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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Jul. 6, 2017 2 months ago

Timeless pastime

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This year, Weavers of Orlando is celebrating 75 years of promoting the fiber arts.
by: Troy Herring Associate Editor

Her love for weaving started about 16 years ago, though it was completely by happenstance.

Trying to get into a pottery class at UCF, Winter Park resident Beverly Tavel decided to take a weaving class that was right next door to the pottery room — thinking she could ease her way in to the class at a later time.

The pottery class didn’t happen, but that was OK, because Tavel had become totally engrained into the processes of weaving. 

“Once you’re weaving, your right hand is working, your left hand is working, your right leg is working, and your left leg is working — it’s an all-body experience,” Tavel said. “For me, it is more balancing. I was a school teacher for 30 years, so it was a lot of left brain paperwork — grading papers, writing everything down — and when I was weaving, I was able to let my right side work. … It’s very (meditative) when you get into the rhythm of it all.”

Like it did for many fiber artists throughout Central Florida, the love for weaving led Tavel to join the nonprofit Weavers of rOrlando. As a member, she is also a part of the demonstration crew that goes around to schools, libraries, and other community spots to teach weaving.

Since Weavers of Orlando was created in 1942, individuals such as Tavel, who find their passion in the fiber arts, have gathered together to create their own little community.

Comprising 113 members who weave, spin, knit and crotchet, the group has been providing the community with art demonstrations and other programs for 75 years.

The organization holds its monthly meeting from 10 a.m. until noon on the third Saturday of the month at Westminster Winter Park Towers. Weavers of Orlando also hold three-day workshops two to three times a year. 

Photo courtesy of Mary Schmutte

Those who join the group come from many backgrounds and discover the organization in different ways.

Marilyn Frew, a past president of the group, discovered Weavers from a contact she had made before moving to Florida from Virginia in 2001.

“I moved in April, and I made the contact in June, so I didn’t waste a lot time,” Frew said. “This is something I value, so people who are fans of fiber — weaving, spinning, and other fiber things — tend to gravitate to each other, and that is where most of my friendships are.”

Frew first discovered a love for weaving back in the 1970s and ’80s, when her sons participated in 4H and raised sheep. She and the other 4H mothers collected the wool and learned to spin, which then led them to buy looms to start weaving.

Since those early days of weaving, Frew has been a part of weaving guilds in both Virginia and Florida.

Although she lives down in Palm Bay, a solid 77 miles southeast of Winter Park, Frew never misses a monthly meeting and enjoys the time she gets to be with colleagues.

“I’ve learned a lot from the people who have been there longer,” Frew said.

Both Tavel and Frew have the mindset of true fiber artists.

“I will probably weave until I am no longer able to see what I am doing,” Frew said. “I’m 76 this year, so we’re looking at 20 more years, but who knows, maybe 30 — if I’m really lucky.”

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