2018-06-21 / Local & State

Remembering Artist Josephine Brown

To be featured artist at FCIB Art Show
By Cassidy Pittman STAFF WRITER

Josephine Brown Josephine Brown Born on June 10, 1929, Josephine “Jo” Brown was known as a regal, kind mother and wife to her family, and diligent library technician for the Army War College in Carlisle. However, at this year’s Fulton County in Bloom Art Show, she will be known as all the above, as well as an incredible artist/seamstress.

After interviewing Brown’s sister, Connie, son Forrest, and her friends, some things have been made crystal clear. Brown is remembered fondly as a strong, intelligent, kind-hearted woman who was extremely talented with a needle and thread. In fact, she was rarely without one or the other. Brown loved to sew and was constantly making clothing and blankets for her friends and family. According to a March 18, 2007, news article published in Carlisle’s daily paper, The Sentinel, Brown and her mother also knitted sweaters, caps and gloves for servicemen during World War II. She was a woman that liked to help people and keep her hands busy, and it showed in her needlework.

After retiring from three decades as a library technician and giving all her free time to be a mother, housewife, and seamstress, Brown began to work on a unique collection called the Southern Roots Cross Stitch Collection.

Made up of 27 pieces that depict the early lives of African- American families, the collection combined her two passions: sewing and learning about her heritage. The collection was designed by Jeanne Bowers and Janet Powers of the Green Apple Company and R.W. Brownlee’s Homestead Designs and was inspired by the book and television show, “Roots.” The pieces were not just about art but also about connecting with history.

Each piece meant something personal to Brown, and she wanted every one of them to be perfect. To do so, she spent a painstaking amount of time on every individual piece, wanting them to be perfect both on the display side and the back side. Because of this attention to detail, it took roughly two decades for her to complete the collection.

Her sister, Connie, described Brown’s work as beautiful and powerful. “She knew people would feel something when they saw them. She was right.” Over the years, many of the pieces of the collection were given to Connie as presents, and she has treasured them. “I see my sister in them. There she is. She loved it so much, and I see her in her art.”

Brown’s art is not just celebrated by her family, however. Her pieces have been featured in several shows and museums in both Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., such as the Count of X-Stitch, Thornwald Home, Black Arts festivals at Dickenson College and Shippensburg University, the John Harris Mansion in Harrisburg, and the U.S. Army Military History of the Carlisle Barracks, as well as several other churches and civic organizations.

Although Brown passed away on Feb. 2, 2007, her art and her passion for her roots have kept her memory very much alive. To see her vividly detailed cross-stitch panels, come to the Fulton County in Bloom Art Show, located at the Fulton County Library on 227 North First St. July 1-14.

Along with the art show, Fulton County in Bloom Festival will also feature a Flower Power Art Contest, Best Bloomin’ Township, Prettiest Porch, Best Business Display, Best Children’s Garden, and Best Church Garden, as well as activities for children.

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