Southern Comfort exhibit highlights history of weaving

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The Imagination Station Science and History Museum opened its new exhibit, Southern Comfort: Domestic Weavers in Eastern North Carolina 1830-1890, in its third floor exhibit gallery on Tuesday.

Southern Comfort features a collection of historic textiles on loan to our museum from eastern North Carolina families who preserved the work of weavers in their ancestry. The weaving includes several overshot coverlets, two handwoven blankets (or sheets), one with handmade fringe, and a quilt that appears to have been made with handwoven and probably hand spun fabrics. The exhibit also features a few antique weaving drafts from the family records of local weavers, as well as woven samples of the drafts using historic techniques, and some antique textile equipment.

One interesting part of the exhibit are excerpts from the diary of a Bladen County weaver and farmer, Elizabeth Ellis Robeson. She kept a daily record of her activities from 1847-1866. The entries include many mentions of weaving, spinning, sewing, and quilting, as well as details of family and farm life. Some examples of her weaving are exhibited.

The Mewborn family tree is also featured because of their family history of weaving.

The exhibit also features a children’s room, which will include spindles and a loom for hands-on use, as well as some natural dye samples and a station for color experiments.

Curator and local weaver Jennifer Johnson, noted that “We began the research because there is so little to document the history of weavers on this side of the state (unlike in the Appalachian region). I hope it will be an ongoing documentation project as more people approach us with information about their weaving family members.”

The exhibit will run through February 28, 2018.