Five weeks ago, students from Knott and surrounding counties embarked on a challenging journey; to learn how to sew, knit, and quilt…. all via Zoom. This semester, the Common Threads arts education program at Hindman Settlement School focused on various forms of textile arts for our after-school arts classes. Three textile arts classes have been meeting virtually since February, each featuring a different form of traditional textile art. 6th through 12th grade students from Knott and surrounding counties have learned how to quilt, embroidery, knit, and crochet. The technology of Zoom has allowed students to continue their creativity as the pandemic stretches on. These evening gatherings via Zoom have been a time of socialization, creativity, and intergenerational learning as students of different ages, teachings artists, adult volunteer helpers have learned how to create textile art, together. Textile arts have not always been considered a true “art”. Our embroidery teacher, Bethany Pace had this to share with this with her students as they all stitched on their pieces:“One of the reasons I became interested in embroidery and textile art was when I observed my grandmother’s reluctance to call herself an artist for her beautiful quilting and embroidery work she’d dusted off to show me. The work she’d created was expansive and took an incredible amount of technical knowledge and skill to create, but in her eyes, they were purely utilitarian objects.
This reluctance to identify her textile art as “true art” stemmed from a time where textile art, especially when made by women, was seen as a utilitarian chore and not as a valuable service that brought beauty into a home. Textile art has long been a practice passed down generationally to women, a historically undervalued group who’s service and ability has long been taken for granted. Practicing textile art today is an act of preserving the art of our grandmothers and bringing it into a new realm of possibility.” Our students have worked incredibly hard and poured their creativity into their varying textile projects. And you will have the opportunity to see what they’ve created! In collaboration with the Appalachian Artisan Center, students in the quilting class will have their work displayed as part of the AAC’s, Quilts A’la Modegallery show. You can see their work displayed from April 9th through 24th. Also in collaboration with the Appalachian Artisan Center, the pieces students created in the embroidery and knitting/crocheting class will be displayed alongside work from local & regional textile artists in an intergenerational gallery show we are calling “Common Threads: Showcasing Appalachian Fiber Arts”. This show will be on display from April 30th through May 22nd.