Out & About: Overholt legacy on view at St, Vincent gallery
Various aspects of Western Pennsylvania history are interwoven like tapestries of personal relationships and shared connections. Or maybe they're interwoven like the intricate woolen bed coverings on display in the Foster and Muriel McCarl Coverlet Gallery at St. Vincent College in Unity.
A reception was held June 20 for “The Legacy of Henry Overholt, Coverlet Weaver,” on display through Sept. 12. Subtitled “Accompanied by Weavers From Westmoreland, Somerset, Beford and Washington Counties,” the exhibition focuses on work produced in the weaving shop located at what is now West Overton Village near Scottdale, where different pieces from the collection also are displayed.
Other works come from the Westmoreland Museum of American Art and the private Voggenthaler family collection.
Henry Overholt was a cousin of coke baron Henry Clay Frick, the business partner of Andrew Carnegie. Back in the day, the Overholts distilled the widely known and widely consumed Old Overholt Whiskey.
At the reception, gallery curator Lauren Churilla carefully and respectfully handled the hangings so visitors could get a closer view of reverse sides and the painstaking artistry involved in their creation.
One informational poster noted that in the mid 1800s, when many coverlets were made, a customer often supplied the wool thread to the weaver, who would produce the finished product for between $3 and $10 — which today translates to between $65 and $215, an astonishing bargain in either era.
Present were Mike and Peg Overholt of Ligonier and Charles Clawson of Greensburg. Mike said his great-great-great-grandfather was Abraham Overholt, original owner of the homestead. Charles said his grandmother was named Gertrude Overholt and he thought that Henry was his great-grandfather's uncle.
Also seen: West Overton Village Director Jessica Kadie-Barkley, Karen Kehoe, Raymond Markiewicz, Janelle Giunta, Ernie and Judy Larson, Lyn Orr and Ken Stiles, Martha Schirf, Barbara Jessel and Lisa Reilly.
Welcoming visitors were the gallery's work study students Kathrine Curtin, Aliethia McLeod and Marley Case.