The year 2020 marks 400 years since the English settler known as the Pilgrims stepped ashore at present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, to build a society on the lip of a continent – and facing challenges – beyond their imagination.
One stitch at a time, a mammoth piece of needle work art is being created now to honor the Pilgrims’ arrival and the home they painstakingly build.
The Plymouth Tapestry — a multi-year arts project — will tell the story of early Plymouth in a heroically-scaled needlework piece, which is being stitched by hand by a team of local volunteers. The thread-on-linen embroidery project will be comprised of 20 six-foot-long panels that tell stories of the Wampanoag people who inhabited the region for thousands of years and the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620.
Needlework expert Elizabeth Creeden of Wellingsley Studio, Plymouth, is the lead artist for the project. Creeden develops each panel design and draws the scene by hand. She works on the design with museum staff and specialists, including Plymouth historian Jim Baker and Aquinnah Wampanoag educator Linda Coombs.
Parts of the Plymouth Tapestry will be displayed at Pilgrim Hall Museum on specified dates in 2020 as part of Plymouth’s 400th anniversary year celebrations. The Plymouth Tapestry — at a final total length of 120 feet — is expected to be completed in late 2021.
For more information on Tapestry news, upcoming workshops, and donation and volunteer opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Needlework Artist Elizabeth Creeden
Elizabeth Creeden is creative driver, designer and master stitcher of the Plymouth Tapestry. With training in textiles from Massachusetts College of Art, she owned a needlework shop for over 20 years.
She has produced embroidery for clients including 18th-century-style bed hangings, crewel curtain panels, a White House ornament, and a seven-foot-by-seven-foot wall hanging in the style of May Morris. Her needlework are art is inspired in part by her early 17th-century home in Plymouth.
Plymouth Tapestry Kits
People who sew, including youngsters, can join the experience by buying a Plymouth Tapestry Kit. The Wampanoag Wayfinder and Pilgrim Compass Rose kits are based on decorative elements in the Plymouth Tapestry. Kits are $35 and include linen, threads, needles, and stitching instructions; additional materials for finishing options may be required. To order a kit, contact email@example.com.
Photos courtesy of Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth MA, and Hawk Visuals Photography.