Women & Their Work, Inc. of Austin presented “HandWork: Women’s Folk Textiles” at the Scurry County Historical Museum November 1 through December 21. This exhibition of folk art needlework focused on the varied ethnic traditions of Texas with pieces selected specifically for the Scurry County engagement from the Snyder area. Items displayed included quilting, tatting, cutwork, deshilado, crochet, and filet crochet. The artists involved were people, mostly women, who learned their craft from a member of their family or community. Many of the pieces on display have come from the artist’s home, and the life story of the maker is woven into the very fabric of the piece.
“HandWork” was originally organized and curated by anthropologist Connie Higdon for Women & Their Work in 1982 and was exhibited in the Central Texas communities of Lockhart, Elgin, San Marcos, and Austin. The exhibition came to Snyder from Dallas where it was installed at Richland College, and would be on display in Victoria and Houston in the following year.
Fieldwork for the Snyder exhibition was conducted by folklorist Claire Maxwell, who conducted interviews with local needleworkers. “I was delighted with the wealth of handwork available in this area. Settlers in rural areas were isolated from larger communities and women in West Texas used their handwork to pass the time alone or to exchange news and share stories in a group.”
According to W&TW Touring Coordinator Ann Stafford, “this exhibition brings to light the importance and beauty of traditional needlework which we often overlook in the study of fine art. HandWork reminds us that the quilt in Grandmother’s attic is a creative endeavor as well as a labor of love. We want to recognize and bring to light the talents and contributions of these craft-persons.”
Click here for information on the original exhibition at the Dougherty Cultural Arts Center in Austin, TX.
Click here for information on this exhibition at Midtown Art Center in Houston, TX.