Lucy Morgan and American Handweaving
In honor of nominations for Handwoven's Teacher of the Year Award, sponsored by Ashford/Foxglove Fibers, we here at BeWeave It headquarters thought it would be fun to do a series of BeWeave Its on famous weaving teachers throughout history. We're starting off this series with a BeWeave It originally published in August 2011 and we need help from YOU on who to cover next. If you're curious about a specific weaving teacher from history (Anni Albers, Mary Meigs Atwater, etc.) email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestion.
After the Industrial Revolution, American handweaving was in danger of going extinct. Fortunately for us, wonderful individuals around the country kept it alive by opening weaving schools and teaching others. Lucy Morgan was just one of the many who made it her life's goal to teach weaving to others. A part of the Craft Revival in North Carolina, Lucy's didn't just want to teach her students to weave, but she also wanted them to gain economic independence.
As Lucy put it, "[I want] to bring about a revival of hand-weaving…[and] provide our neighbor mothers with a means of adding to their generally meager incomes without having to leave their homes….My mind wove fanciful visions while my tired, sore fingers were weaving tangible materials." In 1923 Lucy began teaching local women to weave in their homes. Later that same year she was appointed as head of the Appalachian School's Fireside Industries where she taught weaving in a set location and found outlets for selling the finished wares.
Her program and influence grew and in 1929 Lucy founded what is now known as The Penland School of Crafts where the same women she had taught were now teaching others. So raise your shuttles for Lucy Morgan, one of the many intrepid teachers who kept people weaving.