WHAT IS PRAXIS?
The idea for Praxis came to fruition when the Cleveland Institute of Art announced that they would be downsizing the fiber department and merging it with the existing sculpture and video departments. We proposed to take the existing fiber equipment (17 floor looms and assorted dyeing supplies) and to open a non profit fiber art center available to the CIA community and the greater Cleveland community in the revitalized arts district of Collinwood in east Cleveland. We will continue to run CIA classes in fiber there, as well as community based classes. In addition, Praxis will offer studio space for local fiber artists and a gallery to promote the field of contemporary fiber art.
WHAT IS FIBER?
At Praxis we will be working with mostly natural fiber, which is derived from either cellulose (cotton, flax, hemp, etc.) or protein (wool or silk) and as a single strand, it is flexible and can be folded or twisted upon itself to create a plane or larger surface. These natural materials are extremely susceptible to coloring or dyeing. Using a recipe, in a kitchen or dye lab, one can achieve incredibly vibrant and varying results.
Dye labs are also essential to the historic process of weaving as well as fabric surface design. Weaving and dyeing have functional purposes such as clothing and home accessories but can also be used for inventive, experimental, visual art. The communal aspect of the workshop will encourage collaboration and experimentation. Praxis will teach classes in weaving on floor looms (as well as some techniques that do not require the looms for shorter workshops) and classes on fabric surface design. A loom is an apparatus used to form fiber into cloth. The complex weaving together of different fibers create patterns and color combinations completely unique to this process.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Without Praxis, this incredible equipment, which has taught artists for decades, would be stored or given away bit by bit. Without the studio space that Praxis will provide, this type of art making is less accessible to a community that has always supported fiber art and to the generation of emerging artists who show a resurgence of passion for this field.
Arts education is an extremely important aspect of community, vibrancy, creativity and diversity in any city. Cleveland has wholly welcomed and supported other arts nonprofits, such as Zygote Press for printmaking, the Morgan Conservatory for paper making and the Cleveland Print Room for photography. Praxis will add to the diversity and accessibility of these establishments, helping to make Cleveland an artistic destination within the United States and the entire world.
Members of the Board
- Alenka Banco
- Tina Cassara
- Hilary Spittle
- Dru Thompson