Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Schoolgirl Embroidery Exhibit


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When an e-mail arrived from the Director of Marketing at the Florence Griswold Museum, asking me to help spread the word about their upcoming fall exhibit titled With Needle and Brush: Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley, a couple things popped into my mind: 1. To my knowledge, the exhibit’s been announced on at least two popular needlework websites already – Needleprint and Thistle Threads. People are going to see it as old news; and 2. FIELD TRIP!

Florence Griswold Museum Schoolgirl Embroidery Exhibition

As for point #1, though the exhibit has already been announced elsewhere, I still think it worthwhile to spread the word about it here. Even if only one person benefits from the announcement, that’s ok in my book.

As for point #2, a while back, I wrote about the Needle Arts high school course I’ll be teaching this year. For the past several weeks, I’ve been planning the course pretty much down to the week. But one thing that never occurred to me until I heard from the Florence Griswold Museum was that I have the Prime Opportunity for a field trip!

And then, of course, my mind started conceiving all kinds of possibilities.

Unfortunately, a trip from Kansas to Old Lyme, Connecticut, is probably not in the stars, but if we did live close, I wouldn’t miss this exhibit. The exhibit focuses on “the teaching and production of embroidered pictures by girls and young women in private academies during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.” The samplers display varying techniques and levels of difficulty, and are a great opportunity to see how needlework fit into the lives of young girls and ladies in America before and at the turn of the 20th century.

If you live in the area of Old Lyme, CT, do take the time to check out the Needle and Brush exhibit! Since I can’t take my class to see the exhibit, I may have to live vicariously through you! The exhibit runs from October 2, 2010 through January 30, 2011.

And in the meantime, you can bet I’m researching textile exhibits on this year’s calendar in the nearby Midwest! If you know of any exhibits, feel free to let me know!


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(5) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,
    How funny! I found out about this yesterday and am planning on going since I’m only an hour away. If they will let me, I will take pictures and email them to you. I could also collect any of the free materials they have at the exhibit and mail them to you if you don’t mind sending me your snail mail address (I promise to promptly destroy it after sending the package – ala Mission Impossible.) Then again, you can probably get some copies from the director who contacted you. Maybe they’ll even have a virtual exhibit online. I haven’t been to this museum so I’m not sure how many resources they have for something like that. Anyway, if I can help you in any way with this, just let me know. I am so excited for you and your students! All the best, Ali in CT

    1. HI, All – thanks for your comments! I think the NYC field trip sounds great… but probably not doable this year. Gosh, that would be the only incentive I’d need to make me want to teach the class! 🙂 I’ll be lucky to make it to KC to the Nelson-Atkins, though. I can’t remember what they have in the way of textiles there, if much…. I was actually thinking (more like daydreaming) that a trip to the V&A in London might be the thing! NYC en route, maybe? Hahaha. No, I don’t think that’ll happen this year, either! But it doesn’t hurt to think about it!

      Ali! Thank you very much for your offer. I don’t mind giving out my snail-mail address (it’s actually at the end of my daily newsletter that goes out, so there are some 4,000+ people in the world who have it, even if they don’t know it!) They may let you take non-flash photos – but not always. Depends on the museum. I’m glad you have the opportunity to go!!

  2. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for posting this exciting exhibit. I live in NYC and a trip to Old Lyme would be a doable day trip for me. While KS is a bit further away, how about planning a trip to NYC for your class? There are many museums here that have collections of needlearts – the Metropolitan Museum including the Cloisters and American Folk Art plus you could work in a day trip to CT. You could come during the holidays before the exhibit closes in Jan 2011. That would surely be an exciting trip as well as an extra incentive to join your class!! 🙂

  3. Hi to you all, Carol and I are the guest curators for the “With Needle and Brush” exibition at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT. There are over 75 pieces displayed, most from our private clients and never before exibited. We would love to share the exibition with all of you, but if it is impractical to come please visit our web sight AntiqueSamplers.com and look under articles about antique needlework for several pictures and descriptions.

    The October issue of American Art Review has an eight-page color article on the exhibition. Another magazine, Antiques and Fine Arts will have extensive coverage in their next issue.

    Thanks for your interest,

    Steve Huber

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