Posted by: bschutzgruber | July 31, 2022

Ability Weavers – Lowell, MI

When the Michigan League of Handweavers 2022 Biennial Fiber Exhibit at the LowellArts Gallery [see May 2022 blog] came to an end I volunteered to help with the take down. Once we finished packing things up I wandered down the street and discovered a wonderful shop – Ability Weavers.

As I walked in the door I was greeted by an array of colorful handwoven home decor items: towels, blankets, table runners, purses & totes as well as gorgeous rag rugs in wide range of sizes.

The shop is filled with the looms that are used to weave all the items right there in the store.

They also have the largest non-mechanized floor loom I’ve ever seen! The weaving width is 8 feet [2.4 meters] and requires 2 weavers working in tandem.

Owner Beryl Bartkus, the parent of a young woman with autism, explained that many of the employees have autism or other special needs. The purpose and philosophy for the store is to provide an integrated work setting in which those with and without disability work side by side.

“We believe that every individual is worthy of having meaningful employment. Weavers with and without disability are offered the same hourly wage, above minimum wage. Some weavers may create a large rug, or several towels during their work day. Other weavers may only make a few mug rugs.
We encourage everyone to do their very best and to work to their highest potential.
Everyone is equally important, equally appreciated and fairly paid.”

Besides home decor items they also offer ‘Weave Your Own’ classes (no experience necessary!) as well as weaving yarn & supplies, have added an online store and sponsor of the Lowell Weaving & Fiber Arts Fair.

Ability Weavers is well worth a visit – either in person or online!


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