Tuesday, 15 June 2021

National Association of Colored Women's Club

Silk, wood, paint. 
A purple silk banner with gold fringe and the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs' motto, "LIFTING / AS / WE CLIMB" painted in large gold letters. The banner was used by the Oklahoma Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. T Above the words is a painted design of three interlocking triangles, the center of which is filled with the two on either side in outline. The bottom of the banner is scalloped and has an attached length of fringe. The top of the banner has a sewn loop running its length for a rod (2010.2.1b) to be inserted. There is a strip of gold fringe sewn just below this loop. The rod is currently stored in place in the banner. It is painted gold at the ends and has a dowel inserted at the end of the proper left side with a hole for a dowel on the proper right side.

Our History

We are women of color, African American women, black women.

Long before the founding of the of the organization, our forbearers, had organized ourselves into self-improvement and charitable organizations. These organizations were led by women named Harriet Tubman and Helen Appo Cook (both NACW founders), Sojourner Truth, Anna Julia Cooper, Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin and a plethora of unnamed others whose lives were devoted to the struggle to free people of color from the bondage of slavery, illiteracy, and prejudice in an unforgiving world that treated them as less than human. It was also the time of Ida B. Wells Barnett and her Red Record, a voluminous documentation of the lynching of black Americans.

The Letter

In 1895 James W. Jacks, president of the Missouri Press Association, received a letter from Florence Balgarnie of the English Anti-Lynching League asking American journalists to help battle lynching. Jacks’ now infamous reply to her letter, attacked African Americans and specifically, black women. Jacks wrote that, “The Negroes in this country are wholly devoid of morality. They know nothing of it except as they learn by being caught for flagrant violations of law and punished therefor… They consider it no disgrace but rather an honor to be sent to prison and to wear striped clothes. The women are prostitutes and all are natural liars and thieves….Out of 200 in this vicinity it is doubtful if there are a dozen virtuous women of that number who are not daily thieving from the white people.”

The Founding of NACWC

Equivalent to the “shot heard round the world” triggering the American Revolution, the effect of James Jacks’ letter response to Florence Balgarnie’s solicitation of journalist support against lynching, catapulted black women into action.
A national “Call to Confer” sent to women’s organizations of color was issued by Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, leader of Boston’s New Era Club.

At the conference, held in 1896 in Washington, DC, Mrs. Ruffin is quoted as stating, “The reasons why we should confer are so apparent…We need to talk over not only those things which are of vital importance to us as women, but also the things that are of special interest to us as colored women, the training of our children, openings for our boys and girls, how they can be prepared for occupations and occupations may be found or opened to them, what we especially can do in the moral education of the race with which we are identified, our mental elevations and physical development, the home training it is necessary to prepare them to meet [the] peculiar [special; difficult] conditions in which they find themselves, how to make the most of our own…opportunities, these are some of our questions to be discussed.”

Mrs. Ruffin’s statement is the foundation of the NACWC Mission. The enduring spirit of the statement has emboldened and inspired clubwomen, who have for nearly 120 years, given their energy, time, talent and their finances to serving their communities.

Above text and image from website:

National Association of Colored Women's Club

One of the most significant women’s clubs of all time was formed by black women for the advancement and empowerment of black communities. It is also the first and oldest national Black Organization, and it is known as the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.

For Black Americans, the post-abolition era was characterized by a shadow of violence, hardship, and oppression. Plagued by social issues like poverty, illiteracy, and poor working conditions, black communities recognized a resounding need for justice and reform. The rise of Jim Crow Laws gave way to heightened racism, then to widespread violence as lynchings threatened the safety and sovereignty of African Americans.

Especially in the South, white communities ignored the dire call to end racism and racial violence. In 1896, that call became even more urgent when a journalist named James Jacks delivered a horrifying response to a letter asking him to publicly condemn lynching. Jacks specifically attacked black women in his publication, describing them as “prostitutes” and “thieves” who were “devoid of morality”. His words demonstrated that much of the country was too enmeshed in it’s archaic, dangerous views of race to come to the aid of its black citizens.

Black women quickly realized that their greatest strength was in their identity. Their greatest weapon against racism was their own deep understanding of the plight of being black, woman, and oppressed in post-abolition America. In this time of radically heightened hostility, it was clear that black women themselves would have to begin the work toward racial equity- and they would have to do so by elevating themselves first. This realization prompted the coalescence of the National Association of Colored Women (later known as the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs).

