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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Get a glimpse of life 'Down by the Old Mill Stream'
at new URI Textile Gallery exhibit

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 10, 2000 -- Rhode Islanders began making quilts in the late 18th century and have not stopped since.

From the first whole cloth quilts, quilt making in the Ocean State reflected cultural and technical influences. Now, visitors can get a glimpse of Rhode Island's past at the University of Rhode Island's Textile Gallery's new exhibit: "Rhode Island Quilts: Techniques and Styles."

Open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through June 15, the gallery is located in the Quinn Hall lobby. The exhibition celebrates the forthcoming publication of Down by the Old Mill Stream: Quilts in Rhode Island, a book co-edited by Linda Welters and Margaret Ordonez, URI professors of textiles, fashion merchandising and design.

The book is the culmination of the Rhode Island Quilt Documentation Project, a multi-year effort organized by the textiles department. With funding from the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, faculty and volunteers began documenting quilts owned by families, museums and historical societies in 1992. Almost 900 quilts were documented, and many have been exhibited at sites in New England and Quebec.

"The fabrics used in the quilts represent what was on the market for clothing at the time," said Ordonez, of Cumberland.

Several quilts in the exhibit were sewn using textiles made in Rhode Island mills, many of which no longer exist. One 16-patch quilt came from a family associated with Hope Mills. Isabelle Maria Flag Merrill Allen, wife of the Hope Mills superintendent, made it in the 1830s.

Another patchwork quilt on display was stitched in 1854 by Rhoda Ann Dawley of the mill village of Lafayette in North Kingstown. Several quilts illustrate the thrift and ingenuity of the quilters of the 19th century. One example is a blue and bright orange crazy quilt that contains pieces of a wedding dress worn by Mrs. George Streeter. Streeter made the quilt for her daughter, Mabel Ella Streeter Perrin.

Note to editors, please see enclosed exhibit brochure, which lists all of the textiles and accompanying background.

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For Information: Margaret Ordonez 401-874-5481,
Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

 

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