Ingrain or Scotch carpeting was a main stay of early 19th century carpeting for households both common and wealthy. Woven as a two layer double cloth with geometric or curvilinear designs, ingrain carpeting became popular through the last half of the 18th century and blossomed in the 19th century.
One of only four known American produced ingrain carpets is in the collection of The Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA). It also has the most supporting information about its manufacture at Jones Mill, located in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. Advertisements from Jones Mill appear in the newspapers during the 1830′-s and document the production of figured ingrain carpeting among other fabrics. Ingrain carpeting woven by American fancy weavers in the first half of the 19th century is distinct from the imported Scotch and Kidderminster carpets. The American versions use locally produced softer grades of wool and have a slightly different structure, more akin to the structure of woven coverlets of the same period.
It has been extremely difficult to document the American carpets because with the use of soft wools, the carpets were less durable and ended up being worn out, cut up and used for smaller rugs, and simply disappeared.
We’ve been working at Thistle Hill Weavers to reproduce the Jones Mill example both in its original color, and in a blue and white version which will be installed in SPLIA’s restored Sherwood Jayne House.
Master Weaver Rabbit Goody write about historic textiles. Her weaving studio, Thistle Hill Weavers, in Cherry Valley, NY, is a small mill modeled after the trade shops of the 19th century.
For those of you who are not familiar with Hyde Hall, I had the greatest treat a few weeks ago: the new Executive Director, Dr. Jonathan Maney, and I perused the textile and trim collections that have survived at this Regency mansion.
Hyde Hall, a National Landmark and a New York State Historic Site, located in Springfield, NY, was built by George Clarke between 1817 and 1834. Its importance to material culture historians is based on the extraordinary survival of furniture, textiles, textile ornaments, and receipts for the period of its building. Everything is fully documented.
Rarely do we have the opportunity to put so many pieces together to understand both the style and color way for window treatments in a high style Regency mansion circa 1830.
More important to those of us who work in rural areas, Hyde Hall is not located in an urban environment. Rather, it is far afield from the population centers that we normally associate with high style culture. Hyde Hall is perched high on a bluff overlooking the northern tip of Otsego Lake, about 60 miles west of Albany, New York.
We know that the draper/upholsterer came from Albany as did much of the furniture, and we know the exact volume of fabrics, trim, and ornaments that were ordered. We have surviving fragments of the original red damask, tassels, trim, and ornaments for the grand dining room and the drawing room. These great rooms are elaborate, handsome, and very well preserved.
Hyde Hall offers us the opportunity to study, educate, and reproduce the window treatments with more documentation than nearly any other historic site could ever hope to find.
Rabbit Goody is a textile historian and owner/weaver at Thistle Hill Weavers. She is also the director of the Textile History Forum.
A special Candlelight Evening program will be held this Saturday, December 10, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. During Candlelight Evening the landscape of the museum takes on a magical appearance, decorated in greenery and illuminated by hundreds of candles. Visitors can ride through the museum’s grounds in wagons pulled by draft horses adorned with full sets of harness bells. Complimentary wassail, warmed in kettles over open fires, is served throughout the afternoon and evening. Caroling is scheduled throughout the event. Saint Nicholas will be at the Filer’s Corners Schoolhouse from 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. and again from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. Members of the Congregation of the Christ Episcopal Church will present “A Living Nativity,” with performances at 5:00, 5:20, 5:40 and 6:00 p.m. at the Morey Barn. (Seating is limited.)
There will be a book signing from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Louis C. Jones Center featuring TV’s “Fabulous Beekman Boys.” Meet Josh and Brent and have them sign a copy of their new book: “The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook.” Copies will be on sale during the event.
An array of seasonal musical programs will take place at the Cornwallville Church, highlighted by the group GladTidings – featuring holiday music from centuries ago and also some recent favorites. Sandra Peevers, Erik House, and Diane Ducey will entertain with a variety of instruments including fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, cittern, and concertina. Other performances include the Catskill Chamber Singers, the Catskill Choral Society Girls’ Choir, and the Northern Comforts Men’s Quartet. Ron Johnson will provide caroling in the More House.
