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