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Mountain Heritage Center opens new textile exhibit

mch coverlets

Coverlets: New Threads in Old Patterns exhibit, Mountain Heritage Center.

The Mountain Heritage Center opened a new exhibit for the summer, “Coverlets: New Threads in Old Patterns,” on display through Aug. 31 at Western Carolina University.

Many families prize historic coverlets, lightweight and intricately designed woven blankets, both as family heirlooms and works of art.

The exhibition features 19th and 20th century coverlets from Jackson, Swain and Cherokee counties. Visitors of all ages can learn the process of weaving coverlets through various touchable items and a working loom, as well as historic tools such as hackles and shuttles. The display explains parts of the process used to create the woven coverlets, as well as what materials were used.

“Our hope is that this exhibit will introduce visitors to the traditions of natural dyeing and hand weaving,” said Peter Koch, Mountain Heritage Center education associate. “We’re excited to share the stories behind these coverlets and their makers to broaden understanding and appreciation of weaving as an art form and its role in shaping the community.”

The exhibit also explores ways in which coverlets shifted from being solely home-use items to their role in the Craft Revival period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries showcasing mountain crafts to create new economic opportunities for women and their families.

Admission is free and the Mountain Heritage Center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday in WCU’s Hunter Library. Call or email prior to your visit for information about parking. For questions about the exhibit or the Mountain Heritage Center, visit or call 828-227-7129.

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