I bought a blanket from Churchill Weavers for my first grandson. They still have it. Beautiful, delicate and durable. So is the grandson! I thought the story was worthy of a post. Churchill Weavers was formerly located in Berea, a lovely college town in a rural setting and the last time I was there I stopped at Churchill Weavers hoping they were still open, but they weren't. Now, I learn they have just relocated!
Churchill Weavers spent 85 years in Kentucky, and that history is the focus of a new exhibition at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort. Magic in the Weaving: The Churchill Weavers Collection Revealed began May 10 and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays until Sept. 6.
The Kentucky Historical Society bought the Churchill Weavers archives, which included 2,300 boxes of photographs, advertising materials, product samples and other artifacts, last year.
The exhibition, which tells the story of the company and its founders, will allow the public to watch and ask questions as museum staff catalog and preserve the collection.
Among the items on display are a portable loom that was used to demonstrate the weaving process as the company sought to grow its business and furniture from founder D. Carroll Churchill's workshop.
The society bought the collection from Lila Bellando, who owned the company with her husband, Richard Bellando, from 1973 to 1996 and later managed Churchill Weavers for its subsequent owner, Crown Crafts.Churchill Weavers closed its doors in Berea last year after 85 years. But its trademark handwoven throws, scarves and baby blankets are showing up again in the Bluegrass as the company reconnects with its roots.
Ownership and production have moved to Indiana. And the company is still getting back up to speed.
Mike Stutland, who owns Artique in Lexington, said he has just recently begun getting Churchill Weavers merchandise again.
"It's been extremely slow getting product in," he said. But it doesn't stay in long.
"There is an amazing following" for Churchill Weavers in this area, Stutland said. "It sells out pretty quickly."