The Mill Museum occupies the former headquarters of the American Thread Company’s once giant Willimantic Mills in Willimantic Connecticut.
At its height, in the early 20th century the Willimantic Mills was the largest factory in Connecticut and the largest thread mill in North America. Its high status earned the town of Willimantic the name Thread City.
Over the years, the town of Willimantic has tried to preserve the Thread City’s history. In recent years, with the help of local artists, the museum has begun hosting a multiple-week event to showcase and celebrate the textile arts.
Textile Events to Celebrate The Thread City
Last year, I participated in this event and shared with you the events I attended.
This year, the organizers added a new element to the event – an invitational art show. It is an honor to be one of the invitees. I submitted two of my works, Loopy Loops #1 and Loopy Loops #2.
The title “Loopy Loops” was inspired by a strand of thread in a loop that I found laying on my sewing machine.
I got to attend the closing ceremony where all of us exhibiting artists gave talks about our pieces in the show. Arriving an hour earlier, I was able to tour one of the buildings which make up the Mill Museum. Previously, I did a write-up on my tour of the Brooke Shannon Exhibit Room of the museum.
Although the equipment in this other building is showing their age, you can still tell how impressive they must have looked in their glory days.
However, I wish I had a tour guide to answer some of my questions, but I didn’t. The color of the blue thread on that equipment above was breathtaking. I don’t know how old the thread is but the color is still looking great.
Thread Equipment in The Mill Museum
The huge equipment used back in those days tells you how advanced their operations were for their time. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to understand how they came to manufacture the threads used in U. S. army uniforms, NASA spacesuits, and major league baseballs.
I’m curating a regional exhibition for SAQA (Studio Art Quilts Associates). And one of the venues we’ve got booked to show this exhibit next year is the Mill Museum. It’ll be wonderful to partner with the Thread City in this way to celebrate its history and the artists who create their work with threads and other fibers.
Future Textile Event Planned for the Mill Museum
Planning and organizing a multi-venue group show involves a lot of moving pieces. Although we started planning more than a full year before the first event in 2018, there’s still a lot of work to be done to get this show on the road. I’ve received a LOT of help from some very good people., without whom I wouldn’t have made the progress I’ve made.
You can bet I’ll be bringing you more updates about the next SAQA regional show in Connecticut. “Inspired by Science is going to be the theme. Shh…I haven’t started work on what to enter yet. And the deadline for entry is December this year.