FORTVILLE — LindaMarie Hanson was in her early 20s, working at Fort Benjamin Harrison, when out of the blue a couple of looms in an all-purpose craft room caught her eye.
Little did she know that first experience with the weaving machines would spark something special that would last the rest of her life.
“It’s my passion. I want to weave all day long,” the 63-year-old Fortville resident said. Hanson will publicly demonstrate her craft daily for a week beginning Sunday outside businesses on Main Street in Fortville.
She said she’s doing so because it’s Spinning and Weaving Week, a national event created by the Handweavers Guild of America.
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The guild encourages spinners and weavers to demonstrate their skills in public, to promote the craft and to encourage others to try it.
“This is my part to keep the crafts alive,” Hanson said.
Hanson moved to Fortville a year ago after being away for about four decades for her federal government career. She spent half that time in Texas and the other half in Colorado working for the U.S. Department of the Interior, which manages the country’s natural and cultural resources.
Now retired, she’s been able to increase the time she devotes to weaving and sharing the activity with others.
In March, she opened Hanson Weavery in her home at 101 W. Michigan St. There, she has a menagerie of looms: nine large mechanical looms, three portable inkle looms and eight tabletop looms, as well as shelves full of supplies, including cone after cone of yarn.
“I weave in cotton,” she said, noting that while she buys all her yarn some people spin their own. “I never had an interest in it. I like to weave and to teach weaving.”
Hanson’s handiwork can be seen on display and in use throughout her home, including towels, blankets, tablecloths, pillow covers, wall hangings, shawls and more. But what one sees is just a fraction of what she’s produced through the years.
She said she likes to give what she makes to friends and family.
On her Main Street tour, she plans to take one of her mechanical looms measuring about 3 feet wide, tall and deep and likely some smaller ones. She will demonstrate and share information about weaving, as well as let people touch fibers.
Her first stop is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at Sunrise Bakery, 101 W. Broadway St. She has two-hour stops planned daily through Oct. 10, when she finishes at her home studio.
Susan Kitterman, co-owner of Sunrise Bakery, said she agreed for the bakery to be a stop on Hanson’s tour because the pair know each other and she’s a fan of Hanson’s work.
“I just think what she does is really beautiful. I’ve seen examples of her work. It’s just so creative and unusual. She just really has a unique slant on her hobby, so I just wanted other people to be able to see it,” Kitterman said.
While Hanson said she will try to attract customers for her weaving classes, the goal is to make converts, not money.
“I want teenagers and adults to learn weaving, to give it a try,” she said. She hopes to engage people who might be in search of a new hobby. “And weaving might be the answer.”
Weaving was the answer for Hanson when she stumbled upon the looms at Fort Benjamin Harrison. And it was the answer later, when her husband, Art Freeman, died of cancer at age 50.
“That’s when I seriously started collecting looms,” Hanson said. “I needed to fill my life with something.”
She started teaching at that point and plans to keep weaving and sharing its joys as long as she can.
Since first weaving, “I’ve never stopped,” Hanson said. “Lifelong hobby is what I call it.”
The following business in Fortville are offering space on their sidewalk (and shelter in case of inclement weather) for the demonstrations:
- 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday — Sunrise Bakery, 101 W. Broadway St.
- 1-3 p.m. Monday — What a Girl Wants, 230 S. Main St.
- 1-3 p.m. Tuesday — Waggin Tails/The Vagabond Girls, 36 S. Main St.
- 1-3 p.m. Wednesday — At Home with Us, 202 S. Main St.
- 6-8 p.m. Thursday — Indulge, 10 S. Main St.
- 2-4 p.m. Oct. 9 — Simmons’ home, 244 N. Main St.
- Noon-2 p.m. Oct. 10 — Hanson Weavery, 101 W. Michigan St.
Hanson Weavery is at 101 W. Michigan St., Fortville. For more information call 303-521-8165 or email LMhansonweaves@gmail.com.