Rug-weaving is substitute for sleep for Roslyn couple
By EMMA GALLAGHER
Sep. 03, 2018
ROSLYN, S.D. (AP) — If it's 3 in the morning and they can't sleep, it must be time for some rug-weaving.
At least that's the mindset of one Roslyn couple.
Married for 39 years, Ardella and Jay Galvin, both 75, spend as much time as they can creating woven rugs in their shop, which is spread across three buildings and multiple trailers, the American News reported. They use 17 looms.
Over time they've put a lot of effort into their work and are proud of what they've created.
"We fully stand behind our rugs," Ardella Galvin said. "(Jay) and I have been doing this together for almost 40 years, and we've never had a rug come back."
While their marriage was the beginning of the work for Jay Galvin, his wife has been at it for nearly 65 years.
When she was 10, Ardella Galvin's family purchased a loom as a way to bring in some extra money. She and her three siblings each had jobs to do. Being the oldest, Galvin had a little more experience and responsibility. That exposure and learning the ins and outs of the looms is why she has maintained interest through six decades.
This rug was completed after nearly half a day on the loom. Most rugs take about 10 hours of weaving on the loom.
But there have definitely been some changes since her family acquired the first loom — one still used today.
For starters, the price of a rug back then was $2 or $3. Today, it's closer to $40.
The couple also uses its own material for rugs rather than it being provided by customers. That's why the stockpile of material seems to take over the entire Galvin shop. There are nearly 1,000 chenille bedspreads and a couple thousand flannel sheets, as well as stacks of corduroy and denim lining the walls, the Galvins estimate.
From these walls of material the process could take a few days before material actually put on the loom and made into a rug. These preparation days consist of tearing the material into strips, fraying it out, sewing strips together and rolling the material into a ball to reduce the amount of space it takes up.
"When we really want to stay to it we'll make three a day, but getting the material ready could take four days," Ardella Galvin said.
But the extra time is necessary.
"We're fussy," she said. "We just don't rush through it."
Upon seeing a finished product, they know their time was worthwhile.
"I like seeing the aftermath," Jay Galvin said. "Getting to see what it looks like."
Ardella Galvin said the same, and thinks she and her husband surprise themselves with what they make.
"You really never know how pretty it's going to be until it's done and you look at it," she said. "We look at it and say, 'Geez, you know people aren't gonna believe we made this.'"
Every year the Galvins travel to about 12 shows where they both sell their products and show off their loom. Although they used to travel all over, now they're sticking to nearby shows in South Dakota, North Dakota and Iowa.
As they start to slow down a bit, it's their hope that down the road relatives will inherit the looms and carry on what they've been doing for so long.
That shouldn't be a problem as the couple has grandchildren who are already involved and taking an interest in the process, Galvin said.
But even with family willing to take over, the couple is holding onto the craft, working as much as possible.
"We pretty well are always together (working)," she said.
Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com