Left: “African Burial Ground”, 2009; right: “Meanderings of an Imaginary River”, 2020 by Valerie S. Goodwin 

This Thursday: Exhibition + Opening featuring fiber artist Valerie S. Goodwin | Florence, Alabama  

Valerie Goodwin is a mixed media fiber artist, architect, and educator whose fine art works are included in museums and private collections. She has received degrees in architecture from Washington University and Yale University. Her award-winning work has been widely published and exhibited. She also lectures and gives workshops nationally and internationally. For over 26 years, she taught architectural design at Florida A&M University. 

Professor Goodwin’s textile art is inspired by aerial views of real and imaginary landscapes and cities. Her complex compositions use both traditional quilting techniques and innovative digital technology to illustrate landscapes and narrate human testimony, narratives that express the profound relationship between people and places. 

This Thursday, she will be speaking about her work at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts in downtown Florence. She will talk about her innovative process of creating stitched textile artwork. Valerie is an artist and architect with roots in Tuscumbia and Sheffield who applies new laser cutting technology to the traditional practice of quilt making to create layered works inspired by real and imaginary landscapes. With funding from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Florence Arts and Museums commissioned her to create a large-scale work of textile art for their new exhibit space that speaks to the history of slavery in the Shoals and creates a brave space for future conversations. After the presentation guests will walk down to Pope’s Tavern to see the commissioned artwork. 

The Project Threadways exhibit will be on display at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the opening of “Mapping the Story of Cotton in the Deep South” and remain on view through October 24th. 

“Textiles Across Time and Place: Examining a complicated past to create a more sustainable future” places the story of textiles in our northwest Alabama community into a broader context by providing a timeline of textile history in the United States. The timeline highlights indigenous people who inhabited this area and the fibers they grew through the cotton economy of the antebellum south leading up to the Reconstruction era, sharecropping, and tenant farming. It also maps out the geography from the northeast corridor down through our region of the south, highlighting the once-thriving textile cities and towns.  

The exhibition highlights the landscape and community of Muscle Shoals and its history of manufacturing and music, the tenacity of the art, and the creative residents that made this revolution possible, featuring oral histories from local textile workers. 

From top left: “Native American sewing needles and awls from the Florence Arts and Museums“, 2020 by Abraham Rowe Photography; “Spool of organic cotton at Hill Spinning from the Alabama Cotton Project“, 2013 by Rinne Allen; “Cotton field in north Alabama”, 2012 by Rinne Allen; “Workers in front of Cypress Mills in 1885” from Sweetwater Yesteryears by William Lindsey McDonald and L.D. Staggs, Jr.; “Fabric cutter in Alabama Chanin’s Building 14 Manufacturing facility“, 2016 by Abraham Rowe Photography; “Sewing line at Tee Jays Manufacturing facility”, 1980s courtesy of Terry Wylie.

Event Details 

Thursday, October 7, 2021 
5:30 p.m. 
Opening and talk at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts 
217 E. Tuscaloosa St. 
Florence, Alabama 35630  

Thursday, October 7, 2021 
6:30 p.m. 
“Slavery and Cotton in the Shoals” at Pope’s Tavern 
203 Hermitage Dr. 
Florence, Alabama 35630 

See Valerie Goodwin’s iconic piece of history expressed through art, unveiled at its new home. Meet with friends, enjoy light refreshments and tour the new exhibit. 

Stay up-to-date on news from Project Threadways by following @projectthreadways on Instagram.  

Find more information on Valerie Goodwin’s art here

The Project Threadways exhibition is supported through funding provided by the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area. 


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