Krista Green joined us recently as a volunteer, enthusiastically providing invaluable guidance in grant-writing, brainstorming, event planning, and connecting us with the greater circle of arts organizations in Baltimore.
How did you find out about Mother Made? What aspects of the program interested you most?
I first met Hannah Brancato, of Mother Made, through a mutual friend who knew of our shared interest in starting a textile center or cooperative in Baltimore. She connected us and a few other likeminded ladies. We all started meeting about why the city needed a place to support textile artists/crafters, and how we could create one. During our discussions Hannah mentioned Mother Made and its mission.
Plans for the textile organization stalled as the lives of the group’s members pulled them in other directions. Hannah and I reconnected later at a business development seminar. There, I also met other core leaders of Mother Made, and learned about how the organization was progressing. I was very interested in what was happening, and asked if there was a way I could get involved.
Mother Made’s social mission, which encourages women to develop their entrepreneurial skills, while creating and marketing textile crafts, really resonated with me.
What is your occupation? What experiences and skills do you share with Mother Made in your volunteerism?
I’m the Assistant Director of Cultural Affairs at the Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts (BOPA), the city’s arts council and producer of major civic events. As a managing member of the Cultural Affairs Department I’m responsible for developing, approving and monitoring program budgets; overseeing departmental programs and projects, including School 33 Art Center, a contemporary art center in south Baltimore; assisting in the development and support of arts institutions, programs and individual artists through workshops, grants, fundraising, etc.; and serving as a liaison to Baltimore’s cultural organizations and Arts and Entertainment Districts. For the past 4 years I’ve served as a member of the city’s Budget Results Team – Growing Economy, responsible for reviewing city agency budgets and proposals for funding in a given fiscal year.
What do you love about Baltimore?
I’m a Baltimore native and I live in the Mt Vernon neighborhood, so I get to see firsthand how exciting and varied the cultural/artist/maker community is in the city. That’s what I love most. Not only do I live in the heart of the city’s cultural corridor, with the Walters, BSO, Lyric, Centerstage and the main branch of the Enoch Pratt Library, I’m a short walk or bus ride from MICA, Station North, Charles Village, Downtown, Fells Point, Harbor East…, and all the speaker series, gallery openings, live performances and great food I could ever want.
What makes you feel happy, excited, alive?
Being able to experience the all of the above is a pleasure. I’m also excited by producing my own textile crafts. I’ve been crocheting since I was ten, and also do a bit of sewing. Making something by your own hand is extremely satisfying. I’m learning to weave cloth on a loom, and have recently started spending time on a fiber farm to learn more about the process of ‘growing’ a fiber. These things, along with cooking, reading and learning, make me happiest.
What are your hopes for the future of Mother Made?
I would like to see Mother Made continue on its current path. Its mission and the programs in place that support that mission are solid. The organization’s recent move to a new facility offers an opportunity to expand current programming and make new connections in the community. With increased funding for those programs, to reach and teach more women, Mother Made is positioned for great success.
Thank you Krista!
Using clothing that once belonged to her family members, Serena Anderson created an entirely hand-sewn quilted heirloom representing three generations. She was inspired by a memory quilt making workshop at Paul’s Place in Southwest Baltimore. Paul’s Place is a multi-faceted community center that ”provides programs, services and support that strengthen individuals and families, fostering hope, personal dignity and growth.” It was there that she met community artist Hannah Brancato, who encouraged her to join Mother Made.
Serena’s role in Mother Made has had a positive ripple effect in her life. She is now in charge of handling clothing and homeware donations at Paul’s Place Marketplace, and also trains volunteers. Serena is so inspiring to the group because she enthusiastically seeks out learning opportunities. She has taken computer classes at Paul’s Place, workshops from the Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore, and has recently taken an active role in assisting with grant-writing. Serena says that she enjoys the opportunity to share skills and interact with our diverse group at Mother Made.
