Waterville Creates’! next exhibition at its Ticonic Gallery, “Shirt Stories: Frescoes” by Barbara Sullivan, is scheduled to open Monday, Nov. 15. Contributed photos

Waterville Creates’ next exhibition at its Ticonic Gallery, “Shirt Stories: Frescoes” by Barbara Sullivan, is scheduled to open Monday, Nov. 15, at 10 Water St. #106.

A special members’ only reception will be held with the artist from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18. To learn more about becoming a member, visit watervillecreates.org/membership.

“Shirt Stories” runs until Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. Admission is free. Ticonic Gallery is open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Ticonic Gallery + Studios are located on the first floor of the Hathaway Creative Center, which is accessible by ramp at the West entrance.

A dual citizen of the United States and the Republic of Ireland, Sullivan was inspired by her paternal grandparents’ migration to the U.S. in the late 19th century to find work as they sought new opportunities for themselves and their family.

Sullivan initiated the “Shirt Stories” series in 2018 at the Tyrone Guthrie Center, an artist residency program in County Monaghan, Ireland, and later revisited this series this summer at The Ellis Beauregard Residency in Rockland.


Shirts are inherently and metaphorically intimate because they are worn next to one’s skin, notes a news release from Waterville Creates!. When folded, they evoke anticipation of what is in store, and through this exhibition, they are intended to elicit “an unfolding” of individual stories.

“Shirt Stories” asks the viewer to consider the broader historical social, and economic impact the Hathaway Shirt Factory has had in the Waterville community as well as its unique place in the history of New England textiles and the early labor movement, which provided countless jobs for new arrivals to the U.S. as well as many local Maine families.

“I constantly think about the complexity of shirt construction, how a yoke accepts a collar, how a sleeve is inset, hidden seams, buttonholes, how fabrics stretch depending on what direction the garment is sewn,” said Sullivan, according to the news release. “As I invent the patterns for each shirt, I consider the history of fabrics, cottons, silks, wools, where the fibers come from, how they are produced and gathered. Are the patterns woven or printed? These considerations help me as I plaster and paint each shirt to place my work in the history of textiles and labor.”

Exhibition sponsors are MaineGeneral Health and Caldbeck Gallery, Rockland.

For more information about Waterville Creates!, visit watervillecreates.org.

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