Uniontown weaver spins ordinary thread into extraordinary cloth NORTHWEST--Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown


February 18, 1993|By JUDY REILLY

Georgia Groomes' two looms stand at the ready for the next project. Bolts of fabric decorate a basement wall; huge spools of thread line another. A stack of finished projects fills a hand-woven basket.

The telephone is buried under fabric, materials and tools. An old spinning wheel adds to the character and charm of the room, as do the Christmas wreath, poinsettia plant and other reminders of the past season.

It's the cheerful clutter of Ms. Groomes' studio -- the space on the ground level of her home where the Uniontown weaver and fabric artist spins ordinary thread into extraordinary cloth.

Ms. Groomes has been weaving since 1987. A self-taught artist who has had a life-long interest in fabrics and textiles, she was a quilter for years before becoming a weaver. Intricate and expertly executed quilts decorate the walls of her home and studio, transforming ordinary spaces into a gallery of color and design.

Ms. Groomes loved quilting, but was ready to go beyond cutting out and sewing fabrics. She wanted to create her own.

"The more I saw weaving, the more I wanted to do it," she says. "I liked the touch."

When a friend said she was selling her old loom, Ms. Groomes jumped at the chance to buy it.

"But the loom sat for a while," she said. "Then my husband got interested in weaving, so we bought a book [about weaving] and then taught ourselves."

Since then, Ms. Groomes has traveled from Cape Cod to Baltimore in pursuit of workshops and classes led by expert weavers. She's honed her skills, mastered new techniques and had her work critiqued, and has become a master weaver.

She specializes in weaving the finest mercerized cotton threads into dense, luxurious cloth. Color plays a major role in her work, so she enjoys the fine cottons because of their wide color range and design potential.

Working with small threads is slow and labor-intensive -- a small scarf takes about 10 hours. But, for her, the joy is in the doing.

"The actual weaving is what I like best, watching threads become cloth right before your eyes," she says.

Her designs are traditional, with a contemporary flair, much like the home she shares with husband, Russell, and their two children. Perched high on a hill on Uniontown Road, the compact New England-style house is deliberately simple, filled with antiques and handcrafts created by friends. She has a sweeping view of the Maryland countryside and can see Gettysburg when the weather is right.

Photographers and artists often stop by the house to ask if they can capture the view from the Groomes' property. It's an atmosphere that can nourish an artist for a long time.

Ms. Groomes spends about 30 hours a week weaving, and the balance of her work days at Uniquely Crafted, a Carroll artisans cooperative in Westminster. It's there that you can find her woven scarves, table runners and rag rugs for sale.

To learn more about Georgia Groomes and her craft, call the cooperative at 857-9194.


Calling all last-minute shoppers and collectors!

You have until Feb. 26 to order salt-glazed pottery that commemorates the historic Uniontown Elementary School.

A variety of styles are available, from plates to mugs.

Information: 848-4441.


The New Windsor Recreation Council will conduct baseball and softball sign-ups from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday in the New Windsor Middle School cafeteria.

Girls ages 6 to 16 and boys 6 to 18 are welcome.

Parents may want to volunteer as coaches or concession stand personnel. It feels more like summer just thinking about baseball!

Information: 775-7638 or 875-2399.


Don't let the gray skies and slush on the streets make your cabin fever worse than it is this month.

Join your favorite senior at the Taneytown Senior Center for a spaghetti dinner and bingo on Feb. 25. Tickets for the dinner are $3. Bingo is a nickel per card.

Information: 756-4557.


The American Legion will fight midwinter doldrums with an Oyster and Beef Feed from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Legion Hall in Taneytown. Tickets are $14.

Information: 756-6769.

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