The joy of fiber: Cuyahoga Arts & Culture grantees get creative in making paper, textiles

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This summer, many arts and culture organizations have been hosting workshops and camps to engage people in getting their hands and minds moving with creations.

Three arts organizations—Morgan Conservatory, Oh Sew Powerful, and Art House—are thinking outside of the cardboard box with projects around paper, fabric, and other materials. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) helped these organizations make their projects a reality.

FreshWater managing photographer Bob Perkoski stopped by all three organizations and documented what the campers were up to this summer in this photo essay.

Thanks to residents, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture helps fund a range of workshops and summer camps that connect people of all ages to the joy of making with fabric, paper—even upcycled materials and invasive plants,” says CAC executive director Jill Paulsen. “These types of summer programs offer adults and kids a chance to explore their creativity and make connections with their communities. It’s exciting to see what they create.”

Here's a look at what these three organizations were creating this summer.

With help from a 2023 CAC $36,634 general operating support grant, Morgan Conservatory founder Julie McLaughlin and papermaker emeritus Tom Balbo taught Western and Eastern papermaking techniques to create unique pulp paintings in Master Class: Mixed Techniques. The pair then hosted a hands-on, feet-in experience in making six-foot by eight-foot sheets of kozo paper in Master Class: BigAss Papermaking Returns.

Oh Sew Powerful’s Creating PEACE by Piece program used a $5,000 project support grant to teach11 free sewing lessons and instructions over five months this summer to multigenerational classes, culminating with a closing celebration. Participants created a variety of personal items and worked together on a group quilt that will be displayed in the community.

Art House used part of its $20,482 general operating support grant to get outside and enjoy the weather while helping the environment with its Conservation Celebration Summer Camp. Participants acted as creative environmental stewards by creating artwork they made from litter they picked up and invasive plants they uprooted. They combined their found materials with traditional art supplies as well to experiment with printmaking, fiber art, mixed-media collages, and more during a four-day session that combined art, nature, and fun.

Bob Perkoski
Bob Perkoski

About the Author: Bob Perkoski

In addition to his work for Fresh Water, Bob Perkoski is the official photographer for LAND studio and Cleveland Burlesque. He recently published a book of his photos Rust Belt Burlesque. He's had work published in other books like LGBTQ Cleveland by Ken Schneck, Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland AnthologyRust Belt Chic: The Pittsburgh Anthology and Moon Cleveland by Douglas Trattner. Previously he was co-founder/art director for Balanced Living Magazine. His substantial portfolio includes news coverage, portraiture, commercial imagery and fine art. Perkoski's first solo show, These Walks of Life premiered in December 2016 in Negative Space Gallery. Visit Perkoski Photography for complete profile information.
Originally from Conneaut, Ohio, Perkoski now lives close to the city in Parma. He has been Fresh Water's managing photographer since the publication's September 2010 inception.