Domestic Interiors: Hand Needlework and the Cult of True Womanhood in 19th Century American Quilts

Domestic Interiors: Hand Needlework and the Cult of True Womanhood in 19th Century American Quilts

Monday, December 5, 2016 to Friday, January 20, 2017

Note: The exhibition will close at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, December 23, 2016 and reopen on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.            

          The exhibition “Domestic Interiors: Hand Needlework and the Cult of True Womanhood in 19th Century American Quilts” opens in the Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery on December 5, 2017 and continues through January 20, 2017.  The opening week reception takes place in the gallery on Friday, December 9, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and the general public as well as the university community are invited to attend.  A free public lecture by Dr. Claire Nicholas, Assistant Professor of Textiles and Material Culture, will be offered on January 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm in Room 31, Home Economics Building, East Campus, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

                “Domestic Interiors” documents the remarkable hand-quilting and embroidery found in many 19th century American quilts. Using digital macro photography, graduate student Sarah Walcott explores the ways in which women’s education, along with social and cultural norms, shaped their experiences, identities, and creative lives.  Walcott, graduate student in TMFD’s quilt studies/material culture program, created this collection of original photographs of hand-quilting and curated the selection of quilts as part of her master’s thesis work. Michael James, Ardis James Professor of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design and department chair, served as Walcott’s major professor.

                The photographs in the exhibition provide the kind of close-up view of 19th century quilts and quilting usually afforded only to curators or researchers working closely with quilts in a collection, in a conservation laboratory, or in a research setting. The ways in which these thousands of tiny hand stitches blend almost invisibly into the finished quilt is symbolic of larger invisibilities—of women’s work, their creative pursuits, and the social and cultural constraints that impacted their lives in the nineteenth century and beyond. 

                The Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery’s exhibition program is a teaching and outreach effort of the Department of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design, whose academic home is the College of Education and Human Sciences. The gallery is located on the second floor of the Home Economics Building on East Campus, at 1650 N. 35th Street north of East Campus Loop (map at http://go.unl.edu/j5v). Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and by appointment. Admission is free. Guest parking is available near the building and metered stalls are located in the Nebraska East Union lot. For more information, call (402) 472-2911 or visit http://textilegallery.unl.edu.

 

 


Sarah Walcott exhibition image.
detail, whole cloth quilt
Detail, whole cloth quilt, 1844. Collection of IQSCM, 2008.040.0201.
detail, whole cloth quilt
Detail, whole cloth quilt, 1844. Collection of IQSCM. 2008.040.0201.
quilt detail
Detail, Stars Touching quilts, c. 1850. Collection of IQSCM, 2009.039.0040.
detail, whole cloth quilt
Detail, whole cloth quilt, c. 1830. Collection of IQSCM. 2008.029.0001.
detail, whole cloth quilt
Detail, whole cloth quilt, c. 1830. Collection of IQSCM, 2008.029.0001.