The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 15, 2000


Museum Reviews Two different quilt exhibits in Lowell

Second Impressions: Quilters Celebrate Cocheco Fabrics at the American Textile Museum, is the culmination of a challenge put forth by P&B Textiles of Burlingham, California and the Museum to introduce a new line of antique reproduction fabrics.

The fabric selection was drawn from samples of Cocheco artifacts in the Museum's Osborn Library. The Cocheco textile mills were located in Dover, New Hampshire. Dover, with Taunton, Lowell, and Fall River, led the way in large-scale printing of cotton fabric in the 1820s. Dover's first mill was built in 1815 on the Upper Falls of the Cocheco River. The Cocheco Manufacturing Company, incorporated in 1827, became a force in American textile manufacturing. As with other northern textile mills, Dover experienced a decline in the early 1900s. The Cocheco Manufacturing Company was bought out in 1909 and discontinued all operations in 1937.

The designs chosen for the collection were produced between 1881 and 1885. Nine historic designs were reproduced in 37 historic and contemporary colorways. Quilters were asked to create quilts using 75 percent of the fabric line in the quilt top. The palette is a challenging one. The quilters met the challenge in a variety of interesting ways, some choosing carefully from the available colors to meet their creative ideals, others allowing the colors themselves to lend them inspiration.

Stories to tell

While the quilts are lovely, even more compelling are the stories that accompany them. Some quilters were drawn to the history of the textiles themselves and researched the mills that originally produced them, incorporating some part of their story into their quilts. Others drew their inspiration from the quilts of the period, taking pleasure in their ability to recreate them. Yet others were inspired to take favorite patterns and make individual artistic statements. The Merit Award winning quilt "The Great Ideas" is a collaborative effort produced by the eighth-grade "Team Extreme" from the Doherty Middle school in Andover, Massachusetts, as part of an integrated lesson.

The exhibit runs through December 31 and is included in the general museum admission. For more information call 978-441-0400 or visit the museum's web site at

Another exhibit

If your interests lean more towards the contemporary, then check out Quilt 21: American Art Quilts for the 21

This exhibit will run through October 22 and is free. For information call 978-459-7819.

How to get to the Quilt Exhibit in Lowell:

The American Textile Museum, adjacent to Lowell's National Historical park, is located 11 miles north of Carlisle Center. Take Route 495 North or South to the Lowell Connector exit 35C. Take the Lowell Connector to Exit 5B (Thorndike Street). Follow Thorndike Street through four sets of traffic lights. Bear right at the fourth traffic light onto Dutton Street. Museum entrance and parking lot will be on your immediate left. The Museum is the red brick building with green and yellow banners.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito