Shay Bergeron

"While working as a barista and bartender near Zion National Park--struggling through shifts of late night cocktails followed by early morning cappuccinos--I felt like I was failing at life. I wondered if I would ever be "enough." Then I came across a self-care mantra: I joyfully provide my family's material needs. I laughed out loud at the absurdity of this statement! I thought, Do people actually say this to themselves?! And they believe it?! How?!

To my surprise, however, the affirmation stuck. In the following months, these words came back to me again and again. So, one day, I set a goal: I would work toward being able to honestly say that I, too, joyfully provide my family's material needs. I took a mental inventory of my skills. I also thought about what kind of work has brought me joy. My strongest, happiest memories are of playing with fiber and making textiles with my Grandmother--something we have done my entire life. Then I realized--as I made this skills assessment--I was sitting on a beautiful hand-woven wool rug made by my Grandma. That was it!

Naturally, Grandma was my first call. I discovered that the "scraps" she uses to make her rugs are very precious, indeed. They are the first "imperfect edge" removed when making Pendleton Wool blankets. I had no idea how much waste is produced in the manufacturing of wool fabric--over 15,000 pounds per week at the Pendleton mills alone. I was shocked by this information, and wanted to give new life to this beautiful "waste." I rented a minivan and bought my first 300 pounds of wool scraps in the fall of 2015 from the Pendleton outlet in Portland. Between my bartending and barista shifts, I drove the six hours from my house to Grandma's farm to weave in the garage. When I bought my second 300 pounds of wool late 2016, Grandma knew I was serious about being a weaver. She teamed up with a friend, scoured the classifieds and found me my very own 83-year-old carpet loom!

Gertrude McGrannyloom (that is what I named her) and I weave meditation mats very different from the rugs Grandma and I used to make. I use at least twice the material with a tighter weave to ensure ultimate comfort on any surface. Some edges are hand tied with a fringe, some are woven reclaimed silk with a machine sewn hemmed edge. I weave squares and rectangles and custom sizes from 12"-36" wide, as long as you would like up to 21'. I call them mediation mats, but they have many uses. I love creating beautiful, functional art while reducing waste. I hope my pieces bring as much comfort and joy into your life as they have to mine!"