Spring Sale Pop-Up

In early May, we braved the cold, Chicago weather to be a part of Heshima Kenya's Pop-Up Spring Sale. The wonderful ladies behind the organization did an amazing job coordinating this shopping event along with liftUPlift. Since Loom, HK and liftUPlift have similar missions to empower women, we were thrilled to be a part of the shopping event!

The ladies of Loom and Heshima Kenya

The ladies of Loom and Heshima Kenya

Heshima Kenya is a holistic organization working to protect refugee girls and young women in Nairobi, Kenya. Through their Girls' Empowerment Project, education and livelihood opportunities are provided in a unique classroom environment to serve participants of varying learning levels, cultures and languages.

The Maisha Collective is one way Heshima Kenya fosters self-sufficiency. Participants create and manage unique, hand-dyed scarves. Heshima Kenya is also working to develop a small grant initiative for members to create their own enterprises.

Scarves made by the Maisha Collective

Scarves made by the Maisha Collective

On Sunday,  the amazing women business entrepreneurs of liftUPlift stopped by the pop-up shop. LiftUPlift is a super cool organization founded in 2014 by Corielle Laaspere that functions as a global alliance to connect and create more opportunities for women owned businesses. LiftUPlift also serves as a marketplace for women owned businesses and as a nonprofit organization that empowers survivors with resources, tools and training to end violence against women.

Corille Laaspere of liftUPlift and a member of liftUPlift's Maker Alliance, Ana of  AVP Jewelry .  Photo courtesy of liftUPlift.

Corille Laaspere of liftUPlift and a member of liftUPlift's Maker Alliance, Ana of AVP JewelryPhoto courtesy of liftUPlift.

Loom artisans Hlaiwah, Saleema and Batool with Loom Coordinator Allie.

Loom artisans Hlaiwah, Saleema and Batool with Loom Coordinator Allie.

Thank you to everyone that came out to the shopping event and stay tuned for more coordinated efforts between Loom, Heshima Kenya and liftUPlift to help empower women both here and abroad. 

How We Do Indigo

Our last two workshops focused on crafting more indigo scarves and tote bags. Did you know indigo is a natural dye and has been used for thousands of years in many cultures? We use marbles and wood blocks to create unique patterns on silk scarves. We're so excited to share not only the process of how our products are made, but also the artisans techniques and thoughtfulness that is present in each piece they create. Huge thanks to the incredibly talented Jaclyn Simpson for her photography and hard work! It's been wonderful to work beside you and capture these special moments at our workshops.

Left to right: Batool, Saleemah and Hlaiwah sharing laughs in preparation for the indigo dye workshop.

After setting up the room to avoid a mess and have all of our supplies organized we are ready to get started! Before we get into creating patterns, we take our 100% white silk scarves and make sure they are pre-washed, thoroughly. 

Next, we get creative with patterns! During the process the artisans always like to step out of their comfort zone and try everything and anything. Using materials such as: marbles, wood blocks, stones, rubber bands etc. The list goes on!

Once the scarves are all bundled up, they're ready to be dyed. Using several large pots/buckets full of water and indigo dye mixture, stirring in a circular motion. Once the dye has a neon yellow-ish color we are ready to begin! 

Each fabric dyed can go through a different process. Some can be fully submerged for several minutes to get that rich indigo color and others can be dyed halfway giving the scarf a beautiful ombre look.

Above: Loom instructor, Hana (also owner/artist of VEZ) is a wonderful guide for our artisans during our workshops. She brings her personal knowledge of working with indigo dye, while helping each artisan learn the process of working with the materials properly. 

Finally, after the silk scarves have been through the indigo dye process they are ready to be unraveled and hung to dry! We always get so excited to see how the patterns turn out in the end and find ourselves in awe of how each piece is so unique. 

Batool showing off the stunning results!

Thanks for reading and let us know what you think in the comment section below! 

Loom has a Loom!

This week the artisans have been easing into autumn with some exciting projects ahead! We had the lovely Monika Neuland from The Social Fiber Project (read more by clicking the link!) instruct a class on how to spin wool and use a floor loom! 

Ganga weaving away!

The artisans had such a wonderful time sharing stories about their personal experiences with spinning wool and weaving growing up. They shared personal stories about their grandmothers as well as men and women in their families spinning sheep's wool. Later turning them into pillows and blankets to have in their home. 

It was such a treat to have Monika's wonderful energy at Loom and we are looking forward to collaborating in the future. *Huge thanks to Monika and Social Fiber for helping us get this beautiful floor loom!* 

More to come soon!

Monika and Dil T.

LOOM at EdgeFest!

We are excited to share that we will be hosting ANOTHER sales event this weekend at EdgeFest. Come shop our many beautiful hand-made summer items! 

Note the information below for details >> we can't wait to see you all there!

Saturday August 1st 12pm-10pm
Sunday August 2nd 12pm-9pm

Broadway, between Thorndale (off the Thorndale red line stop) and Ardmore. *Booth 309*

Come shop with us this Sunday!

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 1.43.21 PM.png

We are so excited to announce that we will be hosting an event this Sunday at the Berry United Methodist Church (details on flyer). Come out and shop our beautiful summer items and a chance to enter in a raffle to win one of our products!! 

Can't wait to see you all there!

**Thank you Catholic Charities for helping us make this happen!**

Klezar's Wedding Designs

We are so excited to share artisan, Klezar's work on customizing Sarah's wedding dress! HUGE Congratulations to the newly weds - we couldn't be happier for you! 

Loom interpreter, Aya helped Klezar and Sarah (who was previously with us at Loom) work together in coming up with this gorgeous and flawless design. Klezar has always had a knack for making thinks by hand. She also has a great eye for putting together her own patterns, designs, and colors at Loom. 

