Parachute Factory is an experiment in community building through hands-on activities.
Parachute Factory in Las Vegas, New Mexico, is a place that celebrates the joy of making, the serendipity of exploration, and the inter-generational communication and sense of connection that is forged over a project with a shared goal and from working with one’s hands. Parachute Factory hosts all kinds of people—artists and designers, members of the university community, fix-it volunteers, and a
diverse local population of all ages—who work together in an open-ended manner, exchanging skills and discovering how things work in a non-linear way, a place offering structured workshops in things like repairing broken objects and repurposing old toys, and a place removed from the need to always have the newest, latest technology when basic tools are present.The name Parachute Factory conjures up images of everything this project embodies—from the feeling of jumping headlong into a project, to a manufacturing workplace. It also pays tribute to the community memory of the Jayval & Navajo Textiles parachute factory, where women who hadn’t been in the workforce learned to sew parachutes as a contribution to the World War II war effort, which helped lift the local economy out of the Great Depression. In the global economy, every former retail space needs to be reimagined, especially in small towns like Las Vegas, where big box stores selling cheaply-made merchandise create a throw-away mentality. Parachute Factory offers a homegrown creative alternative to the current cycle of production and consumption that is killing rural America.