Play, passion, purpose

Girls Guild: Building a community of artistic women through apprenticeships

Girls Guild: Building a community of artistic women through apprenticeships

Creating their own spin on art classes, Girls Guild steps outside the stiff barriers of the class room and into a learning and teaching style all their own.

These for girls, by girls apprenticeships are based on each individual artists need, with a changing roster of artists ranging from photographers and leather workers to jewelry and pattern makers.

Girls Guild is helmed by Cheyenne Weaver and Diana Griffin who partnered in an Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship program at the Austin Center of Design. During the program they began researching what issues girls of all ages were facing today. They soon realized the need for a supportive community that gave them a creative outlet while giving them a sense of control.

 “We’ve found that sessions for girls 11-19 work really well, but we’ve also heard from a lot of women in their twenties, thirties and older who are just as interested in learning new skills and being part of a community of makers.” 

“The goal is to help girls and women build a collaborative community and frame their identity around what they think, what they make and what they can do, instead of what they look like or what happens to them outside their control,” says Weaver, who along with Griffin started Girls Guild eight months ago.

The artists and craftswomen involved in Girls Guild are both classically trained and self-taught professionals. “We want this to be a collaborative community that includes peer to peer learning, which is why we put a lot of focus on the artists and their work not just the skills they’re teaching,” says Weaver. 

Reading through the artists and their skillsets on the Girls Guild website you’ll find a short bio and a class description that’s unlike any community class booklet you’ve ever seen. You get a sense of their personality and artistic style as well as photos and visuals of their work.

There’s a strong roster of talented Austin women already onboard including Callen Thompson of Beam, Natalie Davis of Canoe and Christine Fail from Fail jewelry.

Girls Guild isn’t limited to just young girls either. “We’ve found that sessions for girls 11-19 work really well, but we’ve also heard from a lot of women in their twenties, thirties and older who are just as interested in learning new skills and being part of a community of makers,” says Weaver.

It won’t only be the students that are impacted by the apprenticeships, the artists and makers will benefit in teaching what they love while inspiring a more collaborative environment and helping develop a stronger entrepreneurial community of creative women.

Up next for Girls Guild is a social and portfolio portion to the website, that will allow you to upload photos of the projects you’re working on and track the skills, tools and techniques learned from each session. It’ll also let you keep in contact with the teachers and friends, making it easy to keep it contact with the community of makers.

If you’re interested in enriching your life through art and being part of this female community of makers, either by taking a session or finding an apprentice, email Girls Guild.

Austin Photo Set: News_Pages_Girls Guild_june 2012_1
Girls Guild Courtesy of Girls Guild
Austin Photo Set: News_Pages_Girls Guild_june 2012_5
A jewelry making session with jeweler Anna Gieselman. Courtesy of Girls Guild
Austin Photo Set: News_Pages_Girls Guild_june 2012_6
Present and future artists and makers. Courtesy of Girls Guild
Austin Photo Set: News_Pages_Girls Guild_june 2012_4
Making jewelry. Courtesy of Girls Guild
Austin Photo Set: News_Pages_Girls Guild_june 2012_2
The final product. Courtesy of Girls Guild