The founding members of NACW rejected Jacks’ venomous narrative because they valued the strength and virtue of the black woman and knew that she was the key to moving Black Americans forward in society. The National Association of Colored Women was born out of this knowledge. Mary Mcleod Bethune officially organized the NACW in 1896. She would later become the first black female to head a federal office. Mary Church Terrell, a lifelong advocate for desegregation and women’s suffrage, acted as the Association’s first President. Another founding member was Josephine St Pierre Ruffin, who also created the very first black women’s newspaper. Other iconic members of the NACW are Fanny Coppin, Harriet Tubman, and Ida B. Wells.

The NACW’s founding principle was “Lifting as we Climb”, which echoed the nature of its work. Core members of the Association were educators, entrepreneurs, and social activists. They believed that by elevating their status as community organizers and leaders, black women could elevate the status of their entire communities. The Association focused on improving the public image of black women and bolstering racial pride. An empowering social space, the NACW encouraged black women to take on leadership roles and spearhead reform within their communities.

In the coming decades, the NACW focused much of its efforts on providing resources and social services to some of the most powerless members of society. Social welfare projects centered on a variety of youth issues.The Association built schools to offer better educational opportunities to children and to protect them from entering the juvenile justice system. The women of NACW also aided the elderly by funding and establishing assisted living homes. The Association was committed to promoting good moral standing and erasing harmful, racist stigmas about their community. Thus, they encouraged all members of the community to embody acceptable standards of hard work and virtuous behavior. The NACW provided access to many other resources, including daycares, health clinics, job trainings, and parenting classes.

The NACW also hoped to provide better opportunities for black women to advance as professionals and leaders. They established programs to assist women migrating from the South, offering affordable housing and job opportunities. Politically, the NACW took a strong stance against racist legislation. Mary B. Talbert, a founding member, was one of the most influential voices in the fight for passage of a federal anti-lynching bill. During this fight, the NACW fundraised, organized, and ultimately helped to further the agenda of anti-lynching activists. The Association also participated in the pursuit for women’s suffrage. With the NACWC behind them, black women influenced legislation, education, youth issues, economic empowerment, literacy, and activism as they worked tirelessly to meet the needs of Black America. In the past century, the NACW has secured tremendous progress and justice for African American communities. Today, the organization continues its devotion to the betterment of those communities. Now known as the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, the Association includes chapters all over the country and is primarily active in fundraising, education, and health and social services.

When great women convene for a cause, it is often found that the strength of their numbers transcends the power of solidarity. Women who share a common goal quickly realize the political, economic, and social power that is possible with their shared skills and talents- the power to transform their world. The National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs is an inspiring testament to the power of united women.

Above image and text source Women's Museum

Gilbert Baker, Artist

While we are not designing flags, the history of the Pride Flag is significant 
and the design has been adopted to the banner format. 

Above image from Gilbert Baker Foundation

Revel in the First Pride Flag, Long-assumed Lost, in San Francisco

The first Rainbow Flag, designed by artist and activist Gilbert Baker, was raised in 1978.

The first Rainbow Flag, adopted by the LGBTQ community as a symbol of pride and solidarity, was raised on June 25, 1978, at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. It was created by Gilbert Baker, an artist and queer activist, who described his rainbow-striped design as “something beautiful, something from us … it really fits our diversity in terms of race, gender, ages, all of those things.” That day, two pride banners replaced the United States and United Nations flags hoisted at the United Nations Plaza.

The flags constitute a priceless piece of queer history, but until now, they were both presumed lost. This April, a 10-by-28 feet-long segment of one of Baker’s authentic pride flags entered the collection of the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco, where it was unveiled last week as part of the ongoing exhibition Performance, Protest and Politics: The Art of Gilbert Baker.

The segment of one of the original rainbow flags created for San Francisco Gay Freedom Day 1978 rests in its case at the GLBT Historical Society Museum. (photograph by Andrew Shaffer, courtesy GLBT Historical Society)

The two flags flown during the 1978 parade were badly mildewed and damaged during storage at the San Francisco Gay Community Center in the years that followed, but Baker secretly managed to salvage a scrap of one of them. When the artist died in 2017, the historic piece of fabric landed in the hands of his sister Ardonna Cook, who loaned it to the Gilbert Baker Foundation two years later for the June 2019 Stonewall 50 Pride Parade in New York City. At that time, the Foundation was in the dark about the banner’s fascinating origins.

