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Handmade in the Creative Economy

Left: One of The Oriole Mill’s Jacquard looms weaving a black arrow throw fabric. Courtesy of Oriole Mill, Peak Definition Photography 

Right: A sample of The Oriole Mill's bedding products, Mark Markley photograph

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Stephan Michelson, Owner of Oriole Mill, and Bethanne Knudson, Design Director & CEO of Oriole Mill. Courtesy of Oriole Mill, Peak Definition Photography



Gee's Bend and The Oriole Mill: Time and Textiles

In this lesson, students will explore various forms of fabric construction while considering ideas of hand work, time invested in creating art, the marketing of textiles, and humans’ use of textiles. Students will view two segments of the Craft in America Industry episode; on the quilts of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, and The Oriole Mill textile factory in North Carolina. Students will examine several concepts introduced in the videos, including the comparison of creating by hand versus by machine, the function of time in the making and valuing of crafts, the marketing of textiles through association with place, and students’ essential connections with textiles. Students will practice their choice of quilting, weaving, sewing, or knitting, and then design and create fabric squares for pieced textiles. Through this work, students will determine their own perceptions of the value of handwork, time, marketing, and their daily use of textiles.

Grade level: 9-12 

download Download the Lesson Guide and worksheets for Gee's Bend and The Oriole Mill in PDF format HERE to get started in your classroom.


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