Luanna (Franklin) Thorn

Spanning the first fifty years of the 20th century, the Arts and Crafts career of weaver Luanna Thorn was among the longest lasting of any Deerfield artisan. Her work resonated with the American Arts and Crafts movement, in general, and the Deerfield Arts and Crafts movement, in particular. For the annual shows of the Society of Deerfield Industries, for instance, Luanna contributed woven window curtains and table squares with titles such as "Pine Tree," "Apple Tree" and "Sea Weed." These themes accord well with the kinds of naturalistic motifs and references prevalent in the American Arts and Crafts aesthetic. The Deerfield Arts and Crafts movement was famous for its inspirational ties to the craft traditions of the 18th century. Luanna capitalized upon this reputation by weaving 'kivers,' or coverlets in colonial patterns with such names as "the federal knot, the double bow knot, [and] the line of snowballs."1

Luanna's 18th-century Deerfield home contained several looms upon which she wove hand-dyed woolen and linen threads into domestic items including bedspreads, table runners, wall hangings, and curtains. The Deerfield Handicraft Shop was located in the back of her home. Here, tourists could purchase baskets, woven by the Thorn and Franklin families, antiques, and Luanna's textiles.

Luanna was an active member of the Society of Deerfield Industries. In addition to weaving for the Deerfield Rug Makers, and exhibiting with the Society, she served, at times, as the Society's first and second vice-president. After his husband's death in 1920, Luanna was able to support herself and her six children by weaving.

  1. Springfield Daily Republican, July 12, 1912.

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© Courtesy of Historic Deerfield, Inc.

Portrait of Luanna Thorn, (detail) by an unknown photographer, date unknown.

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