After the 2019 event, the fragment of the flag was folded and kept in the Manhattan home of Charley Beal, the foundation’s director. That summer, Beal was coincidentally contacted by James Ferrigan, an expert vexillologist — or flag historian — and one of Beal’s collaborators in the 1970s who was on the hunt for the long-lost segment. Upon hearing Ferrigan’s description of the fabric scrap, Beal realized it was the very same banner that was sitting in storage in his home.

Following authentication, the iconic relic was donated to the GLBT Historical Society, a public museum and archive focused on promoting a deeper understanding of LGBTQ history, culture, and arts.

“People are moved to tears because of how important and significant that first flag-flying in 1978 was to them,” the museum’s executive director, Terry Beswick, told the Guardian.

Unlike the mostly six-color Rainbow Flags seen today, Baker’s original design featured eight stripes with a pink strip at the top — a nod to the inverted pink triangle, a badge enforced by Nazi Germany during its persecution of gay men that has been reclaimed by the LGBTQ community. The last few years have seen a wave of new LGBTQ banners: in 2017, the city of Philadelphia introduced its own “Philly Pride Flag,” which incorporates black and brown stripes to represent the Black and Latin communities. Others flaunt the baby pink and blue colors of the Trans Pridge Flag, which subverts the traditional hues associated with gender as assigned at birth.

Beswick notes that Baker deliberately chose not to trademark his creation and “died a pauper, despite the fact that millions and millions of dollars have been made using the rainbow as an LGBTQ+ symbol.”

“Gilbert not only created a symbol of our movement, but that creation has actually pushed our movement forward,” Beswick said.

Article above from HyperAllergic  

Wednesday, 12 May 2021



This book in Proctor Library



Economy with a future

The resources of our planet are limited. For this reason, we are committed to establishing the circular economy as a sustainable, future-oriented concept in the industry and to protect the Earth in this way.

Sustainable and efficient use and processing of all raw materials is required to protect the environment. We have countered the wastefulness of business as usual with circular economy models. For example, we have shown how our environmentally responsible technology turns discarded garments into new sources of raw material for high-quality fibers.

What is circular economy?

The circular economy is oriented to nature as its role model. In essence, the concept of the circular economy aims to keep raw materials in a closed loop. In this way, resources are maximally used, the need for new ones is reduced, waste is avoided and the life cycle of products is increased. In short, the waste of today becomes the raw material of tomorrow - the same as in nature.

In this way, the circular economy differs from the current economic system i.e. the linear system, in which products are manufactured, used and disposed of.

Recycling textile waste

To address the enormous textile waste challenges of industry and society, Lenzing has developed a unique upcycling technology branded REFIBRA™. This technology utilizes pre-consumer cotton scraps and post-consumer garments from the textile value chain as raw materials.


Link below lists several companies involved in textile recycling and sustainability. 



Hand Block Printing

While printing designs onto fabric most likely originated in China about 4,500 years ago, it was on the Indian subcontinent where hand-blocked fabric reached its highest visual expression. Indians possessed unparalleled expertise in the secrets of natural plant dyes, particularly with mordants (metallic salts that both create color and allow it to adhere to fabric). A kind of mud resist-printing, called dabu, which allows areas of a design to be reserved from dye, also flourished here. A series of combinations of mordant and resist stamping and dyeing enabled Indian printers to create uniquely complex designs, coveted from Southeast Asia and palaces of Mughal emperors to the far-flung capitals of Western Europe. 

Above text from New York Times article. Read full article, link below:

Watch the process in the videos below:


Needlework Specimen Book, Anne Trotter, 1840


Unbound book of folded paper leaves containing a range of sewing and knitting samples, produced by Anne Trotter in 1840 at the Female Free School in Collon, County Louth in Ireland. Anne dated the book February 20 September 1840 on the inside cover which would make her 19 years old when she made the sample book.

Anne was a 'bounty' migrant from a large family and would have travelled with modest belongings. Finding room for the specimen book demonstrates its importance to her, as a connection to home, her childhood and her learned skills. The book has been handed down to the women in the family over the generations, showing its continued value as a precious family heirloom, until the book was donated to the Museum by Anne Trotter's great, great, great granddaughter.

