Current Exhibition

textiles in fashion early days

“Threads of History: Exploring Maine’s Textile Past”

Collaborative programming exploring Maine textile history in and around Brunswick and Topsham. May-September 2017


An exhibition at Maine Fiberarts with artwork and artifacts by: Chris Antonak, Elizabeth Berkana, Kate Brinsmade, Barbara Burns, Crystal Cawley, Janet Conner, Stephanie Crossman, Henry D'Alessandris, Richard Lee, Roslyn Logsdon, Arlene Morris, Nan Heldenbrand Morrissette, Gail Skudera, Jill Snyder Wallace, and Donald Talbot. On view May 10-September 1, 2017.

Reception: Sunday, July 23, 1:30-4 p.m. Gallery Hours: Wed.-Friday, 11-4; Saturday, 11-2

Historian Candace Kanes will lead a walk along Maine Street, Brunswick pointing out the locations of fiber-related businesses: corsetieres, dressmakers, milliners, seamstresses, tailors, and dry goods stores covering the period from 1825 to 1930. Discussions will address why women, especially, operated small businesses, shops, or engaged in the dress, hat, and corset-making trades, and how their activities (as well as those of men in the fields) shaped the Brunswick and Topsham communities for many years. A brief overview about commercial textile manufacturing in Brunswick will also be explored.

Logistics: This is a 60-minute walk; less than one mile along Maine Street, with occasional benches to rest upon.

Meet: By the clock at the front of the Tontine Mall in Brunswick at 5:30 p.m. Park in the municipal lot behind Little Dog Coffee Shop or Senters, or along Maine Street, Brunswick.

Date: Thursday, July 27, 5:30 p.m.
[Rain date: Saturday, July 29, 10 a.m.]

Fee: $7/MF members; $10/others.

After a brief illustrated talk on the history of the Cabot Mill from its beginning as The Brunswick Company in 1835 through the end of textile production in the 1950's, Scott Hanson will lead a walking tour of the mill complex, entering some areas the public rarely sees. Date to be announced.

Scott will talk about the development and history of the significant and important textile mills that once employed large numbers of people in Brunswick and Topsham. From small wool carding mills in the 1820's through the massive brick Cabot cotton mill, built between 1895 and 1923, textile production played an important role in the community's growth and prosperity for more than a century. Date to be announced.

The Skolfield-Whittier House is a time capsule of Maine life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. “Scarcely a cup has been moved since a ship captain’s family and his descendants resided in the home, making the Skolfield-Whittier House an uncommon lens into lives and lifestyles of the past.” A special emphasis on historical textiles will be offered by our guide. Date to be announced.

Hands-on piecing and machine sewing workshop offered by the talented Stephanie Levy, who creates quilts, garments, and “potholder” rugs using carefully-saved fabric scraps. Learn to design, prepare strips of fabric, and machine sew a 10-inch square for use in making quilts, potholders, bags or garments. Stephanie’s technique is fast and organized so that creating beautiful quilts are not out of reach.

A supply list will be sent to students registering (sewing machine, notions, washed and ironed fabrics in a range of darks and lights), and we’ll have ironing boards, irons, cutting boards and extension cords on hand. Learn an historical technique for use in contemporary work.

Date: Saturday, July 22, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Class fee: $45 for members of Maine Fiberarts; $60 for others. Everyone is welcome. A very fun class! FMI: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 207-721-0678.

An original video created in 2011 by Maine Fiberarts to embellish a copy of a 1950's TV program found in the Worumbo Mill. The video highlights the lost “Made to Measure” industry at Lewiston’s Worumbo Mill. This video will be on a continuous loop during the Reception for "Threads of History: A Contemporary Take" at Maine Fiberarts, Sunday, July 23, between 1:30-4 p.m.

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Maine Humanities Council, Alfred Senter Fund, Davis Family Foundation and Maine Fiberarts’ members and friends.

Threads of History