June 11, 2016
Lecture by Pamela A. Parmal, Chair and David and Roberta Logie Curator of Textile and Fashion Arts, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
As part of our 2016 Linn Lecture Series “Enterprise and Craft in the Young Nation” the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library will welcome Pamela A. Parmal for a lecture on June 11, 2016. Parmal is a leading authority on historical needlework. Parmal has curated many exhibitions and published numerous books and papers on quilts, embroidery and fashion.
In her lecture on June 11, Parmal will discuss how women’s embroidery work fueled commerce and offered an opportunity for women to earn income to support themselves and their families in early America.
During this time young women from well-to-do families were often taught different kinds of needle arts, including embroidery. Mastery of these skills was seen as a reflection of a family’s gentility. Many of the embroidered pieces these young women created were treasured and passed down for generations.
Women entrepreneurs who possessed skills in embroidery arts opened schools to teach fashionable stiches and techniques. Many of the women who ran these schools also had shops that imported and sold embroidery supplies to their pupils and the public. These schools helped to generate trade by creating a demand for the imported silk and cotton thread needed to craft the detailed designs in vogue at the time.
Schoolgirl embroidery techniques can be seen in our newest exhibition, "The Badge of a Freemason: Masonic Aprons from the Collection." Aprons such as the one below show evidence of embroidery techniques that were taught in the early 1800s at female academies.
This lecture is made possible by the generous support of the Ruby W. and LaVon P. Linn Foundation and is part of the lecture series, “Enterprise and Craft in the Young Nation.”