Occupational Traditions: Textiles
During the early 1880s the Tidewater Kennebec Region was rich with textiles. Seaports in Bath, Richmond, and Gardiner exchanged hooked rugs, silks, tapestries and needlework from the region and ports beyond. Almost every Maine household had a spinning wheel turning farm-grown flax and wool and imported cottons into fine threads from which yards of fabric were woven and then sewn into clothing. Local mills eased the burden of home production by processing fibers, spinning yarns and later, replacing home looms, to weave clothe. By this time, legions of home seamstresses set their skills towards tailoring both men’s and women’s garments. Around 1840, forty percent of Maine’s manufacturing output involved textiles.
We draw on centuries of textile know-how, passed down through generations and embedded in our hands.