Janet K. (Olson) Meany

June 19, 1931 ~ October 20, 2020 (age 89)


Janet Katharine Meany, 89, passed away on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at Essentia St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth.

A 56-year resident of Duluth’s North Shore, Janet was born on June 19, 1931 to Elmore and Kathryn (Huchthausen) Olson in Minneapolis. She graduated from Carleton College in 1953 and completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, in 1956. A textile artist and teacher, Janet was admired by fiber artists everywhere. She taught weaving classes at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and workshops on rag rugs throughout the United States. She was co-author of the “Rag Rug Handbook” (1988), a classic resource for weavers. Janet was a founding member of the Duluth Handweavers Guild, a co-founder of the Minnesota Federation of Weavers and Fiber Artists and served as Minnesota state representative for the Handweavers Guild of America for 10 years.

In 1990 Janet founded “The Weavers Friend,” a newsletter for rag rug weavers that was a labor of love she continued for 25 years. The publication and website were a joint effort with her husband, artist Philip Meany (1931-2014), who provided design and technical assistance. On many occasions the whole family was involved in the project, working together to get an issue out on time. One of her other passions was assembling the Loom Manual Library, which provides instruction books and loom histories, and is now the Janet Meany Collection at the Textile Center. Janet happily spent many hours talking with people from all over the country about their looms, offering information, wisdom and kind encouragement to aspiring weavers.

A devoted wife and mother, she raised four children, giving all she had to make their dreams come true. Janet was active in the North Shore community throughout her life. She was a long-time member of French River Lutheran Church and along with her husband enjoyed cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating and hiking. A great lover of music, she supported many local organizations, and never missed a chance to attend performances, delighting in everything from ragtime to chamber music.

Janet is survived by children, John, Ann, Robert (Julie), and Kathryn (Steven); grandchildren, Michelle and Christopher Meany, Connor and Ryan Meany, and Austin and Lucy Wilson.

A private service will be held. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be directed to the Janet Meany Collection at the Textile Center library ( 

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