URI opens historic textile gallery to public
KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 6, 1999 -- Take a look at a dress created by
world-renowned designer Emilio Pucci, or a paisley tapestry from Kashmir
India from the early 1800s.
Examine a boy's outfit that was highlighted in a calendar entitled, "Historic
Fashion of Women & Children."
These textiles and more are open for public viewing at the inaugural
exhibit of the Textile Gallery at the University of Rhode Island.
Titled, "Threads of History," the exhibit is open weekdays
from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the lobby of Quinn Hall, the home of URI's
Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design. Visits can also
be arranged by appointment by calling 401-874-4574. The exhibit runs through
The gallery, a project in the making since 1991, is a result of the determination
of Department Chair Linda Welters of Peace Dale and Associate Professor
Margaret Ordoņez, of Cumberland, director of the URI Historic Textile
and Costume Collection. Welters headed a private fund drive that raised
$15,000 for displays cases, carpentry, and lighting for the exhibit.
All of the textiles were researched and set up by the following textile
Katherine Colpitts, an undergraduate of Simbsury, Conn. and graduate
students, Natasha Kelly of Swathmore, Pa.; Melanie Sanford, of Dallas, Texas;
Rebecca Kelly of Newport, Mary Beth Gale of South Kingstown; Debora Saville
of Providence; and Pam Sebor-Cable of Boston.
The gallery will host future exhibits. Welters said the historic costume
collection is so extensive that it includes mummy cloth that dates from
2,000 years before the birth of Christ, and complex textiles from Coptic
Egypt. Coptic refers to the Copts who were Egyptian Christians.
"This will be great for tours on campus," Ordoņez said.
"There is also a great opportunity for the gallery to be a multi-disciplinary
teaching and learning tool."
Welters and Ordoņez envision involvement from history, business,
theater, women's studies, and many more programs at the University. When
the exhibit opened earlier this month, students, local residents, donors,
University staff and faculty were impressed.
Evelyn Moder, of North Kingstown, who teaches family and consumer science
in the Providence School Department, said: "The University has clothes
that represent various eras, and does lovely refurbishing. The staff in
the textiles department are the experts. I can't wait to bring my students
here to see this."
Evelyn Siefert Kennedy of Groton, Conn., who earned her bachelor's degree
from URI and her master's degree in textile conservation from URI, was also
excited about the exhibit. "It's fabulous," said Kennedy who owns
her own business, Sewtique, and has donated narrow ties from the 1950s,
vintage Boy Scout clothes and other items to the URI Historic Costume Collection.
Those contributing to the gallery fund drive are: Martin Bide, of Wakefield,
professor of textiles, fashion merchandising and design; Barbara Brittingham,
of Narragansett, dean of the College of Human Sciences and Services; URI
graduates Edmund and Natalie Cianciarulo of Narragansett; the Cranston Foundation,
the philanthropic arm of Cranston Print Works; the estate of Marion Fry,
a former faculty member and 1933 graduate who lived in East Greenwich; URI
Graduate Student Association; Gerber Garment Technology Inc., Tolland, Conn.;
McKay's Furniture, North Kingstown; Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, S.
C.; The Moore Company, Westerly, Professor Ordoņez, Glenn S. Palmer
a 1975 URI graduate of URI, who is president and CEO of Best Manufacturing
in New York, and his family;
Edmund Rumowicz, URI class of 1957, and Nathalie, his wife, of Hollywood,
Fla.; the URI Alumni Association, 1948 URI graduate Patricia Weeden of Kingston
and Professor Welters.
Ordoņez said all of the garments for the gallery exhibit were
restored by the Moore Company. The woodwork and display case installation
were completed by Edward Balkun, a carpenter in Warwick. The artwork at
the entrance to the gallery was designed and completed by Carlos Benevides,
co-owner of Artifice, a vintage clothing store in East Greenwich. He was
assisted by artist Erik Oberg.
"The donors can now see that they made a difference, and Rhode Islanders
can now have a window into our past through clothes and textiles."
For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116