Ornamental Separator

Stitched in Time

Now Open
This exhibition is on view in the Len and Cyndy Alaimo Gallery

This exhibition is generously funded by The Leonard J. and Cynthia L. Alaimo Endowment for Colonial Williamsburg’s Art Museums, the Jeanne L. Asplundh Textile Exhibitions Endowment and the George Cromwell Trust

Needlework—which includes canvas work, lace, tambour, crewel work, silk embroidery, quilting, and counted stitch—played an important role in the homes and lives of many early Americans. Embellishing textiles with decorative stitches was one method in which the Founding Mothers contributed to their family’s household furnishings and enriched their homes and clothing with pattern, color, and beauty. Sewing and mending everyday functional textiles such as bed and table linens, as well as clothing, was another means in which women contributed economically to their family. Stitching needlework projects was also an educational tool for young schoolgirls, and a creative outlet for many housewives.

American needlework reflects great diversity and regional variations. Many factors influenced distinct regional characteristics including the ethnic origins of the makers, trade and migration patterns, influential teachers and artists, current fashions, religious affiliations, geography, and even climate. “Stitched in Time” explores regional variations in American needlework of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and the forces that molded them.

Map of the City of Washington by Eve Resler, Washington District of Columbia, 1800-1804, silk embroidery threads, ink and paint on silk. Purchased with partial gift funds from Cristy Lee Bennett, Dr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Isaac, and Jeannine's Sampler Seminar, 2006-26
Bed Rug, Long Island, New York, 1760-1780, wool embroidery on wool and linen/cotton ground. Museum Purchase, 1964-481
Sampler by Catharine Mary Wheeler, New Jersey, Delaware, or Pennsylvania, 1825, silk embroidery with silk applique and ink on a cotton ground. Museum Purchase, 1958.608.1
Needlework Picture, probably Boston, Massachusetts, 1750-1755, crewel wool and silk embroidery on linen. Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, 1936-782.


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