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Join us for lunch and compelling discussion Joanne Harvey as she discusses the topic, Implements of Loving Labor: Historic Needlework, Tools, and Other Feminine Curiosities on Thursday, December 6, 2018. A boxed lunch will be provided.


Date and Time




David M. Rubenstein Leadership Hall
Fred W. Smith National Library
3600 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.
Mount Vernon, VA 22121

Header Image: Sewing Case, 1800-1840. Bequest of Marie Worthington Conrad Lehr in memory of her brother Charles Angelo Conrad, 1915 [W-588]. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. 
Designed to house the necessary tools of needlework, this sewing case combines fabrics worn by Martha Washington in a utilitarian object that serves as a reminder of her personal style. Silver and gold threads woven into some of the silks are indicative of her wealth and her requests for "the Best" articles available. The case itself may have been constructed by Mrs. Washington late in life or by one of her granddaughters, who treasured articles worn by her.

About the Topic

Needlework tools and other feminine curiosities have held a fascination for many a student of historical embroideries.  With the aid of these implements, needlework items from purely functional to highly sophisticated were made possible.  We shall look at a wide range of these tools fashioned with both expert craftsmanship and stunning beauty to those made out of necessity with thriftiness in mind.  Among such tools and items we will explore are: work boxes, pockets, work bags, clamps, tambour tools, tape measures, needle books, needle cases, huswifs, pincushions, and pattern sources.

About the Speaker

Since 1976, Joanne Harvey has produced needlework reproductions and original designs under the name of The Examplarery.  Her work is licensed by many of the leading museums and private collections such as Colonial Williamsburg, Winterthur, Rhode Island Historical Society, SPNEA, Peabody Essex Museum and Historic Deerfield to name just a few that her work is affiliated with.  Joanne has blended her reproduction needlework seminars, lectures, and writings on historical needlework with woman's social history.  Her work has been commissioned by various motion picture and television productions as well.  Her background includes a degree in Art  Education  and American History, guide and guide supervisor and conservation technician at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.