Weaving & Leaving a Legacy: Chuck Benson

These rugs were woven by members of the Rag Rug Study Group. (We meet the third Tuesday of every month, 6:30 at WGM.) We wove these rugs in memory of Chuck Benson, a Rag Rug Study Group member who died in March, 2017. (You can read his obituary, here.) The fabrics came from Chuck and were among the many items Chuck directed to be donated to the Weavers Guild. He was a creative and inspiring rug weaver and good friend.

Charles (Chuck) Benson was an active and respected member of the Weavers Guild of Minnesota and the Rag Rug Study Group for many years. He taught art in the Edina public schools, and taught rag rug weaving classes at the Weavers Guild as well as at Sun City West, Arizona. He was constantly trying new techniques and was willing to share his expertise and experience.

Chuck demonstrated weaving at the Minnesota State Fair Creative Activities building and entered rugs and wall hangings in the competitions, winning several ribbons. When Paula Pfaff and Janet Meany’s “Rag Rug Handbook“ came out, he wove every rug in it.

You never knew what he’d bring to the Rag Rug Group meetings:  a blue-jean based series one time, and a runner using over 100 neckties the next. Chuck brought in his stash of denim as a challenge to the Rag Rug Group to weave rugs out of recycled jeans. He had a “roadkill“ collection – rugs made out of clothing picked up on roadsides!

Chuck’s last challenge to us, it turns out, was his stash of recycled fabric, much of it already cut into strips, to weave into rugs and donate to a charity.

In honor of Chuck, members of the study group wove his stash into rugs and the rugs were donated to Bridging, an organization that provides essential home items to Twin Cities families in need. Participating WGM members were:  Nedra Granquist, Jo Hill, Judy Larson, Jan Nelson, Ellen Richard, Martha Riel, and Peter Withoff (who took the challenge to heart and wove five rugs!). Donna Gravesen also prepared and finished some additional weavings done by Chuck for donation, which included rugs, placemats, runners, and mug rugs. Connie Campbell delivered all the items to Bridging. 

Bridging provides donated furniture and household goods to families and individuals transitioning out of homelessness and poverty. Bridging gives hope–and for many–a leap toward financial stability for the first time. With locations in Roseville and Bloomington, Bridging is driven by volunteers and donations of basic home essential items from the community.

Since 1987, Bridging has served nearly 90,000 local Twin Cities households and reduces landfill space by 10 million pounds each year. Bridging included two of the donated rugs in their upcoming Gala on October 5 and are grateful to WGM Rag Rug group for the donations.

Chuck Benson was a great teacher, a creative weaver, and a fantastic friend. He is missed.

— Donna Gravesen, Rod Pedley, Nedra Granquist with additional content by Jan Nelson