Residents weave for pleasure at Meriden’s Bradley Home

Residents weave for pleasure at Meriden’s Bradley Home


MERIDEN — All was fairly quiet in the weaving room at the Bradley Home and Pavilion Tuesday morning except for the light tapping of wood on wood, and metal on metal as 15 concentrated people worked on table and floor looms, intricately weaving material.

Participants were creating scarves and others were making placemats using a variety of materials such as cotton, a few strands at a time.

As they worked, some chatted with one another or looked to Deborah Haberli, the weaving and arts instructor, for any help or guidance.

“Debbie, I made a mistake,” said Helena Hamel, a resident of the Bradley Home, a residential care facility for the elderly in Meriden, as she worked on a green scarf.

Haberli walked over to Hamel’s wooden floor loom to help.

“So, you need to take it out back to this point,” said Haberli as she marked the scarf with a pin with a yellow top.

The weaving room is a place for Bradley Home residents to get creative and spend some of their free time. All of the materials have been donated, Haberli said, so it is free to residents. The program has been running since the early 1930s and many in the class have had past relatives that used to weave at Bradley Home.

The room is also open to residents whenever they would like to use it. Many come down a couple hours a day to work on their creations.

“Once I teach them, they can come down whenever they want,” said Haberli.

Many residents including Fran Daly had no prior experience using a loom.

“I never thought I would be doing this,” said Daly laughing as she worked on a gray scarf, pressing the floor pedals of the loom with her feet to keep up with the pattern. “I enjoy it. It gets easy when you follow along.”

The dedication and the residents’ intricate work has been recognized throughout the years at the Durham Fair’s craft competition and the Meriden Grange craft fair.

At the Meriden Grange, residents’ work recently took two first, two second, and two third place ribbons. The work is also sold at the Bradley Home’s bazaar in December, which is open to the public.

“We sent 30 pieces with the Durham Fair (this year) and I’m hoping 30 ribbons come back,” said Haberli. “They take pride in their work.”

The contest has not been judged yet, but Haberli said they should be receiving the results soon.

Last year Geraldine Corriveau, a resident at Bradley, won a grand prize for her scrap scarf at the Durham Fair. A scrap scarf uses a combination of colors and materials, she said.

In 2012 Janice Mcgarth, another resident, won Best in Show at the Durham Fair for one of her creations.

“That’s what we all strive for, the Best in Show,” said Nancy Hall, a resident pointing to the large ribbon hanging from Mcgarth’s wooden loom. “We weave for pleasure, not for prizes. But, we win prizes.” 203-317-2212 Twitter: @FollowingFarrah

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