Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Weaving Satisfies a Need to Create

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Weaving Satisfies a Need to Create

Article excerpt


Someone once called it the PRC sweatshop, but for those of us who spend time learning a new skill in the Weaving Room, it has come to be a patience factory.

It all began back in 1961 when Linda and Bill Benitt brought their private hobby to Penney Farms. They were joined a year or so later by Hilda Wieringa from Berea, Ky., who also brought with her a table loom, and they shared their desire to learn more about handweaving. The infant weaving program was given a home in a little-used building behind the church, but Hilda quit after a while because, they say, she "did not enjoy bugs and cobwebs."

However, she was still around seven years later to help turn over the first shovelsful of earth at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Diebold Arts and Crafts Center. The new building contained a large room that was designated the "Weaving Room."

About this time, Beulah Mazzie, the aunt of present resident Emma Gabelman, came to PRC. A master weaver with vast experience, her skill and knowledge inspired many weavers until her retirement as weaving teacher in 1980. She left us several looms, quantities of thread and an album of 70 beautiful samples of weaving she had done. Two of her grandnieces recently visited Penney Farms and were delighted to find her legacy still being appreciated.

Other looms and weaving materials have come to us through the years from many different sources. For instance, a four-harness table loom and a large eight-harness jack loom were given by weavers Joe and Mildred Burnett. And when Florence Bohanan, our weaving instructor from 1984 until the late '90s was no longer able to weave, we acquired her eight-harness loom.

Our latest acquisition we owe to Hank and Linda Snow of Orange Park, who have been not only our suppliers of materials for many years but have freely made themselves available to give us counsel, repair our looms and be real troubleshooters. …

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