Children can take part in holiday arts and crafts activities at the Filer’s Corners Schoolhouse from 3:00 to 4:15 p.m. and The Empire State Carousel will be open for rides throughout the event.
Warm up with a serving of chicken and biscuits, pulled pork, or BBQ vegetarian riblets along with gingerbread and hot beverages in the Louis C. Jones Center – located inside the Museum’s Main Barn. The Crossroads Cafe next to Bump Tavern will also be open for the evening.
Admission is $12 for adults- $10.50 for seniors- and $6.00 for children ages 7-12. Members and children under 6 years of age receive free admission. Visit FarmersMuseum.org/candlelight for a complete schedule of the evening’s activities.
A visit to the Museum this holiday season is not complete without a stop at The Farmers’ Museum Store and Todd’s General Store – where a large selection of handcrafted items from the museum are available as well as other seasonal favorites.
Candlelight Evening visitors should dress warmly and wear boots. Please visit our website for updated parking and shuttle information. Visit FarmersMuseum.org/candlelight or call (607) 547-1450.
Experience a new, annual event that intertwines local writings of Christmas past with 19th century holiday activities. “Shall We Have Christmas?” takes place Saturday, December 3, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. This one-night-only event will leave visitors with a new perspective on how our upstate ancestors celebrated the holiday season and what they really thought of it. The museum’s historic buildings will offer a a variety of festive activities including holiday gift-making in the More House- holiday foods in the Lippitt House- singing and socializing in Bump Tavern- greeting card printing in the printing office- remedies for winter ailments in the pharmacy- and decoration making in the church. In each building, visitors will hear or read a quote from a diarist or author, such as Susan Fenimore Cooper, that describes the details and happenings of an 1840s Christmas in central New York.
Here, Susan Fenimore Cooper expresses her thoughts in an entry from Rural Hours published in 1850:
“The festival is very generally remembered now in this country, though more of asocial than a religious holiday, by all those who are opposed to such observances on principle. In large towns it is almost universally kept. In the villages, however, but few shops are closed, and only one or two of the half dozen places of worship are opened for service. Still, everybody recollectsthat it is Christmas- presents are made in all families- the children go from house to house wishing Merry Christmas- and probably few who call themselves Christians allow the day to pass without giving a thought to the sacred event it commemorates, as they wish their friends a “Merry Christmas.”
There will also be horse-drawn wagon rides throughout the evening. Admission: $10 adults, $9 seniors (age 65 and over), $5.50 children age 7-12, free for children 6 andunder and for members of the New York State Historical Association. Visit FarmersMuseum.org for more information.
In 1861, New Yorkers responded to President Lincoln’s call to service by volunteering in droves to defend an imperiled Union. Drawn from the farms and towns of Otsego and Herkimer counties, the 121st New York State Volunteer Infantry Regiment served with the Sixth Corps in the Army of the Potomac throughout the Civil War. In the first comprehensive history of the regiment in nearly ninety years, Salvatore Cilella chronicles their epic story. Led for much of the war by Emory Upton, the 121st deployed nearly 1,900 men into battle, from over 1,000 at call-up to the 330 who were finally mustered out of its war-depleted unit. Its soldiers participated in 25 major engagements, from Antietam to Sailor’s Creek, won six Medals of Honor, took several battle flags, led the charge at Spotsylvania, and captured Custis Lee at Sailor’s Creek. Cilella now tells their story, viewing the war through upstate New Yorkers’ eyes not only to depict three grueling years of fighting but also to reveal their distinctive attitudes regarding slavery, war goals, politics, and the families they left behind.
Cilella mines the letters, diaries, memoirs, and speeches of more than 120 soldiers and officers to weave a compelling narrative that traces the 121st from enlistment through the horrors of battle and back to civilian life. Their words recount the experience of combat, but also rail against Washington bureaucrats and commanding generals.
Cilella also features portraits of the regiment’s three commanders: original recruiter Richard Franchot- West Pointer Upton, by whose name the 121st came to be known- and Otsego County native Egbert Olcott. Readers will especially gain new insights into the charismatic Upton, who took command at the age of 23 and became one of the army’s most admired regimental leaders.
Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.
The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York will open a new exhibition on September 24 titled Unfolding Stories: Culture and Tradition in American Quilts, organized by renowned quilt scholar Jacqueline M. Atkins. The exhibition will be on view through December 31. This marks the first time in over 15 years that the Fenimore will display selections from its substantial collection of historical quilts some dating from the early 19th century. The exhibition explores the many connections that are made throughout and across cultures through the art ofquilting, as well as how these connections have changed over time and place. Almost every culture offers some form of quilting within its textile tradition, yet only in the United States do we see a confluence of traditions, cultures, ethnicities, and innovations that produces the richly diverse quilting culture that exists today.
On view will be approximately 24 quilts distinguished by their design, pattern, and workmanship. The quilts are organized to examine six themes ranging from the history and inventiveness of this time-honored practice to the role that quilts play in revealing values, culture, traditions, and beliefs. Unfolding Stories pieces together this intricate patchwork of diverse connections into a fascinating narrative that grows out of stories embedded in the quilts themselves. Quilts on display include pictorial narratives, one-patch designs, crazy quilts, cut-outs, star quilts, and signature quilts.
“Unfolding Stories looks at how various cultures interpret different designs within the quilting tradition,” remarked Director of Exhibitions at the Fenimore Art Museum, Michelle Murdock. “It demonstrates how cultural and cross-cultural connections are made through design processes as well. Quilts continue to provide visually powerful yet ever-changing texts for us to read, interpret, learn from, andenjoy,” Murdock added.
Also included are the three award-winning quilts from The Farmers’ Museum’s 2010 New York State of Mind Quilt Show. The exhibition is sponsored in part by Fenimore Asset Management.
The exhibition will compliment the many folk art related activities taking place this fall at the Museum including the exhibition Inspired Traditions: Selections from the Jane Katcher Collection ofAmericana opening October 1. Join us across the street at The Farmers’ Museum for this year’s A New York State of Mind Quilt Show – October 8 and 9.
The Fenimore Art Museum’s 2011 Americana Symposium will be held on September 30 and October 1. This new annual event will bring together leading scholars and experts on American history, art, and culture.
Photo: “Trade and Commerce” Quilt Top by Hannah Stockton Stiles (b. 1800), ca. 1835. Possibly Delaware River Valley. Cotton, cotton chintz. 105 x 89 in. Gift of Hannah Lee Stokes. Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York.
The Farmers’ Museum’s 33rd annual Harvest Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with live music both days and new activities for children.
This popular fall event brings together a wide array of artisans, vendors, performers, and exhibitors to the Museum’s alluring 19th-century setting. Guests will enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides- craft activities for the entire family- artisan demonstrations- and an abundance of delicious foods from the season’s harvest including samples of McCadam/Cabot cheese, roasted corn, baked goods, ice cream, and more. You can even try out wood planes, hand drills, and other antique tools from their large collection. This year, the Museum again welcomes members of the Southern Tier Alpaca Association. Owners and breeders will display their animals and participate in numerous activities throughout the weekend.
Children will enjoy agricultural activities that include building a haystack- corn shelling and grinding- apple cider pressing demonstrations- ropemaking- apple bobbing- and 19th-century games in the schoolhouse. Not to mention the alpaca and canine agility courses.
Witness or take part in the excitement of an old-time pie eating contest – both Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 p.m., sponsored by the Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard.
Over 25 vendors and artisans will supply everything the season has to offer including beeswax candles, shaker oval boxes, early American tinware, baskets, Windsor chairs, and more – with demonstrations of soap making and woodworking.
Tap your toes the sounds of “Clemens Tradition,” an old time fiddle and classic country music group based in Osceola, New York, featuring the 2002 New York State Inductee to the North American Fiddler’s Hall of Fame and Museum – Jackie Hobbs and other special guests. They will perform in the Cornwallville Church, located in the center of the Museum’s historic village, each day at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. The shows are free with paid admission to the event.
See the winners from this year’s Junior Livestock Show as they make their way through the Museum’s historic village during the Parade of Champions – both days at 1:00 p.m.
To view a full listing of all the event’s activities, see our schedule online at FarmersMuseum.org/harvest.
Sponsored by KeyBank and McCadam/Cabot Cheese. Supported in part by the Southern Tier Alpaca Association and the Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard. This event is made possible withpublic funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.
