April 25, 2003 | By: Aimee D. Heald

An old, bottomless wooden chair may not necessarily be destined for the trash. 

Joyce Barton of Woodbine, Ky. really wanted to restore an old chair that belonged to her husband’s parents, but the bottom was gone. She heard about a Cooperative Extension Homemaker’s class teaching the almost “lost art” of stool and chair bottom weaving.

Other participants learned to weave chair bottoms.

“I went to the class and did a stool,” she said. “Then I was able to come home and do the chair bottom. I like carrying on a craft that’s been done for years. I’d really like to see more people learn it and keep it alive.”

Barton was part of a group that met for a stool weaving workshop recently in Knox County. Peggy Helton, Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in nearby Whitley County, made the trip to teach participants how to weave. She’s been carrying out similar programs in Knox County which currently is without an FCS agent.

“We have a lot of interest in weaving,” she said. “Some leaders and I went to a class at Pine Mountain to learn this and we brought it back and we’ve been offering our own classes. It really seems to appeal to people of all ages.”

Participants paid a fee for a pre-assembled stool frame and reeds for the woven part of the stool. At the workshop, they learned about weaving and different patterns available for different items. Then they got to work and were able to leave with a stool of their own.

“I enjoy doing this,” said Raquel Congleton, Knox County town and country homemaker club. “My children are always standing in line for whatever products I turn out. I think it’s really worthwhile to come to the things Extension offers.

Barton’s daughter and granddaughter have attended weaving workshops and are creating items themselves. Barton said anyone can learn to do it and she’s already got her eye on an old rocking chair at home for her next project.

Helton said she’s not surprised by the interest of younger people in weaving.

“Anytime you have a hands-on project, kids love it,” she said. “This summer I plan to teach this at 4-H camp. The campers will be able to assemble a stool and then weave the bottom.”


Peggy Helton  606-549-1430