Saturday, September 08, 2012

The best broom makers in the USA are mine

This year my partner Shawn and my daughter Lena were invited to send brooms to compete in the Arcola Illinois Broom Corn Festival.  Arcola is the broom corn capitol of the world, where I understand that modern broom corn was developed in 1859. It still is home to several top US broom manufacturers. The first prize for the champion broom was $600.
Shawn Hoefer, reigning champion craft broom maker. See
how he weaves the color twist up into the plait.

Elena Larson's broom won honorable

So they worked all summer on their ideas for these special brooms. The brooms could be artful, but they had to be a working broom. Shawn went through several prototypes for his winding, twisted plait broom with a swash that he did with autumn colors that he dyed to match the handle that he had polished from a really nice hickory. Lena's showed off her incredible attention to detail with a blend of colors and a fine herringbone plait on a really gorgeous hand finished handle.
Detail of the fine stitching, plaiting and color blending that mark Elena's brooms

They shipped off their brooms a few weeks ago and I didn't hear any more. But yesterday afternoon, we were sitting in a Thai restaurant in Mountain Home when Shawn pulls out his iphone and says, "The broom judging should be finished." He got quiet and handed me the phone. Out of all the broom makers in the nation - Shawn Hoefer was first place. and down the line, Lena was 4th. We have the nations best broom makers right here.

I'm so proud of my broom makers. and this year, for the first time, Shawn will be offering his brooms for sale in his Studio during the Off The Beaten Path Studio Tour. Come by and see the broom maker in his native habitat September 14-16, 2012.


Anonymous said...

Thats so exciting to hear! Congratulations are definitely in order. I would love to see pictures of the brooms they submitted.

Anonymous said...

I'm so proud of them both! You must be feedin' 'em right. Thanks for putting the pictures up, too.