorah Newman and Ginger Pringle applying tape to sewing machine

Devorah Newman watches as Ginger Pringle places a piece of tape as a line guide onto her sewing machine.

Creating new pieces from old projects

The Fiber Arts studio has several looms for weaving and both Adam and Devorah are using their time on the sewing machines to create new pieces out of weaved projects.

Adam and a sample bracelet

Adam Egrin holds up an example of the bracelets that he is working on.

“I’m working on bracelets that are made on memory wire. It was my first time weaving and I made a seven inch scarf that I will be cutting into bracelets. The studio wanted to sell bracelets in the gallery and I was like, ‘hey, I like it and I’ll do those.’” Adam explains. “I chose to make each one have a different design and some of the designs I had multiple threads in one, to make one thread. I made sure to have sparkle thread in each section of the scarf so every bracelet will have some sparkle.” He says excitedly.

Bonnie Laker sewing on Brother machine

Studio volunteer Bonnie Laker demonstrates a two handed sewing technique

Bonnie has finished threading Adam’s machine and she has started sewing a few stitches on the thick scarf. She speaks to Adam to explain what she is doing, “So, the only thing I’m going to tell you about these is that they are very thick.”
“So go slow.” Adam finishes.
“Well, do you see how my fingers are? See how I’m pushing? You need to push the material so that it’s not getting stuck under the needle.” Bonnie demonstrates the pushing motion on the scarf.
“Oh, I see.” He replies and he takes his place on his machine.

Learning the basics

Devorah is also sitting in her place behind her sewing machine and ready to get started by stitching a ribbon into the edge of the blanket. She has lined up her work along the blue tape that Ginger placed there. As Devorah starts sewing, Ginger talks about her experience with donated sewing machines. “I have been sewing since I was ten years old, but I have never sewn on Brother machines before. So far, I really like them. I have a different kind of machine at home, but I have enjoyed these.” She watches Devorah’s progress and stops talking to help her artist, “We need to straighten this up just a little bit.” She explains patiently to Devorah, who stops the machine and straightens her material before starting up again.

Devorah Newman sewing with tape guide

Devorah Newman sewing to complete a baby blanket with matching pillow set.

“They are easy to operate and threading the machine, you have to be careful with that. You need to be sure that you don’t skip any steps. We want the artist to have a satisfying experience and if the machine is threaded incorrectly then they are going to have trouble.” Ginger says. “Brother makes it easy.”

Adam has been listening while he works and adds, “That’s something really nice about these machines, they have three speeds. So, when you are just learning, it’s great because you won’t have the machine run away with you. I like the buttons and display on the side here that explain the different stitching options. It shows each stitch and how you can use it. I can understand it and it makes sense.”

Adam likes the stitching options

Adam Egrin sewing stitches on a scarf to create bracelets.

Bonnie, Adam’s volunteer for the day, chimes in with, “Also, the self threader, I love the self-threader! When the artists are brand new to sewing, that’s a nice feature.”

Strides in stitches

“I’ve definitely noticed an improvement from the artists since they first got started. Devorah has picked up very quickly on this. We use a guide here and it makes it so much easier and she’s able to keep it right on the guide and now I’m not having to help her at all, which is great! Adam had never sewn before last week and he’s doing great too!” Ginger explains.

Adam adds, “Having these machines gives us more versatility because some of the things you can’t do by hand, well you could, but it would take a long time. It also makes stitches that are much stronger than you could do by hand.”

Photo of weaving project in need of rescue

Bonnie shows an example of a weaving project in need of rescue

Bonnie shows off an infinity scarf that she helped to rescue from the discard pile. “This was a first attempt on the loom for one of the other artists. There were a lot of strings and it was very uneven, but thanks to the sewing machines, it now looks like this.”

The rescued infinity scarf

The finished infinity scarf

“That’s a really good thing about having the machines right here.  We are able to take a piece of weaving that you might look at and say, ‘Ok, what are we going to do with this?’ Then we can run it through the machine and turn it into that. Now we can sell it and the artist will make a commission off of her work. So that’s really really neat.” Ginger finishes.

The Dresner Foundation Soul Studio & Gallery are open weekdays from 11am-3pm stop in to see the artists at work and visit the gallery to see their latest works and merchandise.

Creating in Art at Farber

The silence in the Farber Center tonight is almost eerie; the building is usually roaring with life, but on this Monday night, the Soul Cafe’ is closed and the resident Soul Studio artists had already gone home.  

The artists creating art tonight are concentrating very hard on their work. It is the last day of the Art at Farber winter session and the artists are busy finishing up their projects.  Around the room there are large triangular roll around displays, each displaying art from a different artist in the program.

Hailey Reinke next to her Wall of Art

Hailey Reinke next to her Wall of Art

Meeting the artists

Program participant and artist, Hailey Reinke, is a bold and seemingly uninhibited young lady.  She wears two beautiful shoulder length french braids in her hair and a blue and gray t shirt.  When she talks about her time in the Art at Farber program there is a smile on her face.  Hailey describes her project called All About Hailey as a paper collage that features sketches and drawings of her and her thirteen year old cousin. She also explains that she used painting markers for some of her art pieces.  After the winter session, Hailey plans to return for the spring session of Art at Farber.

Hailey, Elizabeth and Alexa working on their art projects

Hailey Reinke, Elizabeth Brinkerhoff and Alexa Morris working on their art projects

Making it work

Hailey is working at a table with two other young ladies. Alexa Morris is drawing a large sketch with colored pencils as she uses a photograph as a reference for her work.  Elizabeth Brinkerhoff shows off her wall of art proudly as she explains what the images and painting are all about. “I like spooky things.” She says.

