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Julie Janeczek and her sister Sarah sell other hand-made items, such as dyed napkins and kitchen towels, as well as vintage housewares through their Etsy store. Kirsten Lewis photos
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Janeczek’s silk and cotton rag rugs are $35 to $115 on Etsy, depending on the size and intricacy of the design.
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During her college days at Virginia Commonwealth University, Visual Arts Center fiber instructor Julie Janeczek didn't see herself as a weaver. She was more of a jewelry kind o' gal. "I thought [weaving] was so slow and tedious and boring," she says, laughing. Years later, after serendipitously becoming a weaving instructor, Janeczek had a change of heart and fell in love with the meditative practice. She now spends most of her crafting time at her loom, weaving silk and cotton rag rugs.
"Now I love weaving," Janeczek says. "It's meditative, and at home I'll put the radio on or a movie on and just go for a couple hours at a time."
R•Home: How did you get your start in rug weaving?
Julie Janeczek: I went to VCU for apparel design and fiber. And, I actually hated weaving when I first learned. … When I started working here [Visual Arts Center], I started teaching other classes, and then they needed a weaving teacher for the kids in the summer, and I said I could do that. … It rekindled my enjoyment of it, and I've been teaching weaving pretty solidly ever since. It's now something that
I really enjoy.
R•Home: How often do you teach?
Janeczek: I teach adults floor-loom weaving on Sundays. I also teach a tapestry-weaving class for a senior group called Studio S that meets on Friday mornings. That is really fun, and they are very vivacious.
R•Home: What kind of students do you teach in your adult class? Do they have an artistic background?
Janeczek: All kinds. I have people that have come [from] as far as Charlottesville or the beach and come once a week. I have people sign up for the class because they walked by the windows and saw these machines and were like, "What is that? I have to know what that is." And then I have people who are big knitters or crocheters, and it's a natural next step. And because the equipment is so large and expensive and takes a lot to maintain, I have students who have been taking every weaving session with me for two or three years, and they are now getting their own equipment.
R•Home: What kinds of rugs do you weave and what kinds of fibers do you use?
Janeczek: I like to use natural fibers — so, cotton, silk, sometimes rayon. Most of the rugs that I make now are cotton and silk. And a lot of the silk is leftover from the film Lincoln. A lot of the silk came from that — drapery silk.
R•Home: What did you
do for Lincoln?
Janeczek: I was doing set dressing and drapery — so, sewing and upholstering and all that interior stuff.
R•Home: Why did you decide to start selling your rugs?
Janeczek: I started making rugs for myself and my friends, and then I noticed that there wasn't a lot of weaving happening in the Etsy community and creative communities because it's so specialized. But it's gaining a lot of popularity, and people want to learn it. When my sister and I were conceiving our business, which was a little less than a year ago, I thought I'd make a run of rugs and see what kind of feedback we got. We opened our Etsy store in September , so it hasn't been long.
R•Home: What other items do you and your sister sell on your Etsy site?
Janeczek: A lot of vintage housewares and handmade pillows, and hand-dyed textiles, and kitchen towels and cloth napkins.