Dianne & Christine’s Excellent Adventure

Dianne and Christine’s excellent adventure started in Buffalo, NY, where Dianne landed on Monday at the Buffalo airport.  Christine picked her up and we proceeded east:  destination Oneida.


Oneida Community Mansion House & Museum

Oneida, NY is home to the Oneida Community Mansion House and Museum, where the braided silk tapestries of Jessie Catherine Kinsley are on display.  We had seen two of the braided tapestries at the Sauder Village display, but we wanted to see the whole collection.

Jessie Kinsley (1858 – 1938) was born into a religious utopian commune called the Oneida Community.  This utopia included some interesting ideas about marriage and child-rearing.  Overall, it was a good cooperative community that was a happy place.


One of the panels in “Bewitched,” by Jessie Kinsley.  Exquisite borders, velvet braided tree trunks, and notice how she wove some sparkle through the braid in the top border.

Jessie married when the community broke up and raised a family.  As a widow in her 50’s, she turned to braiding as her artistic outlet.  She collected scraps of silk and velvet, braided them together, and made beautiful landscapes that were embellished with braided people, sheep, trees, etc.  Many of the tapestries were quite large, covering entire walls, although she also made smaller ones; they were often inspired by poetry that she embroidered onto the works.  More info:  http://www.oneidacommunity.org


Dianne in the sun outside the museum

We then headed northeast to Burlington, VT.  Relying on our GPS while we chatted away, and with only an hour remaining before we were due at a reception, we suddenly found ourselves on the edge of a lake at an empty ferry dock.  We were quite dismayed, because Lake Champlain is a BIG lake with no bridges.  We thought we were going to have to drive an hour south or several hours north to get around the lake, but then the ferry sailed into view and we were saved.

In Burlington, we made it to the opening reception for Kris McDermet and Anne Cox, the two featured artists at the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild’s rug show, “Hooked in the Mountains.”  Many of Kris’ beautiful hooked and braided pieces, as well as collaborative works and student works, were on display.


Kris McDermet in front of one of her rugs in her Featured Artist Exhibit at “Hooked in the Mountains,”  Essex Jct, VT


Also on display was the Contemporary Braided Art Rug exhibit.  It was a real treat to see all of the rugs on display, and right across from Kris’ exhibit!  There were a few new pieces added to the display from the Sauder Rug Hooking Week exhibit.  This exhibit will also travel to Philadelphia in the spring, where it will be shown at Schwenkfelder Museum.

THEN if that wasn’t enough, we drove to Methuen MA where we are attending the New England Braids conference.  Dianne is teaching “Beyond Wool for Hooking and Braiding” and Christine is teaching a small braided flower.  It is always so much fun to see everyone and see the beautiful braids that everyone is making.

Truly an excellent adventure!




We Need A Museum List

Christine here.  We rug braiders don’t have a national museums, like the quilters and rug hookers do.  Maybe in the future there will be enough recognition of the Art of Rug Braiding to allow the creation of one.  For right now, we are very pleased when we even get our braided rugs on exhibit, as in the recent show in Sauder Village of Contemporary Braided Art Rugs.

I am delighted to say that the Sauder exhibit — or at least, a goodly portion of it — will travel to two other sites:  (1) The Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild’s “Hooked in the Mountains” show, October 17-21, in Essex Junction, VT, and (2) the Schwenkfelder Library and Museum, in Pennsburg, PA… in the spring, but dates uncertain.  I’m hoping that we can either build an trip to the exhibit into the VF Spring Braid in weekend, or else suggest that people stop on the way to the braid in (it’s about 40 minutes south of Bethlehem, PA).

But in looking for braided rugs that are permanently on display… that’s hard to find.  So I thought we should create a Museum List, so that when we’re traveling, we have new and innovative ways to aggravate family members while we go gaze reverently at antique textiles.

I have a few places that I know of for us to start with, and I’m hoping that other braiders from around the country will write in with other destinations for braided textile art.

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    One of Jessie C. Kinsley’s braided silk tapestries on display at the Oneida Community Mansion House Museum in Oneida, NY

    Oneida Community Mansion House Museum.  This museum in Oneida, NY is home to the large collection of braided silk tapestries made by Jessie Catherine Kinsley.

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    Jessie Catherine Kinsley           (1858-1938)


    The Oneida Community was one of those breakaway religious communes striving for utopia that grew up in New York in the mid-1800s.  Jessie was born in that community, and after her death, the community collected and displayed her braided pieces.  These large braided works are wall pieces, and the museum is definitely worth a visit!  You can also stay at the mansion, which is a hotel, if desired.

    Oneida Community Mansion House Museum
    170 Kenwood Avenue
    Oneida, NY  13421

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    Pinwheel Braided Rug, by Annette “Nettie” Nelson, is part of the collection at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

    The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Colonial Williamsburg, VA has Delsie Hoyt’s great grandmother’s pinwheel braided rug in their collection.  I don’t think it’s always on permanent display, but the rug is clearly valued — it was just part of an exhibit that traveled to New York City in 2017.

    Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum
    326 Francis St W, Williamsburg, VA 23185

  3. The Shaker Village in Mount Lebanon, NY is home to three of the 5 known knit and braided rugs made by Elvira C. Hulett (c. 1805 – 1895).
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    Knit and braided rug, made by Elvira C. Hulett, part of the permanent collection of the Shaker Village in Mount Lebanon, NY

    These stunningly beautiful wool and cotton rugs have complex knit designs that are surrounded and, in some cases intermixed, with rows of braid.  The rug shown here is a knit rug with a 5-strand braid then a 3-strand braid.

    Shaker Village/Mt Lebanon
    202 Shaker Road, New Lebanon, NY 12125

  4. Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 10.57.23 AMAnother Shaker Village, this one in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, has at least two rugs of mixed textile techniques that feature braided borders in their designs.  The beautiful horse rug, above, has a 5- or 6-strand braid at the edge, I can’t quite tell which.  The Shakers were amazing in their innovative rug designs!

    Shaker Village/Pleasant Hill
    3501 Lexington Road, Harrodsburg KY 40330

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    Country Braid House made the new rug for the Nancy Hanks Lincoln Hall in the Lincoln Boyhood Memorial and National Park in Lincoln City, Indiana

    The Lincoln Boyhood Memorial and National Park has a huge, 20 foot diameter braided rug in use in the Nancy Hanks Lincoln Hall.  The photo above shows the new rug resting atop of the old one, just to make sure the size was right.  The rug was made by Country Braid House (https://www.countrybraidhouse.com/),  and the new rug was installed earlier this year (2018).

    A braided rug was chosen for the hall honoring Lincoln’s mother because they wanted the very best of what would have been available in her lifetime.  There is an interesting history on the making of the first rug for this site, and while I won’t go into it here, let me pique your interest by bringing up:  state mental institutions and the US Navy.

    Lincoln Boyhood Memorial and National Park
    3027 East South Street
    PO Box 1816
    Lincoln City, IN 47552
    Does anyone know of other sites where braided rugs are on display or at least part of a museum’s collection?  Let me know!