URI professor emerita wins national theater award

University of Rhode Island Professor Emerita Joy Spanabel Emery recently won the 2016 Distinguished Achievement Award in Costume Design and Technology.
The award was conferred by national theater organization the United States Institute for Theatre Technology.
“I was stunned,’’ Emery said in a news release. “The award has been given to so many people I respect enormously. I was very pleased to have my work recognized. It’s a remarkable acknowledgment of my work. I’m thrilled.’’
Emery, who in 2000 retired as a teacher, previously served as an adjunct professor of textiles, fashion merchandising and design. She boasts what is currently the world's largest collection of sewing patterns. Beginning her collection decades ago with a pattern for a skirt used in a production of "Anne of Green Gables," Emery now has approximately 50,000 paper patterns and a further 61,000 electronic ones.
She is also the curator for URI's Commercial Pattern Archive. Housed at the Robert L. Carothers Library and Learning Commons, the database contains patterns for nearly 100 different companies and dates all the way back to 1847, including sewing manuals from the 16th century.
“Patterns give insight into everyday wear,’’ Emery said. “They’re a wonderful resource for costume designers.’’

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