(Posted September 18, 2017)

Huntingdon, Pa. -- Starting Sept. 21, 2017, the Juniata College Museum of Art will host an exhibition titled “Connected Threads: 40 Years of the Embroiderers’ Guild.” Featuring the work of nine members of the Huntingdon chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America (EGA), the exhibition was curated by five Juniata students and begins with an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 

Presented in honor of the Huntingdon EGA’s 40th anniversary, the exhibit features contemporary works executed in a variety of techniques, shown alongside antique works, some of which were made by relatives of the members. These pieces demonstrate continuity and evolution in an art form that crosses time and culture.

“I hope attendees will get an appreciation for a type of art that we don’t typically display,” says Jen Streb, associate professor of art and curator at the Juniata College Museum of Art. “In the past, we’ve exhibited painting, ceramics and photography. This will be a good experience to see another type of art.” 

Five Juniata College alumni will have their work included in the exhibition. They include Joan Engle, Susan Witmer, Doris Comerford Hults, Dawn Woodle and Anita Nwaobilo. Similarly, five students who are currently enrolled in the Museum Studies Practicum course at the College are researching embroidery techniques and writing labels for pieces in the show. 

When guild members dropped off their work, they were invited into class. Students asked the artists about how they got involved in embroidery, their favorite techniques, and what tools of the trade they use. 

“Meeting the women who are allowing us to display their works showed me the importance of the EGA as an organization for the growth and preservation of embroidery and needlework,” says Ann Ordiway, a junior from St. Marys, Pa., who is helping to curate the exhibition. “I am excited for the opening of this show, and hope it will draw more members to the Huntingdon chapter of the EGA!” 

Guild members, who were invited to submit no more than five pieces of embroidery for the show, also seemed to enjoy interacting with the budding museum studies professionals. 

“In the museum we wear gloves and do paperwork,” says Streb. “Guild members were laughing; they found it comical that we were holding their artwork with gloves.”

In addition to featuring current guild members’ work, the show features some antique, 19th century pieces, done by relatives of the guild members. The Museum is also borrowing a work, the Yoder Sampler, from the Huntingdon County Historical Society. 

“The intricacy of the techniques is amazing,” Streb concludes. “We’re excited to introduce this technique to the college community in the hopes of getting younger people interested.”

Like all shows at the Juniata College Museum of Art, this exhibition is part of Juniata’s commitment to bring “experiences that are thought-provoking, refreshing and entertaining,” to the Juniata campus and Huntingdon community. To learn more about Juniata College Museum of Art exhibitions, visit www.juniata.edu/museum. 

The Museum is free and open to the public. From September through May, it is open Mondays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays it is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and, on Saturday, it is open from noon to 4 p.m. 

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.