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Photo of John Stathopoulos holding broom, sitting on a ladder

#TraditionsTuesday: John Stathopoulos

Today’s #TraditionsTuesday artist is John Stathopoulos—known to their friends as Jone— who practices traditional broom making in Athens, Ohio. They first became interested in broom making while learning about Shaker crafts and through the Foxfire organization’s book series. Stathopoulos studied broom making with Cynthia Main at The Cabbage School in North Carolina. Main is a pioneer in modern broom making, and her work has inspired many of Stathopoulos’ pieces. 

Broom making takes several special skills: a lot of patience, Stathopoulos said, and the ability to do repetitive, fine muscle movements. Broom makers use all of their limbs when crafting their pieces, and use their whole body's force to hold the tension of the weaving line. 

In addition to broom making, Stathopoulos also practices woodworking and carpentry, including theatrical scenery, fine furniture making, and residential carpentry. “I like to always have a project in the works to keep my hands busy!” they said. 

You can find their brooms at fairs and farmer’s markets here in Ohio and online at www.sweepingjone.com

EXPAND: Learn more about Foxfire, a Southern Appalachian history and heritage organization based in Georgia, which publishes the books that inspired Stathopoulos at www.foxfire.org. They also maintain a museum and heritage center showing what life was like in the mountains from the 1820s to the 1940s. 

EXPERIENCE: Visit www.sweepingjone.com for more information about their work! 

EXPLORE: Athens County offers arts opportunities of all kinds throughout the year, including the weekly Athens Art Market which features local artists. Explore this and more at athensohio.com.  

 

Article by Cristina Benedetti, Folk and Traditional Arts Contractor
Images courtesy of John Stathopoulos



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