Downtown Baraboo’s new fiber art studio isn’t just low-tech: It’s no-tech.
Artist and educator Maday Delgado created Free Spirit Designs because she wants to breathe new life into time-tested art forms. At her new studio, quilts are sewn by hand. Weaving is done on looms. And no, kids, there’s no WiFi.
“This is me slowing it down 1,000 percent, and people are finding joy in that,” Delgado said. “It’s going back to the basics.”
Delgado teaches classes in a variety of media in several communities. Last month she began renting a room among the shops above Corner Drug Store. She teaches classes there in painting, hand-stitching and weaving.
“This will be my home base,” she said. “I want it to be an incubator for artists.”
She operated out of her basement until 2012, when she began taking her work to the Downtown Sunday Market. “The Sunday Market really gave me an opportunity to go out there and see if I can market my work,” she said. “I’m just developing my own niche.”
Delgado is developing a number of niches. In addition to teaching textile arts, she’s a motivational speaker, an urban gardener and a graduate student in sustainability.
Sustainability is what her no-tech approach to fiber art is all about. Quilts are made from scraps of fabric, and thereby saved from landfills. The human hand, unlike sewing machines, doesn’t use electricity. “We’re not going to be plugging in any machines in the foreseeable future,” Delgado said.
Plus, hand-making quilts, baskets and clothing creates opportunities for intergenerational interaction. “I think there’s a great power to the modern quilt movement,” Delgado said. “I think we’re coming back to those traditions.”
Knitting sessions and weekly classes fill up fast. She advises interested artists to watch Free Spirit Designs’ Facebook page for updates.
“I’ve decided to give it a go and see how it goes,” Delgado said. “It helps me stay creative.”