(A wonderful variety of colors and sizes.)
Dean and Pat Brateng emit the down-to-earth, hometown friendliness that inspired me to open a Scandinavian Shoppe in Roseau. Dean has been weaving longer than I've been alive and it shows in the craftsmanship and the quality of his beautifully woven rugs and bags.
For our Artist feature this month, we are featuring Dean's weaving and a bit of his story.
(A unique and durable woven bag!)
Dean was first introduced to the art of weaving by his Aunt Lillie Peterson of Roseau. Dean's Aunt Lillie was a well-known rug weaver and had many customers throughout Northwestern Minnesota.
When Dean was a young boy, his mother would drop him off at Aunt Lillie's house while she ran errands in town. It was during these times spent with his Aunt, that Dean began to learn about loom weaving. Aunt Lillie would put Dean to work cutting materials along with other tasks and it was then that Dean's lifelong interest in weaving began.
(Dean at his loom weaving a beautiful Scandinavian inspired design.)
Years later when Aunt Lilly went into the nursing home, Dean inherited her loom. As the story goes, the loom was Dean's if he agreed to keep the loom in the family. And today, Dean and Pat have created a loyal customer base and their rugs can be found in countless homes.
A key collaborator in the weaving process is Dean's wife, Pat. I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing Pat's stories about how generous the community is when it's time to get rid of clothing, especially old denim jeans. The Brateng's have often come home to their farm in rural Wannaska to large boxes and bags of jeans sitting on the front porch or in the yard. Because of their reputation for rug weaving, many folks are aware that Dean and Pat will know exactly what to do with the items... they will re-purpose the clothing and create something lovely and useful. I asked Pat if she finds it a little odd to come home to other peoples' clothing and she only smiled, laughed and said they're "used to it."
We are very pleased to carry the Brateng's weavings and appreciate that when they're not farming, gardening and doing a variety of other tasks (they are busy!) Dean and Pat are creating rugs and bags for the En Liten Svensk (A Little Swedish) Shoppe!