By Sue Erwin
Photos by Caroline Clabaugh
Amother-and-daughter rug-hooking team
has taken over two storefronts in the
“Plaza on the Cape” located in Rotonda
West off Gasparilla Road, and set up a studio to do
what they love – hooking rugs with dyed wool.
Searsport Rug Hooking South is a new shop and
studio tucked into the plaza at the corner of
Gasparilla Road and Chailett Road and Chris
Sherman and her daughter, Julie Mattison, are the
proprietors, but they didn’t plan on forming a
business partnership 38 years ago ... it just
Chris and Julie come from generations of creative
women. Chris’ grandmother sold embroideries, and
her mother made everything from clothing to
curtains. Chris followed the same pattern. She
recalled that her aunt had a big old farmhouse, with
every floor was covered with a handmade rug.
The mother and daughter team originally started
out with a small craft shop in Pennsylvania, where
they sold dried and silk flower arrangements.
It was called the Quilted Chicken, named for
a breadwarmer cover that sat on a basket in
Chris and her husband, Wayne, moved to
Maine and changed the business name to Silk
Weeds. The thriving gift shop became a 7,000
sq. ft. retail store which they ran from 1991
to 2004. Julie and her husband, Neil, also
relocated to Maine to help run the store.
In 2004, a friend introduced Julie to rug
hooking, and she found a new passion. She
spent quiet nights at Silk Weeds sewing rugs.
Customers were curious about the craft, and
their interest convinced Julie and Chris to
include it in the store’s product line.