Illinois Prairie Weavers

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Remembering Bev Savel

As a Guild, we have been saddened with Bev Savel leaving us too soon and leaving a hole that cannot be filled in our small community of weavers. I joined our Guild when Bev was co-president with her best friend, Bev Atseff. I loved their enthusiasm for weaving and for the Guild. They joked between themselves and had the same train of thought, which made me feel very comfortable sitting there and being part of the group. It is hard to separate Bev Savel from Bev Atseff as they had been first co-workers, then friends, and then business partners for 35 years. Jokingly, it was said they were velcroed together.

They met during the 80's, while Bev Atseff was the Craft Director at the Graue Mill; and when she taught Bev to weave, their friendship started. Soon after, Bev became the Craft Director and Volunteer Coordinator at the Mill. Together, in 1991, they decided to open a business, 2-B Weavers, to cater to weavers and spinners. Their retail and teaching establishment was in three successive locations. (Many people may not know this, but to make money on the side for the business, they also started a business hanging wallpaper aptly called 2-B Hung.) Bev thoroughly enjoyed her time teaching weavers no matter what their level of experience. She was patient and respectful of the students' needs and ideas. As a member of the ArchiTextural study group, she loved doing research on Chicago's architecture, a city she loved, for the group to weave their interpretations of buildings, parks, and attractions.

Bev became a member of our guild during the 1982-83 year. She served as president four times (three of them with Bev Atseff), five years as membership/publicity chair in the 90's, and belonged to several study groups. In 1999, the Guild celebrated a 50 year anniversary. The Bev's organized an exhibit at Joliet Junior College which also went to Midwest Weavers Conference where it received special recognition. All of the Guild members wove pieces for this exhibit in gold and white.

For 27 years, Bev and her husband--along with Bev Atseff and her husband--spent time each summer at the same cottage in Michigan. Normal for them would be packing three cars for four people plus looms and supplies. Sometimes they wove, sometimes they did not, but it was all good, spending time with friends. They found out bead work was much easier to pack and take with them when traveling to the cottage. They often joked that if an accident should happen they would be out on their hands and knees picking up beads one by one and telling each other "there's a red one here and another red one over there".

"Handwoven", "Midwest Living" and "Shuttle Spindle and Dyepot" are magazines that have published Bev's articles and patterns. Her Crayon and Blanket Pillows pattern can still be downloaded from "Weaving Today". You can tell by that pattern she liked to weave with bright colors. Weaving and spinning were not the only crafts Bev was involved in--she was also a knitter. Once when knitting a hat that somehow was a little too large to wear, Bev showed it to the group as a knitted manhole cover! It was Bev's beadwork that had many in awe. She beaded many Chicago landmarks in great detail. Her specialty was Chicago theater marquees. Both fashions and household weavings appeared at many Convergences and Midwest Weavers' Conference exhibits. She won numerous awards at these events, being recognized both for her originality and technical ability.

There are very few members who have not been a recipient of her knowledge or helpfulness. For each of us, Bev touched our lives in many different ways...whether it was as a teacher, mentor, or friend. We are collectively better because our paths crossed with hers.

W.S. Merwin

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle
Everything I do is stitched with its color