We are very pleased to announce the lecturers for SewDown Philadelphia! We hope that those of you who are local will join us! Tickets can be purchased here. Both lunch lectures are $50 each and dinner is $90.
Our wonderful lecturers are…
Michelle Engel Bencsko, Growing A Creative Business – how we started, how and why we grew the way we have and about my particular job: directing and producing fabric collections
Michelle is Design and Marketing Director of Cloud 9 Fabrics and has spent her entire life dedicated to the pursuit of creative endeavors. While she obtained a BFA in Photography at Montclair State College, she almost immediately abandoned the idea of going into that industry. Instead, she found herself moving from one creative job to another until she unwittingly landed a humble position as a designer’s assistant in a mens sleepwear and loungewear company. Within a few years and another company later, she found herself the Design Director for a prominent private label mens underwear company where she honed her design, merchandising and marketing skills. After about 15 years in the industry that she never intended to make a career, she left the big NYC job to pursue her own projects and have more time with her children. Through her independent company, Cicada Studio, she developed and produced home décor weight printed textiles in cotton/linen blends. It was also at this time that she began to license collections for Henry Glass & Co, specifically for the quilt market, which opened up an entirely new perspective of designing and outlet for her talents. As the success of her Cicada Studio collections grew, her need to produce on a larger scale became evident. Being Earth-friendly has always been important to Michelle. As she researched her options and refined her ideas for a collection, the notion to create a designer line of fabrics that bridged the gap of high-end organics and mass-consumerism took shape.
Learn more about Michelle’s work, life and musings on her person al blog Cicada Daydream.
Victoria Findlay Wolfe, Quilting Your Story
A painter, photographer and quilter, Victoria was raised on a farm in central Minnesota. She learned to sew and quilt when she was four years old. Victoria graduated from the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art in 1993, and a year later moved to New York City.
Victoria began an outreach program for a transitional housing project in the South Bronx, New York, through which hundreds of quilts have been donated from quilters all over the world. (www.bumblebeansBASICS.com)
Victoria is the author of 15 Minutes of Play and a fabric designer for Newcastle Fabrics. She is also a member of the NYC Metro MOD Guild, the Empire Guild, the Minnesota Quilt Guild and a SAQA member. She sits on the board of directors for the Quilt Alliance and her quilt, Double Edged Love, was winner of Best in Show at QuiltCon.
Victoria lives with her husband, Michael Findlay, an art dealer and author, and their Daughter Beatrice.
Jay McCarroll, My Life in Design…So Far
Jay is a fashion and textile designer based in Philadelphia , PA. Jay studied fashion design at the former Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, now Philadelphia University , where he currently teaches. He also studied at the London College of Fashion.
Fabric, color, pattern, and texture are among the great loves of Jay’s life. According to Jay, the greatest part of his job is manipulating those elements into functioning products for people to use and enjoy. Jay finds inspiration for his work in many different things. He’s always been drawn to the vastness and the beauty of nature and is also fascinated by how other humans utilize nature so industriously.
Jay is internationally recognized for winning the inaugural season of the Emmy nominated, competitive reality television show, Project Runway in 2006. In 2007 Jay was featured in a docu-special on the Bravo network entitled “Project Jay” where he was asked to design a dress for supermodel Heidi Klum to wear to the Primetime Emmy Awards.
In 2008 Jay was the subject of a full length documentary entitled “Eleven Minutes” which chronicled his experience of putting together a collection for New York Fashion Week.
Join us in Philadelphia– New friends, amazing workshops, a swanky hotel and all delicious meals included for this weekend get away!