A few days ago, we had a visit from a couple who happened to come to Washington Island for the day. Driving by, the shop immediately caught their eye as their name was Sievers, too! They took a photo in front of the building near the sign that says “Sievers Est. 1979”. Coincidentally, they happened to get married in 1979!
We’ve been asked and often mention the origin of the business name, Sievers. Although Walter Schutz was the founder, it was his wife Sophie (Sievers) Schutz who was a weaver, learning at the Beloit, WI vocational school. Using her loom as a jumping off point, Walter designed loom plans and began selling them to do-it-yourself builders via mail order. In choosing a name for the business, he liked how “Sievers” rhymed with “weavers”, how it honored Sophie and besides, he said he didn’t feel “the Schutz Loom Company would go very far.”
The Sievers Coat of Arms as shown above was established in Schleswig-Holstein in the 12th century. All parts refer to the production of farm animals such as sheep or crops.
Since then, not only loom plan sheets, but small assembled looms, floor loom kits, spinning wheels, latchet boards, weaving accessories, astrological herbal tea and English basket willow cuttings all carried the name Sievers. Each one has it’s own unique story.
Today, there are two separate businesses that carry the name Sievers. One of course, is Sievers School of Fiber Arts. The other is perhaps less known to our students, but widely known to model train hobbyists, Sievers Benchwork. Originating from an idea and article Walter Schutz wrote in 1952 for Model Railroader magazine, Sievers Benchwork has offered modular sections, legs and angle pieces via mail order (1979) and online (2002), shipping orders almost daily. An interest of Walter and Sophie’s two sons, Jack and Tom, the family’s hobbies were transformed into businesses.
Sievers Benchwork proves to be a perfect fit as orders tend to increase from late-fall through springtime. To add to our online presence we’ve just opened a Facebook page for Sievers Benchwork.
For us, Sievers is not just a name, it’s a family. A family of students, teachers, friends, artists, craftspeople and hobbyists…in other words, you!Share Sievers with Friends...