Ellen Miller: Embroidery
© Memorial Hall Museum, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association
Postcard of the Nims House, by Sackett and Wilhelms Lithography Co., c. 1910.
At the sign of the flax wheel, in an old Deerfield home built in 1722, the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework exhibited and sold their embroideries between 1897 and 1924. In the parlor visitors could view a variety of one-of-a-kind embroideries, and gather ideas about how such pieces might be appropriately incorporated into one's carefully decorated home. A second display area was set up as a bed chamber. Embroidered and appliqued wall hangings, folding screens, table squares and runners, door curtains, and bed treatments designed by Ellen Miller or Margaret Whiting and executed by trained needleworkers were available for purchase or order. Whimsical cross-stitched designs, available for lower prices, broadened the market for Blue and White work. The authenticity of each piece was confirmed by a stitched 'D' within a flax wheel integrated into its design. The Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework shared with the Arts and Crafts movement a love of carefully executed work using natural materials and subject matter frequently inspired by nature, and a desire to heighten the beauty of the useful objects of everyday life.