News & Views
Photo of Sandwich Village by Joe Janis
The Mill, by Wendy Ketchum
July 9th through July 26th. Local artist, Wendy Ketchum, has created an intriguing series of woodcut monoprints based on 19th century New England textile mills. Her exhibit will open at Patricia Ladd Carega Gallery on July 9.
The series was inspired by her love of history, 19th century photographs and the “many long rows of massive brick buildings” that dot the New England landscape. Her meticulous technique combines with her subject matter in a series of poignant pictures relating to the history of the “Mill Girls.” The work is inspired by old photographs of mill workers, as well as actual patterns made from fabrics created at the mills.
Join us for a reception to meet the artist on Saturday, July 9th from 5 to 7 pm. Ketchum will also host a “conversation” about the “Mill Girls” and their place in our history on Saturday, July 16 at 9:30 am.
Ketchum’s artist statement best describes The Mill, a project that has taken her several years to complete: “In the years between 1830 and 1860 tens of thousands of young single women were recruited to leave their family farms in northern New England to seek social and economic independence through employment in the textile mills. Despite the yoke of corporate paternalism, millwork put a new kind of power into women’s hands economically, providing them with the highest wages offered to female employees anywhere in the US at the time.
Coming from farms where time was dependent on the seasons, the “mill girls,” as they were called, were faced with the tyranny of the bell and clock tower dictating every minute of their working day. The cotton that fed the mills was grown and processed by slave labor in the American South, and a portion of it was woven by mill girls into coarse cloth to clothe those very slaves creating a closed circle of labor. Many of the mill girls became ardent abolitionists, in addition to becoming labor reform activists fighting for better working conditions through walkouts, mass rallies, strikes, and the creation of one of the first labor reform leagues in the country.
The exhibit will be on view through July 26th. The gallery is located at 69 Maple Street in Center Sandwich. Gallery hours are from 10 to 5 Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday and Monday, if the door is open, come on in. www.patricialaddcaregagallery.com, 603 284-7728
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