Since its founding, Hindman Settlement School has recognized the value of documenting, conserving, and presenting the art and craft traditions of eastern Kentucky. From offering weaving and sewing classes to Hindman Settlement School students, to hosting a weaving program with master artisans on staff, textiles have been a central part of this work. Although our weaving program has been inactive for some time now, we wanted to find a way to continue to honor the history of textile arts in the region, while at the same time embracing new forms of fiber design that are practiced today.
Our Common Threads after-school textile arts program launched in the spring of 2019, supported in part by a grant from South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization. Common Threads is a low- to no-cost after-school art program that offers instruction in crafts such as quilting, screen printing, fabric dying, weaving, knitting, and block printing. Recognizing the social and cultural value of textile arts, the program aims to expand opportunities for students to engage with the medium. We hire local artists to teach the classes, which rotate mediums every eight weeks. In Hindman, we’ve partnered with the Appalachian Artisan Center to offer classes to Knott County students. In Floyd County, we’ve partnered with Floyd County Extension to offer classes at two public high schools.
As the program develops, we aim to expand the program to offer weekend classes and workshops in the textile arts to both students and adults.