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WOMEN'S WORK: NEEDLEWORK AND BOOKS INSPIRED BY IT

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          The examples of needlework seen here were selected in response to a pair of fine press books, Broder and Garment Register, created by Minnesota book artists. The lives of women are commemorated by the books through photos, words, printing, and binding, and by the textiles which serve as evidence of their skills across the centuries. We know that these women were engaged in knitting, sewing, tatting, crocheting, and embroidery. Their needles, awls, and scissors were used to construct a shirt, to hem a petticoat, or to embellish a bonnet. Women learned these skills for use at home to produce and maintain a wardrobe for family members; sometimes they became a professional tool used to support themselves and their families.

          In some cases we know something about who they were and how these objects were used; in others we can only guess. We see illustrated in the photographs, hear in the poetry, and observe in the garments the destructive work necessary for creation. We also witness the effects of time through the loss of memory and the absence of details about these women's lives and work.

          These items are from Minnesota Historical Society's Library and Museum Collections. They will be on display in the Library until May 10, 2002.


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