Remember when I had that design on exhibit at the American Textile History Museum? Wasn’t that fun, kids?

Now that we’re living local, I was invited back to the ATHM to have a pow-pow with some of the muckamucks about Outreach and Education and making texiles accessible and interesting to the public. And again, I had a fabulous time. I think they put something in the water.

If you’ve never seen the Museum, here’s what greets you when you walk inside:

I love the carpet; I want to hop from one square to another

Approach, young grasshoppah…

 

Right at the entrance, there was this REALLY COOL totally steampunk machine that printed designs onto fabric. The metal rollers had designs carved into them and ink was spread into the carvings and then the fabric was pressed against the metal roller, like an old mimeograph machine. Some of us actually remember those…and that SMELL of freshly printed papers. Good times.

 

I can only imagine buildings full of these machines and the noise it must have made

I want to see this thing RUN

You know when you look really hard at the flower print on your bedsheets and sometimes the colors in the flowers just didn’t line up? I’ll bet it was a machine like this that printed the design and it was just off a bit.

(you did look at the flowers on your bedsheets and notice when the designs were misaligned, right?)

So, I didn’t have the cheek to ask to take actual photos inside the museum, though OMG they have some great stuff. They took me behind the scenes and showed me some of their holdings that are being kept safe until there’s room to show them. Like this:

Can't imagine walking in them...

Aren’t these gorgeous?

This pic came from the ATHM website; I’m pretty sure that I saw this pair of boots in their storage drawers. Gawd, they are beautiful and they look like new. Not sure how anyone would walk in them, but still. Gorgeous.

I could go on and show lots more piccies, but the gyst of what happened was that we talked about ideas for how to make sewing/fabrics/textiles really fun and interesting. They think that I’d be good for outreach to teen-aged girls (really?) and maybe I could teach some classes like basic sewing while learning to make a shoulderbag, or maybe basic mending. Or maybe have an evening of ‘Sketching with the Seamstress’ where people get together with drawing paper and do a still-life of one of the dresses, then have mock-tails and canapés. Stuff like that.

Then Sally the fabulous director of development bought me lunch and it was one of the yummiest I’d had in a long time. Seriously? They had me at hello.

Stay tuned for more on what mischief I can create with these folks…

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