In Sarah's Instagram post she writes, "Meaningful times working with my mom and one of the talented Loom artisans @loomchicago to design my wedding dress - cardamom tea at each dress fitting and she tells me about the rest of her family, Christians in Iraq, who are currently displaced during the ISIS crisis."

We spoke with Klezar about the exciting process and she explained that she and Sarah collaborated on coming up with the perfect design to add to her dress. Within 24 straight hours (wow), Klezar put all of their ideas together in one finished product! 

Klezar gained a lot of her experience through sewing and working with textiles while living in Iraq and from her family. She also works with Jamie Hayes at Production Mode sewing bags, jackets, skirts, and other products, specifically working with leather. At Loom, Klezar loves to sew and make crochet earrings, so be sure to check out a few of her items available in our online shop!

We are constantly amazed that the artisans go above and beyond their projects and can't wait to share more stories like these in the future! 

Did someone say tea towels?

Yes! We are making more tea towels! We had such a great success with them at Dose Market which made the artisans so excited to make more. This week we sketched our patterns with the help from the lovely Loom instructor, Hana! Most of the artisans have been practicing the handcraft of embroidery throughout most of their lives -- it's wonderful to see them put so much love into each piece they create.

Besan has been working on a little q&a with the artisans that we plan on including in our new product cards. Our goal is to give the artisans a voice for each product they make. 

We have had such great progress these past few weeks at Loom and cannot wait to share more of what we have in store for you all. Be sure to follow along through our social media pages to stay in touch with what's happening this spring/summer.

Updates with Loom

This week has been a whirlwind! Sadly, we had to say goodbye to the lovely Kait. We are so proud of you and excited for your next adventure in Omaha. Loom won't be the same without you! We are so lucky to have had you a part of our team and we are also extremely grateful for all of your hard work. We will miss you, Kait! 

Along with our little goodbye party we had great progress with our leather & woven belts! (Collaborating with Chicago designers Jamie Hayes of Production Mode and Kimmy Compton of Gather Handwoven) The artisans have been working so hard at putting their heads together to finalize this product and we couldn't be more amazed by their ideas and efforts. 

Artisan Saleemah attaching leather to the woven piece of the belt

Let's Chat

What a great few weeks it has been for us at Loom! We had so much fun at Dose Market -- huge thanks to everyone that came by to shop with us. It was so wonderful to see some familiar faces and get to know the new ones! 

This week we had a Business Development Workshop led by the lovely Asheley! We spent the afternoon setting short, medium, and long term savings goals. Batool talked about how she wants to bring her children from Iraq, Ganga said that she wants to save money in order to send her children off to college! 

Every week is a treat for us because we get to spend time with the artisans, while watching them grow and develop Loom with their ideas and goals. Their passion and determination is what keeps us moving forward! 

Thank You

Big thanks to everyone that came out this weekend to Randolph Street Market. We really enjoyed meeting you and seeing some familiar faces! If you didn't get a chance to see us this weekend, be sure to check out our online shop.

Here are some photos we'd like to share from our weekend -- stay tune for future events!

Come see us at Randolph Street Market!

March 28 & 29 from 10am-5pm. Located at 1340 W Washington (Indoors at Plumbers Hall). We're looking forward to being a part of this exciting event and hope to see you there! Here's a sneak peek at what you can shop next weekend -- 

These are just a few of the goodies you'll find at Randolph. Be sure to stop by to shop our products and meet the wonderful Loom artisans! See you there!

Congrats Sarah! We'll miss you!

This week at Loom our team put together a goodbye party for Sarah. The beautiful bride-to-be is off to Greece to begin a new chapter in her life! Although we are so sad to see her leave Loom, we are excited for her future adventures! Artisans Klezar, Saleemah, and Batool brought henna in celebration for the future bride. We danced, snacked, laughed, and reminisced. 

Handmade gifts from our talented artisans!

Leather and Woven

This week our artisans have been hard at work on their latest project! We have been collaborating with designer Jamie Hayes of Production Mode and weaver Kimmy Compton of Gather Handwoven on creating woven & leather belts! We are so excited about our progression with this innovative design. Our team at Loom has put a unique twist on a simple accessory.  

Kimmy worked with our artisans on creating beautiful patterns for the woven section of the belt. Having many patterns to choose from our artisans Klezar, Saleemah, and Loom designer Maggie collaborated with Jamie on choosing different styles to include for the leather portion of our product! 

Don’t forget to follow the links to our instructors websites to find out more about the story behind the materials we are using!

Welcome to the Loom blog!

Our artisans have come together to produce beautiful handmade products and we want to share the process with you. In our workspace we spend time working on crafts such as knitting, crocheting, weaving, embroidery, etc. During these sessions we collaborate with local Chicago designers who help the artisans learn more about the craft that we’re working on. 

This week the Loom artisans had some fun with indigo dye! Our lovely instructor, Hana collaborated with us in making beautiful indigo dyed silk scarves, jewelry, rope, you name it! 

Our artisans have a way of making each item unique in their own way. For example, this week Ganga showed us that she can observe an indigo dye pattern on paper and easily recreate it on the silk scarves without hesitation. Dil had fun branching out and trying new techniques to get versatile shades and patterns of indigo using marbles, stones, and other folding techniques! We also took some of our crocheted earrings beautifully made by artisan Klezar and dressed them up with some indigo dye! We always enjoy our weekly workshops because  it’s a great time to experiment and come up with new ideas for our products. 

Ganga unraveling her beautiful hand-dyed indigo silk scarf! 

Dil shows us her lovely work with a smile!

We’re very excited to continue sharing what goes on in the Loom workplace! As always, a big thank you to Catholic Charities for helping us make this happen!