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Weaving in Early Portsmouth

Wentworth Lear Historic Houses
50 Mechanic Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
United States603-436-4406

On Saturday September 15, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Wentworth-Gardner House warehouse, Sandra Rux will talk about weaving in early Portsmouth and, with Susan Therriault, demonstrate weaving on an early loom. Because Portsmouth was a city of merchants and fishermen, there were fewer weavers than in many New England towns. Imported fabric was readily available and competitively priced. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries the few Portsmouth weavers were located at the Plains, where there was sufficient land for raising sheep and growing flax. By 1730, most “homespun” fabric was provided to Portsmouth people by weavers who lived in more rural areas. These competed with imported osnabergs and coarse Holland linens.

The demonstration will be on the barn-frame loom that has been in the Wentworth-Gardner House attic since 1940, when it was purchased by Charles Dale, along with spinning wheels and reels, for the museum. It has been moved and reassembled in the warehouse and is now ready for weaving. Ms Rux will explain the moving and reassembly process and the purpose of the different parts of the loom. Participants will be able to try their hand at weaving.

Sandra Rux received a BA in History from the University of Connecticut and an MA in History from Trinity College and is a graduate of the Museum Studies program of the Munson Institute, Mystic Seaport Museum. She came to Portsmouth in 2005 as the Synergy manager for the Portsmouth Historical Society, Warner House and Wentworth-Gardner and Lear Houses and then served as manager and curator for the Portsmouth Historical Society until December 2014. Currently she is the Curator of the Warner House Association and chairperson of the Portsmouth Athenaeum Exhibits Committee. A hand loom weaver herself, she has written about nineteenth-century carpet weaving for the Dublin Seminar and in Corsets, Clocks and Locks, a book about the industrial development of New Haven, CT. Recent exhibits include Three Centuries of Dining at the Warner House and two exhibits at the Portsmouth Athenaeum. Sandra lives in York with her husband Alan Haesche. Sandra has been weaving since 1991, focusing on 18th and 19th century textiles and weaving equipment.

Please register as space is limited. Donations welcome to support the Wentworth Lear Historic Houses

About Wentworth Lear Historic Houses
Wentworth Lear Historic Houses is comprised of both the Wentworth-Gardner House and the adjacent Tobias Lear House. Both homes date from the mid-1700s and are located at 50 Mechanic Street in the South End neighborhood of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. House tours are offered to the public, Thursday through Monday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. through Columbus Day and begin on the steps of the Wentworth-Gardner House. WLHH is dedicated to preserving and enhancing its structures, collections, and grounds, and contributing to the vitality of the community through education and outreach. For information, visit www.wentworthlear.org.