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Mountain Handicrafts by the Members of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild

DATES December 08, 1933 through February 02, 1934
ORGANIZING DEPARTMENT Decorative Arts
COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
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  • December 4, 1933 The Brooklyn Museum will present from December 7 through January 1, a collection of household objects made by members of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild. The members of this organization live in the isolated mountain districts of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky.

    The large variety of objects produced by these mountain people is due to three facts; that handicrafts have died out elsewhere, but are still being practiced in the Appalachian Mountains, the revival of interest in them by schools and individuals, thus providing an outside market, and the necessity of adding to the meager returns from the mountain farms by the sale of some product.
    One of the features of the exhibition is a collection of hearth brooms, showing how the urge to create something beautiful from the commonest materials works out in a practical way. Broomtying and basket making are usually done by the men and weaving by the women. The mountain housewives excel at this art everything from the simplest baby blanket done on a two-harness loom to the beautiful damasks and ten-harness weaving. Practically all the baskets are done either in natural wood colors or stained with native dyes. Of the handicraft centers in this exhibit which have included textiles colored with native dyes mention should be made of the John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, N.C., The Weave Shop, Saluda, N. C., and the Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, Kentucky. The streaking blue, madder and white blanket (#462) made by Ophie Jackson is an interesting item. She raised the sheep, carded and spun the yarn, dyed it with vegetable dyes, worked out her own design and weave the blanket on her old mountain loom.

    The Cherokee Indian handicrafts are well represented.. This tribe, in spite of great discouragements, has preserved some of its most important customs, leaning new manual skills while continuing the old ones.

    Remarkable photographic interpretations of mountain people by Doris Ulmann are a most appropriate accompaniment to this exhibition.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1916 - 1930. 10-12_1933, 097.
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