CENTER FOR LOWELL HISTORY UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS LOWELL LIBRARIES

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TEXTILE ART: 
ETHNIC WALL HANGINGS
 
Folk Clothing of Twelve Countries

This exhibit is a collection of fabric art panels that depict traditions in dress and dance of some twelve national groups.  They were selected from among the more than 50 ethnic groups represented in Lowell.

County Kerry, Ireland  1800

County Kerry, Ireland (1800)

Hooded woolen shawls, known as Kerry cloaks or "brats" were worn by both men and women.  In the 16th century the coarse woolen cloth from which the cloak was made was called "frieze."   The wool was dyed red, black, blue, or grey and worn by rich and poor in the 17th century.   Over the years the cloak became shortened into a shawl.   The couple pictured here is dancing the traditional Irish jig.
 
 
 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

The appliqués were researched, designed and hand-sewn by Flora Ormsby Smith in 1987.  Ms. Smith is currently the creative director of her own business, Dracut Design & Graphics.  Prior to moving to the Greater Lowell area, she was the art director for Wilson, Epstein & Freedman in Boston.  She has also worked as an art director for Purity Supreme, Stop & Shop, and Alfred Buyer Recruitment Advertisers in Needham.  Ms. Smith attended Massachusetts School of Art, Butera  School of Art and has studied with George Arons at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

     Lowell's rich and diverse cultural heritage inspired Ms. Smith to apply her expertise in design and needlework in a way that would help preserve the historic folk costumes and cultural traditions of twelve of the nationalities who immigrated to Lowell.

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