Heartstrings on Display at Lynn Museum

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“Heartstrings: Embracing Armenian Needlelace, Embroidery, and Rugs” is at the Lynn Museum through June 17th, 590 Washington Street. For museum hours and additional information, visit the website for Lynn Museum/LynnArts.

Mary Mooradian, a “driving force behind the exhibit,” collected lace and wrote descriptions, and Raffi Manjikian loaned rugs from his personal collection.

Heartstrings opened with a reception Saturday that drew people from from around the state. As the event was coming to an end and the doors were about to be locked, two more people arrived. Lynn Museum/LynnArts Executive Director Drew Russo stepped outside to greet them, asking “Where are you from?” They said, “Worcester.” He let them in. 

From the Lynn Museum –

Heartstrings features intricate needlework inspired by the stories of Armenian-Americans who have persevered through challenging times, forging exquisite creations born in both triumph and tragedy.

For many hundreds of years, Armenian women taught the art of needle lace and embroidery to their daughters. Towels, tablecloths, curtains and bedding were bordered with needle lace. Garments were embellished with embroidery.

In 1915, the death of 1.5 million people during the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks would drastIcally affect the Armenian community. In addition to the loss of life, a cultural genocide resulted from the loss of following important traditions practiced by the Armenian people for centuries. Properties, churches and schools were confiscated; many beautiful works of art were destroyed; embroidered religious garments, altar clothes, embellished altar curtains, Armenian rug, silk, cotton and wool factories were forever lost.

Thankfully, the foreign missionaries and organizations that opened orphanages would teach the Armenian children needle lace, embroidery and weaving to preserve their cultural traditions. The orphanages would then sell the orphans’ handiwork in Europe and the US to provide funds for the orphanages daily operations.

Today, fortunately, members of the Armenian American community saved some of the needle work and embroidery of their grandmothers and great grandmothers. These creations were either brought with them when they immigrated to America in the early 1900s or were created once they resettled in the U.S. This exhibit shows examples of the beautiful lace, embroidery and carpets that were saved and that we can still admire today! 

Former Lynn Museum Director Kate Luchini curated this exhibit. Pictured again is rug collector Raffi Mooradian.

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