Buckskin to Broadcloth to showcase culture, trade and clothing of Southeastern Native Americans
Buckskin to Broadcloth: The Changing Tides of Trade & Culture will be on display from March 10 through May 10 at the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art, 511 N. Water St., Tuscumbia. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 1 to 3 p.m., Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and free on Sundays.
Buckskin to Broadcloth will have an opening from 1 to 3 p.m., March 10. Doug Rodgers, retired history professor at the University of Montevallo, provided the work on display at Buckskin to Broadcloth. Rodgers is an expert in the field of Native American studies who was previously commissioned by the TVMA to create a replica of Chief Colbert’s Sash. He will give a gallery talk at 1:30 p.m. at the opening.
The exhibition focuses on the changing lifeways of Alabama’s Native Americans from 1790 through the 1800s amidst increasing trade with Europeans.
As trade increased, apparel shifted from skins, plant fiber, shell and bone found naturally to goods such as calico, linen, lace, fringe, silver, brass and glass beads among others. Buckskin to Broadcloth will show how Southeastern Native Americans artistically and creatively took to these European trade goods to create new clothing, styles and beautiful objects reflective of their own rich culture.
Additionally, TVMA curator of visual arts and education Mollie Schaefer-Thompson will host four workshops that will include a gallery walkthrough and workshops inspired by the exhibition.
The March 28 and April 25 workshops are $15 and will feature embroidery where visitors will bring their own article of clothing to embellish. The April 11 and May 2 workshops are $20 and will allow visitors to use natural dyes to color fabric provided by the museum.
“Our workshops will expand on what visitors see in the exhibition,” Schaefer-Thompson said. “So you can take the inspiration from viewing the work and immediately put it to use. This also helps cement what you’ve learned and gives a deeper appreciation of how much skill and artistry was required to make many of these items.”
Throughout the exhibition, the TVMA’s permanent exhibition of the Martin Petroglyph and Chief Colbert Sash, along with the Rodgers’ replica, will also be open, further complimenting Buckskin to Broadcloth.
The Tennessee Valley Museum of Art’s Jim Berryman said Buckskin to Broadcloth is an examination of the culture that was here and will highlight the interplay of tools for survival and social status.
“It will show the sophistication of the native culture and the value they put on artistry and mastery to the extent that their status was shown by the number of finely crafted items that were given to them to wear,” Berryman said.