Anne (also listed in public records as Ann) was born in Collon on 7 June 1820, daughter of Annie Davison (born in 1784 in Lisball, County Cavan, Ireland) and Joseph Trotter (born 1780 in County Cavan). She was the sixth of eight children (her youngest sister Rebecca died four days after birth) and the family were Protestants. She migrated to Australia on the barque the 'Dale Par'k, departing from Cork on 30 February 1844 and leaving London for Port Phillip on 21 July 1844 having arrived first in Gravesend on the 21 March. Anne was accompanied by her older brother Joseph (born 1809) and his wife Mary, and Anne's younger sister Eliza (born 1826). Anne is listed as being 23 years old, a domestic and travelled as a 'bounty' migrant. The family were travelling to meet their parents who were already living in Geelong. Records suggest that another brother also came to Victoria and one of her older sisters Maria migrated to Canada.

Anne married George Thomas Windsor and had two children - John Thomas, born in 1850 in Duneed near Geelong (who married Bridget Francis Nugent), and Elizabeth Jane, born in 1854 in Duneed (who married William Fleming). The family remained in the Victorian region west of Geelong around Mt Duneed, Colac and Camperdown. Her parents died in Colac in 1866 (Annie) and 1867 (Joseph). Her husband George died in 1893 in Barwon Victoria and Anne on 22 January 1910 in Victoria. She is buried at Mt Moriac west of Geelong.

Physical Description

Unbound book of folded paper leaves containing a range of sewing and knitting samples. Many pages and fabric pieces are discoloured and/or torn.


Statement of Historical Significance:
This beautiful object is a fine example of the sample books young girls produced in many countries to learn a variety of needlework techniques. It crosses themes of migration, gender, childhood, domesticity, handcrafts, and education.




Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez have developed a method of transforming cacti into a vegan leather that looks so realistic, you'd never guess it was made from this desert plant. They called their cactus vegan leather Desserto and it is made from cacti grown on their plantation in the Mexican state of the Zacatecas. The cactus is known for its rugged, thick skin, which makes it the perfect texture to simulate animal leather.

Image and text source My Modern Met. Read and see more. Link below. 


Visible Mending

Born from the Japanese art of sashiko, visible mending enables crafters to eschew fast fashion and make mistakes beautiful.

Miho Takeuchi, a traditional sashiko instructor and designer born in Japan and based in the United States, tells me via email that sashiko, which developed in poor communities in Japan’s Edo period, “was born from the necessity of mending and patching garments, beddings and household items. In ancient days, clothing and bedding were made from homespun fabrics woven from native fibrous plants such as wisteria and hemp and necessity demanded that this clothing be recycled for as long as possible.” It was only later, she tells me, that the technique evolved to include the elaborate surface-level designs and intricate patterns popular with visible menders today.

Marquez makes sure to emphasize this history in her teaching as well. “I talk a lot about sashiko as a Japanese technique, and I talk about how it was developed,” she explains. “It’s a resourceful technique; it’s birthed out of necessity and thrift, and we have everything.” Whereas mending was once the province of those who could not afford new clothes, today’s visible mending is the province, primarily, of those who can afford the time and attention it takes to make one’s clothes into a statement.

More To See
on Instagram. 

Fab Brick

While she was a student in architecture,  Clarisse Merlet, founder of FabBRICK, notices how much construction is a polluting and energy-intensive industry, so she decides to find a way to built differently , especially with the use of raw material wastes such as plastic bottles, cardboard or plastic cups.

Then, Clarisse figured out that textile industry was poorly considered regarding recycling this material which has relevant properties in the area of construction knowing that cotton is considered as a powerful thermal and acoustic insulator. Then she had the idea of re-using discarded clothes by making it an innovative raw material. Based on the characteristics of the recovered textiles, she designs an ecological building material both thermal and acoustic insulator. Based on the characteristics of the recovered textiles, she designs an ecological building material both thermal and acoustic insulator.

Go to website to see the many images of Fab Brick in action. Link below. 


Smart Wool

Image Source:

And, now, old socks don’t need to get thrown away anymore.

Nope. They sure don't. We’re partnering with Material Return™ circularity platform to collect and deconstruct hard-to-recycle socks and turn them into new goods like dog beds—helping us reach our big sustainability and circularity goals.

Above info from Smart Wool, a company partnering with Material Return to recycle socks. Go to website for more information. Link below. 


National Association of Colored Women's Club

Silk, wood, paint.  A purple silk banner with gold fringe and the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs' motto, "LIFTING / ...