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Weavers rebuild their lives, one creation at a time | News

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Weavers rebuild their lives, one creation at a time

(WXIA) -- "Magic happens in here," Lisa Wise said from inside a low-slung building at the back of a gravel drive on the outskirts of Decatur.

Wise is executive director at Initiative for Affordable Housing. The magic she is talking about involves a rhythm made by pedals, pushing, pulling and patience.

"Weaving has been around since the beginning of time," Wise said. "It's an old, old craft. It's very tactile."

Discarded and landfill-bound fabrics line the shelves inside this little shop. Plastic bags from Target, Kroger and Publix get permanent second lives as they are made into rugs and even purses.

Faye Rutledge puts something else into everything she makes -- herself.

"Every product I did was a therapy session," she said. "You bang as hard as you want, and you just bang it all out."

Rutledge, like every weaver inside the house, came to this job at the lowest point in her life.

"A couple years ago, I was homeless, without a job and in search of assistance," she said.

Her life changed direction the day she was hired at re:loom, the Initiative for Affordable Housing's work program.

"I knew if I got here every day, I could have a paycheck, which means I could pay bills, get whatever my daughter is needing," Rutledge said. "I could survive."

In a world obsessed with technology, the only web inside the weave house is one of string -- but Rutledge now manages re:loom's website.

The weavers work full time and get full benefits. Everything they sell supports them.

"Weaving is very therapeutic and meditative," Wise said.

No less important, but harder to see, is how each of re:loom's employees, discarded scrap by discarded scrap, weave better and brighter futures for themselves, one creation at a time.


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