The Lowdown

Lake County Developmental Achievement Center Handmade Rugs for Duluth Pack

November 21, 2011
Canvas strips about to be turned into rugs

Canvas strips about to be turned into rugs

“To support each individual to achieve the highest level of independence,” is the mission statement of the Lake County Developmental Achievement Center (DAC). And what an exemplary mission they have accepted to support individuals with development disabilities and help them reach their maximum potential. Included in the wide range of services offered by the DAC is the sale of hand woven rugs made from recycled materials.

We visited the Lake County DAC last week, and were treated to a warm reception and many smiling faces. In addition to sharing introductions and camaraderie with the good folks at the DAC, we wanted the opportunity to learn more about the program and share their story with a wider audience.

The rug making process begins here at Duluth Pack in the cutting department. Our leftover canvas is cut into strips and then transported to the DAC building in Knife River. There the long strands of canvas are sorted, straightened, and glued together in multi-colored strands to be loaded onto the shuttle. That shuttle is then handed off to the weaver who sends it back and forth between the strings on the loom.  The weaver compresses each strand and then passes the shuttle again across the loom. Slowly a rug is built, and then a second, and a third until the roll beneath the weaver is full.

The long roll of rugs is removed from the loom and cut into the individual rugs for sale both internally and through outside sources. You may find these hand-built, quality rugs made from Duluth Pack materials by the skilled people at the DAC in our Canal Park Store or on our website.

It was an enjoying and fulfilling experience to watch and photograph the DAC artisans complete each step of the process. The Lake County DAC describes their programs as “providing a safe place to grow and be a part of something bigger than themselves.” I give kudos to the staff and program participants who have all become people of substantial character and consequence in my eyes.

 Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, may your holiday be as uplifting as my visit to Lake County DAC.

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