The Family Veil

Clermont Forum II: Interpreting Clermont’s History Through Art, was an exhibition curated by The Rotating History Project at Clermont Farm- a beautiful state-owned architectural study site in Berryville, Virginia. As a selected artist, Melissa was entrusted with many pieces of clothing, fabric, trimmings, and accessories left behind by previous owners of Clermont, dating from 1870-1960. Her restulting work, The Family Veil, utilized these historic pieces in the creation of a site-specific installation in an upstairs bedroom of the original, 1755 house. 

During the course of building the piece, Melissa published an 85 page, full-color, 12 x 12" book called Seam by Seam: A Study of the Historical Garments of Clermont Farm, which can be found, purchased at cost, and viewed in its entirety here:

"Seam by Seam: A Study of the Historical Garments of Clermont Farm" by Melissa Webb

More information about the exhibition:

The Rotating History Project, in cooperation with The Clermont Foundation and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources presented an exhibition entitled The Clermont Forum II: Interpreting Clermont’s History Through Art. The six week show opened Sunday, April 12, 2014, in the historic buildings on the grounds of Clermont, an 18th century 360-acre farmstead in Clarke County, Virginia, in the northern Shenandoah Valley. The exhibition was seen as a means to imaginatively engage the public with the history of the site.

Clermont Farm is a well-preserved complex of buildings ranging in date from 1755 to the mid-twentieth century. Formerly in the hands of only four families since its original survey by an 18-year old George Washington in 1750, and previously used by Native Americans for game production and hunting lands, the farm is now owned by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and managed by The Clermont Foundation. Clermont remains a working farm, involved with local food production and agricultural education, as well as a state historic site currently under intensive study.

The history of Clermont is a continuous history of various peoples using and living on the land, sometimes peacefully and sometimes in violent conflict, a micro-history of America. The exhibition seeks to explore a period of time beginning with the settlement of the Atlantic coast by Europeans, the last period when native Americans were still the primary inhabitants, and still shaping the landscape, a place taken by Europeans, who in turn brought enslaved Africans to the same landscape. The goal of “The Clermont Forum II: Interpreting Clermont’s History Through Art” is to invite artists to explore and create site-specific works that draw on any number of the topics specific to Clermont’s history, such as the roles of women and African Americans, agriculture and rural life, and the architectural and material culture of the homestead and its surrounding communities.

Photographed by Theresa Keil.