Acadian Brown Cotton: The Fabric of Acadiana
Exhibition Dates: September 11, 2020 – February 27, 2021
The Hilliard University Art Museum is pleased to announce the forthcoming exhibition Acadian Brown
Cotton: The Fabric of Acadiana. This exhibition will explore and analyze the history of handwoven
brown cotton textiles. Using genealogy, historic maps, photographs, audio and video components,
furniture, tools, and brown cotton textiles, Acadian Brown Cotton will demonstrate the historical
significance and cultural impact of the Acadian brown cotton tradition. It will also seek to educate
regional audiences about an aspect of their culture they may be unaware of, casting new light on the
“itchy, brown blankets” in people’s attics by demonstrating their artistry and value, as well as the
tradition’s continued vitality and relevancy.
Drawing from the expertise of several highly respected cultural authorities, this exhibition will delve into
the high value Acadian culture places on self-sufficiency and how this impacted the development of the
Acadian brown cotton tradition. The exhibition will highlight the process by which Acadian brown cotton
textiles were created and the domestic context in which they were used by including a full suite of
weaving tools alongside an installation of mid-19th century Acadian furniture, all handmade by the
Acadians using native materials.
A variety of programming, events, and tours for interdisciplinary and hands-on learning - to be
announced later - will also be held in conjunction with this exhibition.
In addition there will be satellite exhibits in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and throughout Acadiana highlighting the use of brown cotton in the Americas.
Erath Acadian Museum participates in Upcoming Exhibit
On October 25, 2019, in working to curate a textile exhibition entitled “Acadiana Brown Cotton, the Fabric of Acadiana,” to be held at the Hilliard Museum in Lafayette in 2020, a meeting was held at the Acadian Museum. The organizers surveyed the textile in the museum's collection in order to determine which artifacts might be loaned for display in the exhibition. The exhibit will be part of the Grand Reveille Acadien scheduled for early October, 2020 and will demonstrate the historical significance and cultural impact of the Acadian brown cotton tradition.
Shown above with a blanket made by the famed Acadian weaver Madame Dronet are, left to right, exhibition curator Sharon Donnan, creator of the documentary film “‘Cotonjaune’, Acadian Brown Cotton, A Cajun Love Story;” Erath résident David Dronet, Madame Dronet’s great-grandson; and curator Elaine Bourque present-day traditional Acadian Weaver. Photo by Warren A. Perrin
Acadian Brown Cotton homespun textiles donated to Lafayette Science Museum
The Acadian Brown Cotton Project strives to document, preserve and promote Louisiana’s unique heirloom cotton. Through the generous contribution of the Jacky Vidrine Estate in Ville Platte, Evangeline Parish, nine Acadian Brown Cotton homespun textiles were donated to the Lafayette Science Museum. Through the expert coordination of Judy McBane, Village Appraisals, Suzanne Breaux and Elaine Bourque, Field to Fashion in Acadiana team members, six blankets, one sheet, a baby blanket and a clerical stole are now resting comfortably in the Museum’s temperature and humidity controlled environment. All are wonderful additions to the
Museum’s well-documented collection of early Acadiana textiles and weaving tools. Long time supporters of our project, the LSM hosted the Acadian Brown Cotton Round Table and screened a preview of our documentary, “Coton jaune - Acadian Brown Cotton - A Cajun Love Story”. Museum Director, Kevin Krantz and Collections Curator Deborah Clifton welcomed the donation last week. Elaine fully documented the textiles with photographs, detailed descriptions and measurements. Family genealogy is an important part of Elaine’s on going research and the Vidrine family history revealed interesting early connections.
Jacqueline Olivier Vidrine - 1929-2018
Jacqueline Olivier Vidrine, nee Jacqueline Elma Olivier dit “Jacky” to her friends, was the widow of Drouet W. Vidrine (Sr.), and a noted historian and genealogist. She was elected president of the Louisiana State Historical Association, and a founding member of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL). She was also appointed by the Governor as a member of the State of Louisiana’s Commission on Historical Records and Cultural Resources.
Ms. Vidrine was truly a treasure and we are pleased to have taken part in the
preservation of her historic legacy.