Threaded Together: Create + Connect = Community Gathering

Located in Flagstaff, Arizona, the nonprofit organization Threaded Together is weaving the fabric of the community through its mission to inspire creativity and connection. With a focus on textile arts programs, the organization nurtures inclusive communities, cultivates agency, and develops employment pathways for those who have faced personal challenges and institutional injustices. Threaded Together also hosts Create + Connect, their weekly, donation-based, textile art open studio hours for all.

Threaded Together believes everyone should have an opportunity to express themselves creatively, develop valuable skills, and most importantly, feel connected to others. To achieve this, they offer a range of programs, including free sewing classes for teens at the local domestic violence center, after-school sewing for elementary school kids, and creative community classes with sliding-scale pricing. Additionally, the organization collaborates with local institutions like the public library and the hospital’s behavioral health unit to provide free programming for their participants. Another standout initiative is the federally supported paid vocational training program, where low to moderate-income individuals can learn production sewing skills, which opens doors to employment opportunities.

Rachel Kalnbach teaching at Create + Connect.
Create + Connect weekly open studios at Threaded Together.

A central hub of their community engagement is the Create + Connect event held every Wednesday night. This donation-based open studio time brings together adults and children, beginners and experienced makers, and participants from various programs. It is a melting pot of creativity where people can work on their projects, share skills, and build meaningful connections. Knowledgeable and caring staff and volunteers are available to answer questions, provide support, and encourage creative problem-solving.

Create + Connect is a testament to inclusivity. It is open to all, with no cost barrier to attend. Donations are always welcome. This provides a unique opportunity for community members of varying ages, identities, skills, and income levels to learn together. The event offers access to a vast stash of donated fabric, thread, and notions, as well as home and industrial sewing machines, ensuring that financial constraints don’t hinder anyone’s creative expression.

Teens enjoying Create + Connect.

In a society that often emphasizes individualism and consumption, Threaded Together’s Create + Connect initiative stands as a beacon of community-building and empowerment. By providing a space for people to interact with materials, realize their agency, and celebrate their interconnection, the organization is contributing to the resilience of the community, one Wednesday night at a time.

In the workroom at Threaded Together, Create + Connect comes to life! It is more than a weekly event; it’s a transformative force, stitching together a community bound by creativity and their shared experiences.

Threaded Together has been awarded a Fiber Art Now Gathering Grant. Fiber Art Now offers occasional Gathering Grants to organizations fostering community bonds and recognizing the profound impact that shared experiences have in bringing people together. These grants specifically target groups involved with fiber and textile projects acknowledging the unique ability to weave a strong sense of community. 


Cami Smith is the Fiber Art Now media manager, a contributing editor, and a mixed-media artist.

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