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A Broomsquire Walks Among Us

Local Artist Handcrafts Brooms in the Ancient Way

Broomsquire Amanda Lee Lazorchack at the entrance of her workshop.
Broomsquire Amanda Lee Lazorchack at the entrance of her workshop. (Courtesy | Mak Allen)
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Not many people identify as broomsquires anymore.

The idea of someone handcrafting brooms might conjure medieval images of an old woman hobbling around a shack in the woods. But that doesn’t spring to mind when meeting Amanda Lee Lazorchack – even though she actually does craft brooms in a shack.

Lazorchack says that DIY was her first love. For 15 years she has made and sold art around the world under the moniker Please Send Word.

Amanda Lee Lazorchack at work making brooms.
Amanda Lee Lazorchack handcrafts about 100 brooms a year in her backyard shop. She has pursued the craft for the past five years. (Courtesy | Mak Allen)

“I traveled really hard for a long time as a lifestyle and as a profession, and when you travel for a long time your heart is spread out all over the country and all over the world,” Lazorchack said. “I really like to write letters and be a penpal, so it’s ‘please, send word.’ Let your people know you love them.”

The latest iteration of Please Send Word is Lazorchack’s handcrafted brooms. Through a painstaking, centuries-old process that traces back to the heathland areas of England, she makes about 100 brooms a year.

Embedded in every tool is her belief that maintenance is sacred. For her, homemaking has turned into an almost spiritual practice.

“What is our relationship with the things that must be done that maybe we don’t want to do,” she asked. “I think that we have the power to change our relationship with those things.”

Each of her brooms is unique. Making one can take anywhere from a few months to over a year from start to finish, depending on how she chooses to cure the broom handle and stitch the broomcorn.

Her traditional house broom sells for $96, and some of the smaller hand brooms cost about $15.

To learn more about Please Send Word, watch the video above and visit her website.

Catherine Hoffman covers community affairs and culture for Kansas City PBS in cooperation with Report for America. The work of our Report for America corps members is made possible, in part, through the generous support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

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