Admission to the event: $12 adults (13+), $10.50 seniors (65+), $6 children(7-12), children 6 and under and members of the New York State Historical Association are free. For more information on any of our programs, visit FarmersMuseum.org/harvest.
On September 30 and October 1, the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York will host an Americana Symposium, “Inspired Traditions.” This new event, which is expected to be an annual occurrence, will feature distinguished scholars who will present their research on a variety of topics represented by the Jane Katcher Collection of Americana – a privately held folk art collection – as well as the folk art collection of the Fenimore Art Museum. Presenters include Robin Jaffee Frank, David A. Schorsch, Robert Shaw, and other folk art and Americana specialists including Jane Katcher, Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio (President and CEO of the New York State Historical Association / Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum), Eva Fognell (Curator of The Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art), Richard Miller, and Robert Wilkins.
The symposium will coincide with the opening of the Fenimore Art Museum’s fall exhibitions – Inspired Traditions: Selections from Jane Katcher Collection of Americana and Unfolding Stories: Culture and Tradition in American Quilts. Both exhibitions run through December 31, 2011.
A new book, “Expressions of Innocence and Eloquence, Selections from the Jane Katcher Collection of Americana, Vol. II” will also be released at that time.
The symposium schedule includes a welcome reception and attendee dinner on Friday, September 30. On Saturday, October 1, there will be morning and afternoon speaker sessions with a buffet lunch at noon. Attendees will also have time to explore the Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum. Fee: $75 ($65 New York State Historical Association members). For a complete schedule or to registeronline, visit FeninmoreArtMuseum.org/symposium or call (607) 547-1453. Photo: Flying Fame weathervane, Possibly New York, circa 1880–1890. Copper, zinc, traces of original gold leaf, verdigris, 30 ? 31 ? 12 inches.
The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York will host the 8th Contemporary Iroquois Art Biennial: 4 Artists Under 30 – opening Saturday, August 27. The exhibition will feature the work of four young women from the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, Confederacy: Lauren Jimerson (Seneca)- Awenheeyoh Powless (Onondaga)- Leah Shenandoah (Oneida)- and Natasha Smoke Santiago (Mohawk). The exhibition was organized by guest curator G. Peter Jemison and will be on view through December 31, 2011.
These four young women are influenced by their heritage as Haudenosaunee but have also sought unique ways to express their individual vision – incorporating music, three dimensional objects, castings, as well as traditional methods to bring their work to life.
Awenheeyoh Powless, a recent graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, has incorporated Iroquois music and traditional dance steps to create paintings with her feet on un-stretched canvas – using foot movements to apply the acrylic colors.
Leah Shenandoah, another recent graduate of RIT, has focused on three dimensional objects that are across between sculpture and painting. The objects are made of stretched fabric on a wire frame to which paint has been applied as a stain. They are exhibited hung from the gallery’s ceiling in a grouping.
Lauren Jimerson, currently in her final year at RIT, uses pastel on paper to create portraiture.
Natasha Smoke Santiago, a self-taught artist who has been actively exhibiting her art since she was a teenager, casts the bellies of pregnant women and then forms the casts into sculptural objects incorporating traditional Haudenosaunee craft techniques. The bellies are turned into pottery or elaborate baskets with materials resembling splints.
Image: Pastel on paper by Haudenosaunee artist Lauren Jimerson.
The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, has officially unveiled “Otsego: A Meeting Place” – its latest addition to the Native American Interpretive Area and Trail.
Located on north side of the Fenimore’s expansive back lawn, the new area consists of the recently relocated Seneca Log House, a “Three Sisters Garden,” a pond, and other features pertaining to a settlement of this type in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The Seneca Log House is a single-family log house typical for most reservation Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) families during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Adjacent to the house is a “Three Sisters Garden” with corn, beans, and squash. Medicinal plants are grown in their natural environment in the surrounding woodlands.
Museum admission, which includes entry to “Otsego: A Meeting Place,” is $12 for adults and $10.50 for seniors. Children (age 12 and under), members of the New York State Historical Association, as well as active and retired career military personnel always receive free admission. Visit FenimoreArtMuseum.org for more information and full schedule.