BRAHM Announces “Millhands/Handmade” Exhibit, on Display April 25 through July 26

Published Monday, April 13, 2015 at 5:59 pm

The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum is looking forward to revealing its latest exhibition, “Millhands/Handmade,” which will take a look at the South’s vast textile history — from the growth of industrial mills and their effect on southern families, to regional textile artists working today and keeping handmade techniques alive.

Lewis Hine, “Girl in Cherryville Mill,” 1908. Cherryville, NC. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, National Child Labor Committee Collection, LC-DIG-nclc-01357.

Lewis Hine, “Girl in Cherryville Mill,” 1908. Cherryville, NC. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, National Child Labor Committee Collection, LC-DIG-nclc-01357.

The exhibit will be open from April 25 to July 26, and a reception for this exhibition and others on view will be held during BRAHM’s Summer Exhibition Celebration on May 9 from 5:30-7 p.m., following Blowing Rock’s Art in the Park. The event is free and open to the public.

“Textiles are rooted deeply into the history of North Carolina,” said BRAHM Executive Director Lee Carol Giduz. “They are part of our story. In the exhibit Millhands/Handmade, visitors will glimpse the history of textiles from our industrial mill past to contemporary art forms being crafted in our mountains and our state today.”

Historic artifacts from Southern textile mills and life-size photographs of overworked millhands from the industrial age will set the scene and invite viewers to step into the past. Contemporary works by four regional North Carolina artists will compliment the historical display and, in turn, ask viewers to reflect on the past through the present. Keeping in mind ideas of labor and laborious practices, Millhands/Handmade presents a unique perspective on the everlasting, ever-evolving story of textiles.

Exhibiting artists include Edwina Bringle, Catharine Ellis, Jeana Klein and Nava Lubelski.

Bringle has spent much of her career living and working at Penland School of Crafts. After just one visit to Penland with her sister, Cynthia, a renowned potter, she discovered a love for weaving that influenced her to leave her practice as an X-ray technician in Memphis and move permanently to North Carolina. Despite the time-consuming process that is hand-weaving, Bringle has produced a countless number of pieces over the years. Her work exists through fearless color combinations of warp and weft, for which she is most recognized and highly respected.

Ellis is best known for her creation of woven shibori. She has made a career for herself as a weaver for decades, putting a variety of techniques into practice. Most recently, she has been using Jacquard looms in the Oriole Mill in Hendersonville to weave fabric, then further altering them through natural dye processes and woven shibori techniques. Ellis is an author of Woven Shibori, and she regularly teaches classes, gives talks and is highly involved with various textiles organizations around the state.

Klein was handed a crochet needle and yarn at the age of three and taught from then on to create for herself. By the time she was in college, she found a love for weaving that inspired her to pursue a career as a textile artist. Her latest work explores a mixed media combination of hand-quilting and embroidery, following with painting directly onto the handmade fabric surfaces, treating them as her canvas. Klein teaches fibers in the Art Department at Appalachian State University and continues to use her work to explore themes revolving around the ideas of artistic value.

Lubelski lives and works in Asheville, and her work is recognized and collected across the country, from New York to California. Utilizing found objects, embroidery techniques and sculptural tendencies, Lubelski’s work explores the boundaries and “contradictions between the impulse to destroy and the compulsion to mend.” Along with thread and fabric, much of her work is composed of collected paper threads. Her creations are intricate and detailed, yet equally engaging at a distanced view.

General admission to the BRAHM is $7 for adults and $6 for students, seniors, active military and children ages 5 and up. Donations are accepted for admission to the Museum on Thursdays. Located at 159 Chestnut Street on the corner of Chestnut and Main in Blowing Rock, the BRAHM is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Thursdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays. For more information, please call 828-295-9099 or visit



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