Warren Ainslie

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  • 12 March, 2016
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Brooms

    Growing up on a farm in upstate New York I have always been drawn to gardening and creative handwork.  In 1985 I combined these two interests and made a few brooms from broomcorn that I grew myself using instructions in Yankee Magazine.  Shortly after, I began working at the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown NY where I learned new skills making brooms on 19th Century equipment.  It was there that I met fellow broommaker, Rachel Hamblin, who became my wife, and together we began searching out early broom tools to equip our own shop.  

    We settled on my home farm and established Dancing Veggie Farm, eventually narrowing our specialties to biodynamic garlic, handcrafted brooms, and homeschooled daughters.  We spent many years selling our wares at farmers’ markets, fine craft shows, and festivals.  Our Colonial Peg Broom was chosen to be included in the Early American Life Directory of Traditional American Crafts in 2006, and another broom of our own design won Best of Show at the City of the Hills Fine Arts Festival in 2005. 

    Our brooms are crafted with 19th Century tools using commercially grown broomcorn, on handles we harvest from the farm.  Some handles are natural saplings with the bark left on, full of texture and character.  Others are draw-shaved smooth from farm lumber and have a more elegant look.  We always seek to make brooms that are pleasing to the eye and a pleasure to use.  

 

*A quick note about the labels.  The originals were handset and printed on a Liberty Letterpress by Rachel during a class at the Farmers’ Museum.  It is traditional to place them “upside down” on the handle so the label can be read when the brooms stand on end in the display rack. 

 

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