J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

“Fabric Arts and Social Threads” at Old South

Old South Meeting House’s series of lunchtime lectures this month focuses on “Fabric Arts and Social Threads: Women’s Work before Industrialization.” Each session takes place on a Thursday from 12:15 to 1:00 P.M. Admission costs $6, and is free for members.

The events:

6 January
The Spinning Wheel
Join us for a modern demonstration of a remarkable colonial craft with Barbara Provest, longtime member of the Weavers Guild of Boston and the Boston Area Spinners and Dyers. Learn how spinning, dyeing and weaving evolved in colonial New England through the 1850s, then watch this skilled artisan in action as she demonstrates carding and spinning on the wheel, as well as tape loom weaving.

13 January
Embroidery-Not a “Trivial Accomplishment”
More than just beautiful examples of a domestic art, embroidered samplers were a crucial tool in the education of young women and their participation in the colonial economy. A common practice in Europe, the tradition of these schoolgirl exercises came to New England with its earliest European settlers. Museum of Fine Arts Curator Pamela Parmal shares outstanding examples from the museum's current exhibition to illuminate the connections between female education, the economy, and artistic expression in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

20 January
Betsy Ross and the Making of America
National folk hero Betsy Ross, often described as a simple seamstress who rose to fame by creating our most recognizable national symbol, has long captivated the American imagination. But behind the legend is the compelling true story of an accomplished colonial artisan, a furniture upholsterer woven into a thriving colonial economy. Marla Miller, Associate Professor and Director of the Public History Program at UMass Amherst, and author of Betsy Ross and the Making of America, stitches together the incredible story of this accomplished woman and explores why we as a nation cannot reconcile her true role in our historical imagination. Booksigning to follow.

27 January
Out of Whole Cloth: Quilting in the Pre-Industrial Era
In this illustrated lecture, award-wining textile historian Lynne Bassett shares the history of quilt making before 1793 and its parallels to the social history of Massachusetts. In the intricate designs and chosen fabrics, one can read clues about the family, local, economic, and political history of its maker. America’s earliest patchwork, silk quilts imported from England, wool whole-cloth quilts, and quilted petticoats will be featured.

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