Book Arts Series Presentation | Saturday, June 24th

  • 09 Jun 2023
  • 25 Jun 2023
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CBAA Invites you to the Book Arts Series Presentation Saturday, June 24

TOBACCO HANDS: Habits of Mutuality
Saturday, June 24 at 12PM EST
Presenters: Cynthia Marsh and Marnie Powers-Torrey
Moderator: Anika Schneider

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A large, textual sculpture, Tobacco Hands was produced over a period of three years by visual artists & collaborators Cynthia Marsh and Marnie Powers-Torrey. The work is a 24-page, 8’ tall, three-dimensional narrative that celebrates the stories of four long-term Dark-Fired tobacco families living in Montgomery County, TN.

The printed quilt pages present the oral histories of tobacco-growing families living in the Black Patch region of northern Tennessee and southern Kentucky. Since the early 1800’s several thousand acres of land at the base of the Cumberland Plateau known as the Black Patch have produced the coveted dark-fired, sweet tobacco used primarily for snuff. Tobacco Hands weaves a complex tale that follows three paths of inquiry: 1) narratives from independent, multi-generational tobacco farmers and their families; 2) traditional Southern quilt patterns selected to represent the tobacco families profiled; 3) reasons why dark-fire tobacco production grew to become as the agro-industrial foundation supporting financial growth in Middle Tennessee at the turn of the 20th Century.

The intention of “Tobacco Hands / the Habits of Mutuality” is not meant to glorify tobacco addiction; the health risks and social stigma of smoking and chewing tobacco are real. However, the long history of this native species, N. tobaccum, both as a cash crop and a way of life in the Cumberland region, is also an important component of our history.

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