Serena Anderson has been a core leader for over a year. Beginning with learning how to use a sewing machine, she has combined her new found skills with her creativity. Early on in our training program, Serena learned how to make an apron, the rest is history. Her unique fabric combinations and styles were met with great enthusiasm which led her to create her own business, Serena’s Custom Aprons. Each of her aprons are one of a kind, with variations such as cell phone pockets, waterproof fabric, and matching headwraps. Serena’s aprons have been sold at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market and Bazaar, the Women’s Industrial Exchange, and are available by contacting her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find her on facebook, too!
Mother Made just won a Research Associates Foundation grant! We proposed to use the money to re-establish our sewing studio and to fund a weekly study group for Core Leaders. Each member will facilitate two workshops. In each session, the facilitator will introduce an example of a group working for social change that has a significant connection to Mother Made. Topics will include: women’s entrepreneurship, women’s anti-violence movements, women-led community programs, worker-led campaigns for human rights, and cooperative business. Each facilitator will share reading materials and/or videos accompanied by group activities, discussion and dialog concerning the day’s topics. We will map the connections between to our work in Mother Made. We look forward to learning and researching together.
Carol was surprised to receive a phone call just after the new year from Hannah Brancato, Mother Made’s coordinator, a perfect stranger. Her sister, Betty, had secretly applied on her behalf to participate in Mother Made’s 16 week core leadership training. After learning more about the program, Carol was interested in participating to learn how to start her own business. She has been sewing home decor, crafts, and clothing for her family since she was a teenager. Joining the group in February, she has enjoyed meeting new people and mastering new sewing skills. She describes the best part of Mother Made as “everyone has the opportunity to freely learn and grow.” In our group, Carol is best known for her strong beliefs, quick wit, and bright smile.
Carol describes her surroundings as sometimes grim, including “crime, foolishness, drunkenness, and fighting outside (her) home.” For the past few years, Carol has been involved in several community organizations including the McElderry Park Community Association, Safe Streets, and Banner Neighborhoods. She currently enjoys volunteering three times a week tutoring elementary school children with their homework at Paul’s Place. Carol sees her volunteerism as an effort to bring positivity into her life and her community.
As a lifelong Baltimore resident, Carol grew up in Dundalk, and currently resides in East Baltimore. She graduated from Overlea High School in 1978, and became a certified phlebotomist through her coursework at Baltimore City Community College in 1998. Her creative side shines in her love of “weaving letters” through calligraphy in pen and ink.
Carol lights up when she talks about her face painting business. She began when her own children were in elementary school, and little by little she has “creatively put a smile on the faces of the old and young” at community events, family reunions, and birthday parties. Carol welcomes the opportunity to bring her joy of facepainting to your event, and can be contacted via email, email@example.com .
The women who make up Mother Made work together in an authentically cooperative way, making decisions by consensus, developing leadership while providing emotional support to one another. We are building a socially and environmentally just business, designing and producing quality, handmade items. Together we have built a great program!
Now embarking on our second year, Mother Made Baltimore is parting ways with the Episcopal Community Services of Maryland to pursue other partnerships, while becoming an independent entity. Over the next few months, we will be applying for grants, pursuing new wholesale contracts, and seeking new opportunities for growth. We are currently in search of an exciting space in which to design and construct our products, as well as hold our weekly leadership and organizational meetings.
As Mother Made continues to grow and change, we look to you, our friends and supporters, for ideas, connections, and opportunities. Here are a few ways that you can help us in our transition!
· Give Mother Made products to friends and family this holiday season
· Contract us to make tote bags or custom designed items for your organization (we screen-print custom logos!)
· Connect us with potential partners
· Identify subsidized or rent-free space for our new shop
· Donate sewing equipment or materials
Finally, please check back here and Facebook for updates. We will be setting up an online shop soon for your holiday shopping convenience!
We look forward to the changes on the horizon, and welcome you to follow our progress!