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Embraced by Berea, Weaver's Bottom Craft Studio stands the test of time

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Posted at 7:00 PM, Sep 15, 2023

BEREA, Ky. (LEX 18) — Nearly four decades after opening the doors of Weaver's Bottom Craft Studio, the shop remains a staple in Berea's art community.

Husband and wife duo Neil and Mary Colmer met in Berea and opened the studio together in 1989, Neil leading the weaving and Mary creating handmade corn husk dolls.

Years of crafting, showcasing art, and interacting with locals and travelers have given the couple a story or two. 

"I've got a signed letter from the White House," said Mary, pointing to a framed letter on the wall. "President Clinton sent me a thank you letter because I made a get well present for him. He said he loves my work.”

For Mary, the thrill of the job is watching the door, waiting to see who enters her home away from home. Often, customers come from far beyond Berea.

"People from every occupation, every race, every religion, they all come through this door and every day I don't know who my guests are going to be," said Mary.

Visitors to Weaver's Bottom Craft Studio are first greeted by a song on the dulcimer before Mary weaves them through the fairy homes, bedspreads and dishcloths, fine art, and assorted crafts filling the shop.

By now, Mary seems to have mastered more than her craft. She and her husband Neil have kept their business afloat through tornadoes and pandemics. Still, Mary said it wasn't always picture-perfect.

"There were many months where our bank account got to 98 cents, and I would have to go up and beg the lady not to charge me a late fee because that's all I had in the account," said Mary.

With a lot of love, hard work, and the embrace of Berea, Weaver's Bottom Craft Studio still stands today. The thought still gives Mary goosebumps.

"The idea that I could do art and people would buy it…wow, I hadn't even thought of that.”

Even as Neil retires and the loom moves slightly slower, Mary isn't ready to let up. She has no plans of closing the doors on the beloved corner shop anytime soon. Just as Berea sustained her passion for years, she plans to bolster the arts community for years.

"I am just beginning, no doubt about it.”