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Monica & Ron Spooner
Founders of Threadbender Textiles 501(C)(3)

Before we married, I (Monica Spooner) warned my husband Ron that I had two weaknesses: books and fabric. He married me anyway. After teaching elementary school for seven years, I was happy to stay home as a mother. Early in our marriage, while visiting Ron's family, we admired and brought home a handmade loom. It wasn't long before the lure of more shafts drew me in and we purchased an 8-shaft Baby Wolf.

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Weaving was tucked into the small spaces of time between children and activities. On my 40th birthday, my husband surprised me with a Schacht Matchless, confirming my warnings and affirming his support. When I was 46, I found myself pregnant with our sixth child, Abby, a beautiful daughter who was born with Down Syndrome. As much as we loved her, and as sweet as she looked in her handspun booties, it was a time of major adjustments and medical challenges.

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One afternoon I sought solitude with the latest Handwoven magazine. To my surprise, it contained an article about Mountain Valley Weavers, a group of handweavers with special needs who sold their products in a beautiful gallery. What an epiphany of hope! Who knew what Abby might be able to accomplish?

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Several years later, when the physical therapist suggested strengthening Abby's shoulders and arms, I thought again of the loom. Weaving soon became Abby's therapy. And with her 'don't worry be happy' style, she eventually became an accomplished weaver. Weaving has empowered our daughter to create gifts that are useful, attractive and genuinely appreciated. We used to tease Abby -- who loved the Avatar animated series about fire, air, water and earth benders -- that she was a "thread"-bender; and so was born Threadbender Textiles. The possibility of actualizing a weaving studio similar to Mountain Valley Weavers became a reality.

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We bought and started out with just four Cricket looms so I could teach others in Abby's community to weave, and now Threadbender Textiles is an art and weaving studio for adults with diverse abilities who have the opportunity to create things of value for others and nurture the spark of creativity in us all.