Regional private collectors put their coverlets on display, for free, at the Putnam County Museum. Open to the public, Monday through Friday, the Heirloom Coverlet Exhibit will begin on October 19 and be on display through the end of the year, until January 19.
The Heirloom Coverlets exhibit — characterized as “visually stunning” by Museum Executive Director Lisa Harris Mock. Coverlets originated in Europe with the west coast of Scotland particularly noteworthy but the early woven varieties did not have the intricate patterns such as those produced in the United States in the mid 19th century. The invention of the Jacquard loom attachment, run by a series of punch cards, created the complex and unique designs still cherished today. Jacquard coverlet work was known for its flowery patterns with curves and swoops, Mock said. A video presentation will accompany the exhibit, showing how the Jacquard machine worked. Fiber tools, flax and wool also will be on display, while demonstrators will show weaving techniques. “Visually, this is going to be stunning,” Mock assured. “Very stunning.” In general, coverlets — created as woven textiles as opposed to quilts that combine cut-to-shape pieces that are woven together — are 92 inches long and 72 inches wide. The Putnam County Museum exhibit will include 10 coverlets from the private collection of John and Janet Simmerman of Winamac, well-known collectors with more than 700 coverlets in their arsenal.