Special Event
Coton jaune - Acadian Brown Cotton, A Cajun Love Story
with Sharon Gordon Donnan and Elaine Larcade-Bourque

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Typical Acadian Loom (photo by Denise Broussard); Acadian blankets; Madame Josephine Gary (photo by Turner Browne)


Spinning and weaving were an integral part of daily life in rural Louisiana through the end of the 19th century. Homespun cotton thread was regularly woven into bedding and clothing on large two-harness floor looms. By the early 20th century, though, commercially-woven fabric had become a staple and labor-intensive spinning and weaving had become a part of the past. The single exception was the weaving of traditional dowry blankets (l’amour de maman) for Cajun brides. Both long staple white cotton and shorter staple natural brown cotton were used, with indigo-dyed cotton and torn rags of varying colors incorporated into the patterns and designs.
Jesse Gary, the grandson of one of the last surviving Acadian brown cotton spinners and weavers, tells his grandmother's story in the film "Coton jaune," Acadian Brown Cotton, A Cajun Love Story. Produced by Sharon Gordon Donnan and Suzanne Chaillot Breaux, the film explores the history of natural brown cotton in Southwest Louisiana and examines its origins and use among the people of Acadiana. A combined love of textiles and film making, the visual and textural quality of the blankets, plus the rich human story led Sharon and Suzanne to make the film.
Please join us for the Atlanta premier of "Coton juane," and sit back, relax, and enjoy this accurately documented, educational, and engaging film. After the film, Elaine Larcade-Bourque will demonstrate Acadian carding and spinning and both Elaine and Sharon will be available to answer your questions.
Sharon Gordon Donnan is a documentary film maker, textile conservator, and retired elementary educator. She studied Textile and Costume Conservation at Abegg-Stiftung in Berne Switzerland, was a Mellon Fellow in the Department of Conservation at the Los Angeles County Museum, and also studied anthropology at California State University Northridge. Her most recent textile-related publications include: El Piteado - A Mexican Folk Art Tradition, Textile Conservation at the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum, and Textiles in Historic Houses: Studies and Methods of Conservation.
Elaine Larcade-Bourque was born into an Acadian family in the prairie lands of Acadia Parish. As an adult, she became fascinated with the Acadian textiles made by her ancestors. She apprenticed under Gladys LeBlanc Clark, a third generation spinner and weaver in 1989, and recently worked with Sharon Donnan and Suzanne Breaux on "Coton jaune." Understanding how important weavers were in Acadian culture, how important this art from was to the survival of Acadian families, and how few Acadian weavers were recognized for their labors motivates Elaine to continue to find and document Acadian blankets still in possession of the families of the weaver.

NOTE: Pre-registration is highly encouraged. Tickets will cost an additional $5 at the door.

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