Wednesday, July 24, 2024

New Textile Exhibitions at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

(Courtesy of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamburg)

WILLIAMSBURG — The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg (AMCW) have two new exhibitions that examine textile arts.

In July, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum introduced The Art of the Quilter in the museum’s Foster and Muriel McCarl Gallery. The three-year exhibition will display a variety of different quilts from the nineteenth century through today. Each year of the exhibition, twelve examples will be placed on display.

Quilt by Sarah Winifred Cobb; America, Kentucky, Richmond, Madison County, Cobb Hill; ca. 1850; Gift of Katherine Phelps Burnam Flood (Courtesy of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamburg)

An Aug. 24 release from the Art Museums states, “The quilts tell stories about people from America’s past and the societies in which they lived; some bedcovers in the exhibition recalled milestone events in the lives of the makers, such as marriages, births or deaths.” Additionally, album quilts will be on display, which were created to remember loved ones who may have moved away.

“We are literally ‘covering’ America with this exhibition!” said Colonial Williamsburg’ Senior Curator of Textiles Kimberly Smith Ivey. “The bed quilts display a variety of techniques, colors and materials and demonstrate the diversity of American society.”

The release notes that the handwork on display represents “America’s multicultural society and include objects from the Anglo-American, African American, German, Amish, and Mennonite communities.”

The Art of the Quilter is scheduled to run through July 2024.

The second exhibit, Navajo Weavings: Adapting Tradition, is scheduled to open on Sept. 10 in the Mary B. and William Lehman Guyton Gallery at the museum. This exhibition will be the first to display of Native Americans textiles for the museum.

Chief’s Blanket (Courtesy of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamburg)

The items on display in this exhibition are on loan to the Museums from the collection of American folk art enthusiasts Pat and Rex Lucke.

The collection displays the unique brilliantly colored pictorial designed weavings of Navajo women at the end of the 19th century. The exhibition will teach guests about what was important to the Diné (a Navajo term meaning “the People”).

“The six Navajo weavings spanning about one hundred years highlight how the highly skilled Navajo weavers adapted and modified their traditional textiles from the world around them to meet the demands of a modern market and trade,” said Ivey. “With bold designs and brilliant colors, simple everyday objects like trains, livestock, and soda bottles were transformed into works of woven art, and today tell a compelling story of adaption, survival, and change by the Navajo People.”

Navajo Weavings: Adapting Tradition is scheduled to run through December 2022.

“Colonial Williamsburg’s curators have worked diligently over the last twenty years to ensure that our collections represent the diversity of the American people,” said the Carlisle H. Humelsine Chief Curator and Vice President for Museums, Preservation, and Historic Resources Ronald L. Hurst. “That critical work is ongoing, and these two exhibitions are clear evidence of our determination to use remarkable objects in telling a more complete and fulsome story.”

For more information, visit the website for the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.


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