Broom Co. — A Broom to Sweep Away All Your Troubles
Against a dramatic backdrop of skyscrapers that comb the sky, Granville Island in Vancouver is a microcosm of little roads lined with interesting shops, restaurants, and galleries. Known for its market stocked with the freshest of produce, it also has some of the most unusual shopping in the city if not the region.
Finding our way around on a beautiful autumn day, we stopped to pause and admire the windows of Broom Co., drawn in as if by a magnet, attracted by the diverse collection of handmade brooms. As we walked around touching them, we found myself admiring the tight cotton binding worked into a unique design, the interesting shape of the handles: a bundle of grass that was now a broom. Unexpectedly, we were transported to a gallery of uniquely designed objects.
These brooms are being made in the authentic Shaker tradition: by hand, on a custom broom making machine. Two sisters, Mary and Susan Schwieger, learned the craft from their parents who learned it from bonafide, modern-day Shakers.
They take turns making the brooms — sitting at the machine, working the foot treadle while shaping the head of the broom requires dexterity, coordination, and strength.
Once the grass is selected, the handle is placed and they are bound tightly together.
Most of the handles are made from golden wood or eucalyptus, but what makes them interesting is their shape. Some of them gnarled by age and weather, and lined up on the wall, they resemble pieces of art.
But equally attractive, are the handles made from forged iron.
Perhaps some are more handsome than others… but each broom was made to be used. Due to the variety of sizes, handle types and intricacy, the shop stocks up to 700 brooms with prices ranging from $60 to $800 Canadian Dollars.
While brooms have a practical function, they also can be highly symbolic and Broom Co.’s brooms are no different. This is a charming idea with a message to accompany a housewarming gift:
Bread, so you may never go hungry,
salt, to add flavor to your life,
and a broom to sweep away all your troubles.
1406 Old Bridge Street,
Vancouver, BC V6H 3S6
Tel. 604/629-1141 or 855/519-0506
Hours: 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. daily.