Weaving Heddles

From Irish People – Irish Linen

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Flax Fibers

From Irish People – Irish Linen

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From Textile Art From Southern Appalachia     Learn More

Happy Retreat

From Uplifting The South

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From Textile Art From Southern Appalachia     Learn More

Kathleen Curtis Wilson

Kathleen Curtis Wilson is a Fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Charlottesville, Virginia working on her forthcoming book, An Enslaved Woman and Her Dressmaker Daughter. Wilson is the author of Irish People, Irish Linen; Textile Art from Southern Appalachia: The Quiet Work of Women, and Uplifting the South—Mary Mildred Sullivan’s Legacy for Appalachia. A renowned authority on Appalachian crafts, Wilson is craft section editor for the Encyclopedia of Appalachia. In 2014, she wrote the history of the Southern Industrial Educational Association, Inc. 1905-1926, and complied a digital resource of the organization’s 51 issues of its Quarter Magazine.

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Irish People - Irish Linen book cover

Irish People, Irish Linen

Irish People – Irish Linen

Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio. 2011

For more than a hundred years, a worldwide audience has associated the phrase Irish linen with the island of Ireland as closely as it has the Great Famine, leprechauns, Irish whiskey, limericks, green hills, and stonewalls. How and why the small island of Ireland became so identified with this plain white cloth, criticized for its wrinkles and revered for its durability, is a story of emigration, politics, industry, and marketing initiatives. Ireland’s first wave of migration to the American colonies and Ireland’s prominence as a center for shipbuilding and machine production can be traced directly to the demands of the linen industry.

Lavishly illustrated with 185 color photographs and engagingly written, each chapter tells of art, social and economic history, design, fashion, architecture, technology, and cultural traditions that celebrate the linen industry. Read more

Uplifting the South: Mary Mildred Sullivan’s Legacy for Appalachia

Overmountain Press, Johnson City, Tennessee. 2006

Uplifting the South chronicles the real life drama taking place in a period of American history unsurpassed for violence and change, and how one woman was literally a force that helped shape the times in which she lived.

The book not only relates Mary Sullivan’s remarkable legacy, the story also tells of a proud Southerner living in New York City during the American Civil War when her daily life included constant surveillance, the need to smuggle correspondence from the North to the South at great risk to her families personal safety, and Federal government agents trying to entrap and test her loyalty. Secretary of State William H. Seward even imprisoned Mary’s husband for “treasonable correspondence.” Read more

Textile Art from Southern Appalachia: the quiet work of women

Overmountain Press, Johnson City, Tennessee. 2001

Appalachia is a region that has long enjoyed a distinctive artistic tradition developed from a unique combination of cultural, social, and geographical circumstances. The 43 bed coverlets and 2 quilts featured in the book were woven in southern Appalachia, which includes Western North Carolina, Eastern Kentucky, East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. They are representative of the extraordinary, yet little known textile art of this region. The graphic designs are inspirational for contemporary artists working in all media and historically important for regional studies.

Included in the book are family history anecdotes told by the lenders, who are referred to as the  “keepers of the cloth.” Their stories reveal that many of the weavers made a conscious decision to create beautiful objects for their own pleasure – not out of financial need – dispelling the notion of Appalachia as a poverty-ridden, art poor region. These artistic creations have been held by generations of family members who carefully kept their family stories, records, and textiles intact. They survive as testimony to the artists who continued the traditions of their foremothers. Read more

Encyclopedia of Appalachia – Craft Section Editor

University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tennessee, 2006.

Containing more than 2,000 entries in 30 sections, the Encyclopedia is designed for quick reference and access to the information you need to know. Teachers, students, scholars, historians, and browsers with a passing interest in this beautiful and richly distinct region will quickly come to rely on the Encyclopedia of Appalachia as the authoritative resource on Appalachia’s past and present. Read more