Soul Center Fiber Arts Studio Receives Generous Donation

Opportunity Knocks

Carolyn Sklarchyk has been weaving for over thirty-five years. Her son, Sam, age 24, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Since then, her family has been continuously involved with the Friendship Circle. When she learned they were planning to open an art studio alongside a kosher cafe, now the Farber Soul Center, she approached Bassie Shemtov, Co-President of the organization, about teaching weaving to the participants in the art studio. Her son Sam, who began in the painting area of the studio, now works in the cafe.

“Exploration is important.”

Brother Sewing Machine

The majority of Sklarchyk’s students come in with no prior experience in the fiber arts. She gets them right into it, teaching them about different types and colors of yarn, types of looms, and different things they might be able to create. Then she puts them at the loom and has them dive in headfirst. “It’s a lot of experimenting and guidance,” says Sklarchyk.

She works with up to thirty students at a time, fifteen to twenty on an average day, each assisted by a volunteer. All her students are over the age of eighteen, ranging up to adults in their late forties. There is an equal mix of male and female participants in the studio. “It’s a blast,” Sklarchyk told us.

Great for Everybody

Brother Donates Sewing Machines

Sklarchyk had mentioned to Shemtov that there was a need for sewing machines in the fiber arts studio. Many participants were interested in sewing, and it would make creating items, such as purses and pillows, much easier. Shemtov approached Brother International Corporation, a leading manufacturer of home sewing and embroidery machines, and got them to donate six machines, including a embroidery machine and an edging machine. “They donated magnificent equipment. The artists have been using everything,” Sklarchyk gushes about the donation.

Carolyn’s daughter Emma (Morris), 21, helped to set up the machines and assisted a few artists with their first projects. One artist, Dovid, was thrilled to embroider text on his tallis bag.

Sklarchyk reflected on how the artists have gained new skills on the new equipment.  “They’re learning faster than me and they started using it the morning after it was donated!”

When asked about how the Soul Center has benefitted individuals with special needs, she had this to say, “In the creative world, we are all equal. We all have the ability to create. When they sew or weave, their (the students) self-esteem grows. It has been great for everybody.”

For media inquiries, please contact Melanie Barnett at [email protected].
4 Ways We Made a Difference in 2020

4 Ways We Made a Difference in 2020

Friendship Circle is dedicated to going above and beyond to fulfill the needs of the community, especially in…

Dakota Bread Company

Share Your Feedback: Dakota Bread Company Survey

We recently purchased Dakota Bread Company to further our mission of creating employment opportunities for adults with special…

Friendship Circle camp is in session with extra safety precautions

(WXYZ) — You’ve likely seen the name Friendship Circle. And have seen the purple and white logo. Well,…

Top Moms Night Out Events

Top Moms Night Out Events Sarah Schectman, the Family Programs Director at Friendship Circle, has been working with…

oak park teen cooking

Friendship Circle Launches Creative Movement and Cooking Programs in Oak Park

Kids need the ability to express themselves and get moving, and that’s what Friendship Circle’s expanding programs were…

Vote for Friendship Circle as your Favorite Non-profit

Deadline Detroit and The Sam Bernstein Law Firm have come together to recognize some of Metro Detroit’s best…