LEWISTON – A bit of Lewiston’s textile mill history was rescued a few years back when original artwork done by designers at Bates Manufacturing Co. was salvaged- some of it literally retrieved out of dump trucks.

Today, those items are part of the WORK ART line just released through Museum LA that will be featured on notecards and postcards available for purchase, thus benefiting the museum.

In addition, 12 designs are showcased in the WORK ART Museum L-A 2009 calendar, which may be ordered by contacting Karla Leandri-Rider at 333-3881 or [email protected]

Pulled out of dump trucks by Museum L-A Executive Director Rachel Desgrosseilliers back in 2004-05 were doodlings, pencil sketches, transparencies, abstract and graphic point papers, hand-painted artwork and prints – from brightly colored florals to intricate paisleys to antique cars to German motifs.

“They were cleaning out the mills. I happened to see that the trucks were filled with what looked like documents. I climbed into the back of the trucks and went through the bins and carts filled with stuff,” recalled Desgrosseilliers.

“In order to showcase the magnificent work of our workers here as well as the artists from the Worth Street New York office, Museum L-A has had all artwork photographed for archiving,” said Desgrosseilliers, noting that involves about 600 pieces of art.

According to Desgrosseilliers, workers in the design department created beautiful, painstakingly detailed hand-drawn and hand-painted designs for textile goods that often were never produced. In other cases, pencil sketches were hand-colored and then stenciled on graph paper that went to the Royal Piano Machine, where punch cards were then cut, laced and prepared into full patterns to be woven as famous Bates bedspreads.

Ray D’Amour, who worked in Bates’ design department, has helped identify some of the drawings and designs. In fact, he donated six pencil sketches of antique cars he had designed; and through some research, Desgrosseilliers was able to find the point paper and bedspread woven from his design.


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