A Look Back: Weaving at Hindman Settlement School

Appalachian arts and crafts have been an important part of settlement life since our founding. In their initial trips to the area, May Stone and Katherine Pettit spent time visiting homes of the local people. They admired the traditional weaving done by many of the older mountain women which they described as “rarely beautiful and artistic”, but feared it would soon die out. The younger women in these families, to Pettit and Stone at least, seemed to have little interest in learning the craft. As soon as the school was officially established, a loom was purchased and traditional weaving became part of the curriculum. Later the Fireside Industries Department would provide an economic incentive to those willing to learn and continue the traditional craft.  

Today I wanted to share some photos we have in the archives that depict the craft of weaving at Hindman through the years.  

Local woman weaving on a porch using a homemade loom.

Local woman making dye for fabrics.  The dye she is making is made from vegetable juice.

Spinning yarn.

Della Owens using a loom in the Fireside Industries cabin.

Students show off weaving projects.

Samples of weaving done at the school.

Carding wool.

Students weaving.

Students demonstrating the different stages of weaving.

Students modeling skirts woven at Hindman.