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Learning the long-lost art of broom making

Learning the long-lost art of broom making
Create your own handcrafted broom at one of several workshops taught by professional broom maker Bethany Ridenour. (Bethany Ridenour)

One crafter is turning the lost art of broom making into something far more symbolic than a cleaning tool.

As a girl, Ridenour lived in a series of group homes. Struggling to feel safe in her environment, she became obsessed with brooms and sweeping. “I became a neat freak,” says Ridenour, who is now 35. “I would clean all the time.”

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Now, Ridenour, who lives in Twisp, Wash., travels up and down the West Coast teaching broom making, a skill she describes as “ancestral,” and is leading several upcoming workshops in Los Angeles. She also sells her hand-made brooms on Etsy. Ridenour hopes her classes illuminate the disparity between lovingly handmade items and machine-made goods.

“We often discuss how distant we have become from making things,” she says. “I want people to walk away from my workshops with a deeper respect for the land and for the energy it takes to make the things we use.”

Craft your very own “turkey wing” broom at one of several workshops taught by broom expert Bethany Ridenour.
Craft your very own “turkey wing” broom at one of several workshops taught by broom expert Bethany Ridenour. (Bethany Ridenour)

Intro to Broom Making workshops

When: 4:30 p.m. March 21

Where: Hillstreet Country Club, 530 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

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When: 6:30 to 10 p.m. March 22

Where: Casa Coatlicue, 1501 Loma Verde St., Monterey Park

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When: 9 a.m. to noon and 6 to 9 p.m. March 23

Where: Moona Star Collective, 137 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga

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When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 24

Where: Ecology Center, 32701 Alipaz St, San Juan Capistrano

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