Long Thread Podcast: Cassie Dickson

Season 3, Episode 8: Cassie Dickson is leading her part of a textile craft revival—and we're invited to join in.

Anne Merrow Oct 30, 2021 - 3 min read

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Growing flax, raising silkworms, embroidering pockets, weaving coverlets . . . These may all sound like the activities of an Early American household, as historical as the horse-drawn carriage. Yet they're the daily work and enjoyment of Cassie Dickson. Although her interests are historical, her ways of working aren't always—she keeps her Bombyx mori silkworm eggs in the refrigerator.

Whether it's growing and processing fiber or embroidering with handspun, hand-dyed linen thread, Cassie has always looked at traditional textiles and said, "I have to learn to do that." She's learned to split cane and weave baskets in the Cherokee style, ret flax in dew, and weave an overshot coverlet in two weeks. Having learned the old skills, she gladly teaches anyone who wants to know, just as fiber "grandmothers" did for her.

The preservation of old textile skills runs deep in the Southeast and Appalachian communities where coverlets and silk-raising and natural dyeing took root. Cassie follows in the footsteps of Craft Revival movement, which led to the founding of folk and craft schools in the Southeast, and the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework, which revived interest in colonial needlework of New England.

Balancing up to 10 projects at a time with lecturing on woven coverlets and teaching traditional skills, Cassie Dickson encourages everyone to fall in love with fiber traditions.

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Southern Highland Craft Guild National Museum of the American Coverlet Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill Cassie Diskson's classes at John C. Campbell Folk School National Museum of American History's National Woven Coverlet Project: Cassie Dickson Interview