Anna Lynn Bender
Creator of one-of-a-kind, hand-woven Swedish rugs
by: Margaret Carroll-Bergman
photography by: Nicole Harnishfeger
Anna Lynn Bender opened the Weaving Room in 1984 when all an enterprising artist needed to start a cottage industry was a nail, a sign and a front door.
“I put a sign up, people came by, and I took orders,” says Bender of the Weaving Room’s early days at 73 Orange Street.
Word spread about Bender’s beautiful one-of-a-kind, hand-woven Swedish rugs and more than 20 years later, the sign is still there and the front door is still open.
Bender was born in England, but spent the first year of her life in Zimbabwe, where her father worked as a building foreman. The family didn’t stay long.
“Mother thought Apartheid was unjust and being Swedish, she thought Stockholm would be a better place to raise children,” says Bender.
As a 6-year-old, Bender weaved small cotton rugs for her dollhouse, learning the craft from her grandmother Alice, who had a cottage on one of the 24,000 islands which make up the Stockholm archipelago.