MARGARET MOTTER TALK: Colonial Coverlet Guild

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel
MARGARET MOTTER TALK: Colonial Coverlet Guild, Chicago, Ill, Nov. 10, 1948 [6 pages]

MARGARET MOTTER TALK: Colonial Coverlet Guild, 1948

TAGS: Margaret Motter Talk,Colonial Coverlet Guild,weaving at PMSS,William Creech’s vision,work program,coverlets,Weaving Dance,Christmas at PMSS


Chicago, Ill, Nov. 10, 1948

[page 1] Message to Colonial Coverlet Guild – Nov. 10th Many of you are famil. I am sure with [int. & dram.?] beginnings of P.M.S.S., but any sort of message about our Sch. is incomplete without mentioning name of Wm. C[reech] affec. known to us as Un[cle] Wm. Here was a man with 3rd gr. ed. — but with great vision who dreamed for 30 years of a sch. wh. would “holp” his peo. When he gave his land (all he had) he wrote some mem. words in his unlet. hand wh. we treasure. I want to give you the closing [paragraph] to remind you of the ever-recur. chal. from Un. Wm. to carry on — “I don’t look…”

So thru yrs P.Mt. has been serving an isol. rural com. as a [??], non-sec. voc. hi sch. & as a center of culture, soc. & econ. welfare. Un. Wm. believed it was “better for folkses char. to larn and to work with their hands.” In fol. this advice of Un. Wm. P. Mt. has had from the begin. what we call a work program. Pupils pay 10.00 ent. – 15.00 month if afford it & work 2 1/2 hrs per day (longer on Sat.) This work program serves dual purpose. Chil. are made to feel value of ed. that they [learn?] through work, keep self respect, value & dignity of work itself. Besides, thru work program the sch. is kept…

[page 2]…going. The chil. learn over period of yrs. & do all kinds of work connected with homemaking, farming and some trades or vocations. All work done under supervision & changed every 9 wks. Chil. have on whole fine attitude. “One thing I don’t like….” Now a very pop. part of our work program as well as an elective study during sch. hrs. is our weaving. I want to give you a few details about this dep’t since you have been good enough to share in making this dept. function. Our weaving room has recently been enlarged & we have space, more looms & better looms. We have by no means enough to meet the demand. We have 9 looms and one small one owned by teach. 6 of these were made at Berea or at Pine Mt. after the Berea style. 5 of the looms are 40″ and 4 are 22-24″. Since 6 of these looms were at Pine Mt. before 1924 I guess it is not an understatement…

[page 3]…to say they have not the latest improvements! Our teacher informed me that a Swedish weaver told her we are doing very well indeed with the equipment we have. So you can see as time goes on we shall need to replace these older loom with better ones and to purchase a pair of badly-needed scales for the weaving room. I have brought you some samples of weav. done by our girls. We use rags from feed sacks wh. are dyed at the sch. & woven into rugs. Old rayon stock & any kind of woven underwear can be transformed in the weav. room into lovely bags. We have a neighbor who does some spinning for us & other yarns we buy. I mentioned that our weav. is very pop. Some girls who learn to weave have been able to get a loom at home & have con. in their work. Two of senior girls have been espec. int. in weaving & confided in teach. that they hope they’ll get a loom as a grad. gift from their home folks. The girls love to…

[page 4]…weave a skirt to wear on May Day and have a chance to participate in the colorful Weavers Dance. Weav. does go on in some of the homes (as I mentioned): i.e., sample cur. mat. woven by one of our neighbors — Swedish pattern sells for $1.95 a yard. I am reminded at this point of the way I happened to get one of my coverlets when I was at Pine Mt. the fall of 1928. In the office welcoming chil. as they arrived — In came last yr’s student with younger sister by hand & coverlet over other arm. “I brung….” That coverlet was def. a home product, brown from wal. hulls & duty rose from madder. Just as lovely today as when I bought it & I love to think that little Della — now a successful nurse — had her start at Pine Mt. because her sis. had learned to weave at our Sch. & had a loom at home.

[page 5] I am sure you are fam. with Dr. Allen Eaton‘s bk — Hand. in South. Mtns. One of the col. illus. show a striped blanket that we call Pine Mt. Blanket #16. I have one of these made by a mt. wom. who was taught to weave by our teacher. Wool from her own sheep & veg. dye used. This is the type of blanket we always use for our prophets in the Nativity Play. You can see that the weaving even goes into something special like that.

I say something special for Christmas at Pine Mt. is an occasion that one never forgets. With our sacrificial meals for our Char. Fund so we’ll have something to share with others; with our appealing [dram.?] of lovely carols in dining room while decorated with garlands, wreaths, & tree; with our gay Mummers Play; with our charming Nativity Play in…

[page 6]…the chapel it is all an occasion for happy activity, genuine pleasure. It has its effect upon chil. “Love & joy – ” “Hit’s peacefulest – ” Your share in our work is indeed heartwarming to the staff and the trustees. May we ask for your continued int. so that we may not fail to make Un. Wm’s dream come true — “I don’t want hit to be for this local. only…”