There isn’t much that could make the experience of enjoying a locally-brewed Tulsa beer even better. Thanks to the Tulsa Architectural Foundation, however, local beer lovers now have the opportunity to learn a new skill while sipping.
TFA’s new Drafts & Design initiative is a partnership with local Tulsa breweries that has resulted in a series of creative architecture-related workshops. As participants learn a new artistic skill, they can sip local stouts, sours and IPAs at some of Tulsa’s most popular breweries.
“So far, all of our events have sold out,” said TFA Executive Director Amber Litwack. “This initiative is definitely something people are interested in. We attracted a number of people who had never interacted with our organization before. It was so exciting.
The Drafts & Design program began in March with the goal of exposing more people to Tulsa’s architectural heritage.
“We conceptualized this program because the TFA didn’t do a lot of programming that wasn’t tour-based, so we wanted to do something that would meet people where they are – maybe people who are not architecture and design enthusiasts – something that would open the door for these people to connect with our organization,” Litwack said.
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So far, the TFA has partnered with local breweries such as Eerie Abbey Ales, Nothing’s Left Brewing Co., American Solera Brewery and Cabin Boys Brewery.
“Tulsa has so many great breweries, so we decided to contact a number of them to see if they would like to partner with us,” Litwack said. “It’s a win-win situation for both of us — we usually run the workshops on Thursday evening or Sunday afternoon, times when the breweries aren’t as crowded as Friday or Saturday. So it brings additional business to the breweries and gives us space in the community to do a fun and hands-on project centered around architecture.
In March, Tulsa photography artist Rachel Rector led attendees in a hand-dyeing class at Eerie Abbey Ales. Rector guided the students as they practiced the art of tinting two 4 x 6 inch photographs of Tulsa’s historic places. The process of hand-tinting black and white photographs is nearly 200 years old and is used to add a vivid splash of color to a colorless film photograph.
Participants learned the art of punch needling at the Cabin Boys Brewery in April. Taught by Beth Henley of Black Moon Tulsa, people learned beginner punching techniques and designed their own 8-inch wall hanging, inspired by iconic pieces of Tulsa architecture. The process, much like rug making, is a form of embroidery that involves pushing yarn or yarn over a piece of fabric, using loops to create a textured pattern.
In May, attendees headed to Nothing’s Left Brewing Co. to learn about the timeless art of embroidery. In a class taught by artist, designer and art teacher Taryn Singleton, people were given facsimile plans of one of Tulsa’s quintessential architectural feats: the Mayo Hotel. Using different colors of string, participants learned embroidery techniques to adorn the plans, creating a work of art they could take home and frame.
The TFA is also planning several upcoming monthly workshops this summer. On June 2, the organization is partnering with Anthousai Florals and American Solera for a workshop teaching the Japanese art of ikebana flower arranging, inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.
“I’ve been interested in ikebana for several years and wanted to look for a class locally, but never found anything, so I decided to start one,” Litwack said. “We drew inspiration for this class from the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. He was so influenced by Japanese design and culture, so that goes without saying for this workshop.
Wright’s reverence for Japan is well documented. The architect spent several years exploring the country and amassed a large personal collection of Japanese pottery, screens, textiles, sculptures and more. Wright drew heavily on the Japanese architectural style which combined elements of the natural world in modern home design, allowing nature to have a distinguished place in home design concepts. This principle is clearly exhibited in Wright’s personal homes, Taliesin and Taliesin West, according to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
At the upcoming TFA workshop, Anthousai founders Jenny Rausch and Katie Allen will teach attendees the ikebana floral style, which emphasizes each individual flower using a limited number of stems and a low vase. With guidance from Rausch and Allen, participants will learn to create their own ikebana arrangements influenced by some of Wright’s most important design work.
In July, Drafts & Design participants will return to Eerie Abbey Ales for a polaroid emulsion workshop, once again led by Rector. People will receive a Polaroid camera and be invited to explore downtown Tulsa and take two photos of their favorite architectural features. Once inside the brewery, they will be trained in the art of polaroid emulsion, which involves taking the top layer of a Polaroid image and transferring it onto watercolor paper. Each participant will receive two works of art to take home.
For more information about the TFA or to register for a Drafts & Design workshop, visit tulsaarchitecture.org
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