Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Profile of a Tuesday Weaver: Carl Bretz

Carl Bretz is Tuesday Weavers' most experienced weaver, having begun weaving in 1971.  You'll see many photos throughout our blog of Carl weaving on an antique barn loom, weaving beautiful rugs from cast off wool warp and old jeans.  The rugs sell very quickly upstairs in the Appalachian Arts-Craft Center store.  One of his rugs is in my mother's living room, where it has a place of honor.
  I could tell Carl's story, but he has already written his weaving history, so I will simply quote from it.
" A Weaver's Yarn
By Carl V. Bretz"
"As a child, I helped my mother with her rug braiding by rolling fabric strips into balls.  It was magical to see her make beautiful and useful rugs from worn fabric.  She also did beautiful embroidery and crocheting.  My father did chair caning after he retired.
  "In grade school I read Silas Marner by George Eliot, the classic story of little Eppy and the weaver of Ravelo.  The story made a lasting impression.  I worked in several hospitals where weaving was used as part of the Occupational Therapy Program for recovering patients.  I was intrigued to see patients throwing shuttles.
  "In the 1970's I found myself under a lot of stress. I knew I needed a good hobby.  Weaving instruction was being offered in a nearby town.  I found weaving became a great stress reliever and a part of my religious practice.
  "Solo weaving gave me a great deal of pleasure throughout the years.  In 1994 I moved to Oak Ridge [TN] when Rosemary [Burns] and I were married.  Rosemary knew of the nearby Appalachian Arts Craft Center and suggested I check it out.  It was through the craft center that my involvement in weaving really took off.  Show-and-tell, problem solving, occasional workshops and great friends enriched the weaving experience immensely.  A workshop introduced me to the pleasures of tapestry weaving.
  "Recently I've downsized to fit everything into an apartment.  I made room for my eight-harness Macomber and a 24" Shannock tapestry loom.
  "I have a great debt of gratitude to all of the people who have inspired and taught me along the way.  I am especially thankful for the support and friendship of the Tuesday Weavers at the Appalachian Arts Craft Center."

Carl with his Grandmother's spinning wheel.
 We owe Carl a great deal of gratitude, as well, for his kind and gentle presence, and showing us that weaving is indeed a life-long pursuit worth following.  Happy weaving, for a lifetime!


LA said...

Thank you, Maggie, for writing this wonderful article about Carl. We are very blessed to have him as a member of our Tuesday Weaver family.

Two Guys and a Loom said...

What a wonderful story about an amazing man!!!! Thank you for sharing!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have been a fan of Carl and his big barn loom. Love your updates and weekly photos of your wonderful group. Carl is a very talented weaver and when you posted his weaving a today, I just smiled.

A big Carl fan in West Virginia!

Pat Byrd said...

Absolutely beautiful work Carl, I love the article. Keep up the GREAT work.

Bonnie said...

Bravo! Wonderful story of a wonderful man.

Tina J said...

I never tire of hearing about Carl's weaving history. The day I went to visit him, I knew I was getting close to his apartment because I began to see his tapestries on the walls!