Stitching a Southern Identity: Defining Culture in the South

March 16-17, 2018 Winston-Salem, NC

Stitching a Southern Identity: Needle Arts in Early America will explore needlework executed by girls and women in early America. Few decorative or utilitarian forms were as expressive or as vital to a women’s life as the needle arts providing a source of artistic outlet at a time in American history when few others were available for females. Stitched handcrafts were not considered on par with the fine arts of painting and sculpture, fields that were generally male-defined and male oriented.

Most needlework was not produced by professionals but by school-aged girls and grown women with homes and families who demanded much of their time and energy. Skill with the needle symbolized eligibility for marriage and was a continued measure of success throughout her life. Stitching a Southern Identity will celebrate the skill and sophistication of these once marginalized works as well as the dedication of the girls and women behind the thread. The two day seminar will feature lectures, workshop sessions and tours of the MESDA collections. Linda Eaton, Senior Curator of Textiles at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library will provide the keynote address and leading scholars in the field will round out the lectures. Workshop sessions will feature experts in the field as well as Cassie Dickson, a noted weaver who processes flax to linen and cultivates silkworms for silk cloth. A curator-led tour of MESDA as well as a specialty tour “It’s a Woman’s World: Exploring Women’s Lives through the Decorative Arts” will be available at an additional charge prior to the start of the seminar.

Program

All sessions, unless otherwise noted, will take place at the
James A. Gray Jr. Auditorium
Old Salem Visitor Center
900 Old Salem Road, Winston-Salem, NC

Friday, March 16, 2018

Pre Program Opportunities: Additional Fees Apply
(Pre-registration required. Limited to 10 participants)

10 a.m. to Noon—Special Tour: Exploring the MESDA Collection with Daniel Ackermann, Curator.

11 a.m. to Noon—Special Tour: It’s a Woman’s World: Exploring Women’s Lives through the Decorative Arts with Jane Sutton, Manager of Museum Interpretation, MESDA.

12:30 to 2 p.m.—Seminar Check-in Concourse, Old Salem Visitor Center 900 Old Salem Road, Winston Salem, North Carolina 2 p.m.—Welcome and Seminar Overview

2:30 p.m.—Collection Workshops, One Choice per Participant, Choices below limited to 20 participants per group

  • Shenandoah Valley Quilt Turning with Beverley Evans
  • Moravian Needlework with Johanna Brown
  • MESDA Textile Collection Study with Jenny Garwood
  • Special Tour: It’s a Woman’s World: Exploring Women’s Lives through the Decorative Arts with Jane Sutton
  • Silk Ribbon Embroidery (This choice is limited to 12 participants; There is an additional fee of $30 for Supplies)

4 p.m.—Flax to Linen, Natural Dyes, and Linen Textiles
Cassie Dickson, Artisan, Whittier, North Carolina

5 p.m.—Opening Reception

6 p.m.—Stitching a Southern Identity: Anna Marie Witmer and the MESDA Needlework Collection.
Robert Leath, V.P. Collections and Research, Old Salem Museums & Gardens, Winston Salem, North Carolina

Keynote
Linda Eaton, John L. & Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections & Senior Curator of Textiles, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, Wilmington, Delaware

Saturday, March 17, 2018

9:30 a.m.—Welcome and Introductions
April Strader Bullin, Director of Museum Programs, MESDA, Winston Salem, North Carolina

‘Casting off the Indian habits’: The Material World of Indian Mission Schools
Kim Ivey, Senior Curator, Textiles, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia

10:30 a.m.—The Little Mermaid: Cultural Implications of a Nautical Family Sampler.
Marquita Reed, Ph.D. candidate at Middle Tennessee State University, Collections Manager, National Museum of African American Music, Nashville, Tennessee

10:50 a.m.—Coffee Break

11:15 a.m.—A Pattern Emerges: Baltimore-Style Presentations Quilts and Women’s Experiences in Augusta County, Virginia.
Matthew Monk, M.A. Candidate, GW Corcoran-Smithsonian Decorative Arts and Design History Program, Washington, D.C.

11:35 a.m.—War and Redemption in the Cloth: Quilting the Black Freedom Struggle, 1960- Present.
Aleia M. Brown, Ph.D., Program Manager, Humanities Action Lab Mellon/ACLS Public Fellow, Newark, New Jersey

12:15 p.m.—Lunch

1:15 p.m.—Collection Workshops, One Choice per Participant, Choices below limited to 20 participants per group

  • Shenandoah Valley Quilt Turning with Beverley Evans
  • Moravian Needlework with Johanna Brown
  • MESDA Textile Collection Study with Jenny Garwood
  • Special Tour: It’s a Woman’s World: Exploring Women’s Lives through the Decorative Arts with Jane Sutton
  • Maryland & D.C. Samplers with Gloria Seaman Allen
  • Natural Dyes – Yarns (This choice is limited to 12 participants; There is an additional fee of $30 for Supplies)
  • Silk Ribbon Embroidery (This choice is limited to 12 participants; There is an additional fee of $30 for Supplies)

2:45 p.m.—Afternoon Break

3:15 p.m.—Piecing it Together: New Findings in the MESDA Textile Collection.
Jenny Garwood, Curatorial Associate, MESDA, Winston Salem, North Carolina

4:00 p.m.—Forward Thinking in the Backcountry: Science Hill Female Academy and the Modern Southern Woman.
James Boswell, Collector and Independent Scholar, Williamsburg, Virginia

General Registration: $300.00
Includes all lectures, Friday evening reception, lunch on Saturday and two workshops

Friday Keynote and Saturday Lectures: $250.00
Includes all lectures, Friday evening reception, lunch on Saturday and one workshop

Special Friday Tour: Exploring the MESDA Collection with Curator Daniel Ackermann ($40)

Special Friday Tour: It’s a Woman’s World: Exploring Women’s Lives through the Decorative Arts with Jane Sutton ($20)