a brief look at a WPA project

I was doing one of those internet rabbit-hole things, when another blogger led me to this article about textile crafts created for the WPA. Milwaukee WPA Handicraft Project Online Exhibit.

The photos included here are ones I took directly from the article; I am using only a few to illustrate my comments. There are lots of photos, and it’s wonderful to be able to look back in time.

I was interested in the coverlet designs below. Look at those nursery beds. Would they pass all the safety inspections today? I’m impressed there was a nursery on-site to take care of the workers’ children.

That sailboat wall hanging will show up again in later photos.

There are lots of photos of wooden toys and dolls, but I am interested in the textiles. Such typical 1930s designs.

The WPA project taught skills to workers who moved on to find real employment. I know today’s corollary would be programs that teach unemployed people computer skills, but isn’t there also a need for physical skills? We used to make such beautiful things.

The above women are working on curtains, I think. The photo below I’m saving because I’d like to make some curtains just like those.

Aren’t they all so pretty? I wish we could buy these (affordably) today.

I’m interested in block printing, but that’s going to have to wait until after I retire. It would be great to design my own textile patterns (yes, I know about Spoonflower, but hands-on would be so much more gratifying).

And one day I will have time to learn hooked rug making.

This is just a small portion from the article. It’s definitely a bit eye opening to read the whole thing. So many lovely articles were hand-crafted, and so many people benefited from being given a real-world skill.


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