Throughout the month of September, Design Core Detroit displayed various artists’ work through in-person, indoor, and outdoor events, as well as virtual events.
Detroit Month of Design celebrates the creativity of the city’s artists and designers with events such as workshops, open studios, talks, tours, installations, exhibitions, and interactive experiences.
College for Creative Studies student Taylor Childs said she created three pieces for Detroit Month of Design. Her installation was a part of Sneaker House sponsored by Foot Locker Detroit.
“I focus on the elevation of streetwear in my piece MALIA, meaning "Queen” in Kenyan,” Childs said. “The three pieces represent three sneaker culture queens. My piece explores the future of streetwear. Streetwear has originated from Hip Hop/ Black culture culture. In the Bronx b-boys used to battle rap one another as an alternative to dealing with disagreements. Minorities used fashion to narrate the story of where they are from. Streetwear pioneers decorated their bodies to narrate their own stories as to who they are. Sneakers became a form of self expression for Black Culture.”
Childs, who majors in fibers and textiles and minors in fashion accessories, said MALIA elevates what streetwear culture looks like, as well as representing the future of it.
“I explore the representational, visual vocabulary and themes of; family, the after effects of the African Diaspora, the perception of people, consumerism, bling culture and how the Diaspora affects African Americans contemporarily,” Childs said. “Translating this into a narrative where these themes are applied to explorations of fabric manipulation through textile tradition in order to create a dialogue representing African American life.I focus on these topics because it is my story, it narrates who I am and the story of my ancestors before me.”
MALIA was available for in-person viewing at Lawrence Technological University Detroit Center for Design and Technology in Detroit until Sep. 30 at 5 p.m. Her work can be found at @TaylorChildsStudios on Instagram.
Olivia Holt, CCS product and design major and crafts minor, was a first-time contributor to Detroit Month of design as an artist and design.
Her creations for Eshe Design showcased handmade clay and wood objects. She said she uses natural materials for an interconnected relationship between earth and people.
“This past summer I had the pleasure to work with two experimental art and design studios,” Holt said. “I assisted Laura Walker and Mike Styczynski at Other Work for the build out and final installation of Garden Novella; a public art installation that reflects the stories, culture, and people of Southwest Detroit. I also co-designed with Simon Anton at ThingThing working on the cortado tables and some other amazing projects that will be announced later in the year.
Holt said she also participated in the d.Tree Studio; a collaborative course between CCS and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History sponsored by Detroit Month of Design.
“My work is a reflection of my values in diy, sustainability, and community. In craft I'm currently creating using clay and wood to make domestic objects,” Holt said. “Through my product design work I create concept experiences and awareness for impactful change.”
Holt said she is inspired by her experiences as a Black woman being a Detroiter, her ancestors, her passion for life and learning, and the state of the world.
Holt’s installations ran until Sep. 30 at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center Southwest, as well as at the First National Building. Find more of her work at oliviaeholt.com.
Leah Ely, CCS illustration and fine arts alum, hosted a block printing workshop for Detroit Month of Design at Lawrence Technological University Detroit Center for Design and Technology in Detroit on Sep. 25.
“This workshop will instruct the participants on the technique of block printing and bringing hand printed material into products such as sneakers,” Ely said. “The workshop will focus on the process of pattern planning, drawing, carving and printing through traditional practice. The hands-on method of block printing creates patterns, stamps and textile designs that can be used in a variety of fashion pieces, especially sneakers since the event is sponsored by FootLocker. Each participant is able to translate their story and experiences through block printing and take their designs as a further form of self expression.”
Ely said she is an illustrator who also works with fibers, fashion, and design abstraction. She created shoe concepts for Foot Locker Detroit’s Sneaker House.
“I resonate with block printing because I am able to combine all of my artistic interests, including drawing, printing, constructing, and textiles,” Ely said. “I feel my best when I create patterns and interpret them through different methods and mediums. Overall, I create illustrations through textiles and fiber art.”
Ely is inspired by historical textiles in Asian, Persian, and other ancient cultures. She also said she is inspired by artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Elizabeth Murray.
You can find her work at leahely.com.
Find more information about Detroit Month of Design at designcore.org.