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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.”

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Neil and Mary work together to produce various colorful fabrics at their craft shop.

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At the end of the work day, Neil and Mary take down store-front flags while closing their studio.

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Mary walks through her eclectic backyard garden. She is proud of her mismatched garden, which she assembled from discarded items she found and repurposed.

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A bond of friendship strengthens a 37-year marriage.

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Music is one of many common interests that Neil and Mary share.

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Mary Colmer plays a song that she wrote with her husband, Neil, in their home in Berea.

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The couple enjoy a quick meal during a work day in their craft studio.

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Each day during the week, Mary Colmer waves to a Greyhound bus as it drives by the studio.