Fabric of life
story by Marc Ewell
A love for each other and a love for people influence so many aspects of Neil and Mary Colmer’s work at the Weaver’s Bottom Craft Studio.
They met at a local dance in 1969, and Mary said she felt something special when Neil touched her hand. But it wasn't until seven years later that Neil, now 65, and Mary, 66, rekindled that spark and married. It was their common interests in the arts that drew them closer and has helped sustain their relationship. They opened Weaver’s Bottom Craft Studio in 1989.
“We wanted to have a business where we were together and shared everything,” Neil says. “We get along so well.”
At their studio in Berea’s Old Town neighborhood, the Colmers display a variety of handcrafted items. Mary is known for her corn-shuck dolls, which hang prominently in the store's front windows. Perhaps what the shop is most famous for is its colorful loom-woven fabrics. Neil, who has been weaving for 46 years, and Mary, a weaver for 35 years, make items ranging from bookmarks to tablecloths.
Their customers have been local, and some of them have come from as far away as China.
“It’s all about the people," Mary says. "Those wonderful people who come in and say, ‘Oh, I’m so glad you’re still here!'”
Mary recalled a special memory. A young woman came into the studio one day and said, “I’m 26 … when I was 6 years old, I came in your shop with my grandmother, and when we left I turned at the door and told you that when I grew up I was going to be a weaver. And I’ve come back today to tell you, I’m grown up now and I’m a weaver.”