There was a handful of printed pictures of dark and spooky images, like spider webs and silhouetted trees, with an almost-completed painting on canvas of Dracula in the center of the prints. When she is asked about the printed images she replies, “Oh they were supposed to go into the background of my painting. All of this stuff was originally supposed to be part of the portrait, but I did it differently.”

She talks about how her original idea did not work out and that Brian Kavanaugh, the Gallery Director for the Soul Studio, helped her with another idea. He had set up her canvas and a projector to project an image onto the canvas so Brinkerhoff could transfer her vision to the painting, “I liked tracing it with the projector for the background and then putting it all together.”

Adam working in studio

Adam Reinke and Jaime Whitener in the Soul Studio

Assisting with the artist’s vision

Helping the artists create their vision is one of the reasons why Jamie Whitener volunteers here.  “I’ve been doing this for about 4 weeks now and I love it! Especially this new facility, it’s perfect for me because I love art. I love helping people with art and being able to volunteer here, it’s really awesome.” He explains.

When asked about the program and how it all works he replied, “It’s like, ‘what do you want to make?’ and usually they know exactly what they want to do for that day and they do it. We just go with the flow. They get paints out if they want to paint; get pencils out if they want to do pencils.” He says. “Sometimes, like when we made the paper mache, [all of the artists participate in that project] because that is something that is harder to do. Harder to set up, but it’s really chill.”

Adam and Jamie in studio

Adam Reinke and Jamie Whitener pose together in the studio

Artistic Voices

This evening Jamie is assisting Adam Reinke, Hailey’s twin brother and fellow artist in this program.  “He enjoys looking at books and drawing the pictures he likes, but with his own take on it. Like, this whole wall here, is his stuff and you can see it’s Disney Characters, but they are really colorful and kind of stylized.” Jamie said when asked about Adam’s work.

“I am all done with Mickey Mouse.” Adam tells Jaimie.

“It looks good.” Jamie replies.

Adam says that he enjoys painting because he likes to make pictures of movie characters. “Yeah he’s really good at those.” Jaime chimes in.

Adam asks Jamie for another piece of paper so he can draw another picture and as Jamie gets a sheet for him, it becomes clear that the kids in the room are not just participants in a program, but artists. They each created a wall of art in their time in the program and they are proud of their work. They are encouraged to use their own artistic style and to experiment with different mediums to find their artistic voice. This group of young people can sometimes struggle to communicate, but this evening they show a lot of expression and emotion in their art.

The Spring session of Art at Farber is starting up soon! If you are interested to learning more about this program or the other’s that we offer, you can read about them at www.friendshipcircle.org/programs.

Friendship Circle Opening Cafe and Art Studio for Vocational Opportunities

Since 1994 Friendship Circle has been dedicated to providing exciting new programs to children with special needs and their families. However, those amazing children that joined us in 1994 are now amazing young adults. In order to continue to give them the encouragement and support that they need, we need to continue to adapt and advance our programming.

A New Adventure: The Farber Soul Center

Soul Center RenderingAfter acquiring a portion of a shopping center located at Drake Rd., just south of Walnut Lake Rd in West Bloomfield, Friendship Circle will soon begin to construct and operate a Cafe and Art Studio.  The Farber Soul Center, as it will be named, from a generous $2.1 million donation from the William and Audrey Farber Family Foundation, will be a facility where Friendship Circle will extend programming into the lives of adults with special needs through culinary, digital and traditional arts, thus getting the much needed on-the-job training.  We are continuing to raise an additional half million dollars which is necessary to proceed.

About the Soul Cafe

lighter-look4Soul Cafe will be a gathering place, with a state of the art kosher restaurant.  The unique menu will be unparalleled in the area and most importantly will be created and served by their staff of both, typically-able, and those who have special needs, as they work together as a team.  These young adults with special needs will receive on the job training in kitchen and serving skills. The café also gives the existing Lessons for Life program, currently utilized by over 200 schools around the metro Detroit area, the opportunity to expand their lessons for students with special needs into dining etiquette, utilizing the café’s real-world setting.

About the Soul Studio

inside1Soul Studio will be a professional art studio that encourages these adults with special needs to find their passion and explore the many different artistic media that will be available to them. Friendship Circle will submit the artists’ work to be shown in galleries, entered in contests and sold to commercial and residential customers.

Cutting edge digital technologies such as photography, video, 3-D printing and animation will be available to help them express themselves.  These artists, with the help of state of the art computers, will have the opportunity to sell tangible productions of their digital designs. Of course, no art studio would be complete without artists being able to learn and create paintings, ceramic, weaving, jewelry, printmaking and folk art.

inside2Art Gallery

Also located inside the Farber Soul Center will be the Soul Gallery, which will proudly exhibit the works of the artist.  The gallery will be open daily to the public for viewing and purchasing.

A Message from the Farber Family

Nanci Farber, daughter in law, said, “The Friendship Circle is an entity which is unparalleled in our community.   It is with great joy and a deep warmth and appreciation to The Friendship Circle that the Farber family decided to facilitate the creation and running of the Farber Soul Center.  We however, are only a piece. It takes so many to build such an incredible space. We are indebted to everyone involved and truly grateful to be able to be a part of this amazing journey. The added bonus of this new facility is that it allows Friendship Circle another benefit to their families with children who have special needs that currently are enrolled in their existing programming.  In the evenings, once the Farber Soul Center closes, these children with special needs and their teen volunteers will be able to delve into the arts and find their passions.”