Friday, April 15, 2011

May Your Reds Never Run

Today is Saint Hunna's feast day.

She is known as the Holy Washerwoman and is the patron saint of laundresses and washerwomen. Other names for her are Oona, Una, Uma and Oonaugh.

She might protect you from bleeding and fading dyes.

Woman washing clothes
 in camp during the Civil War

Woman Ironing by Degas

As a child raised by nuns I believed there was a saint for every cause. I've often needed the intercession of Saint Hunna. I've made several shrines to her with collage and Photoshop.

 I am not the only one who needs some help with the reds. Here's a quilt from about 1910 when reds were absolutely unreliable.

So to celebrate St. Hunna's day: Prewash some reds and be grateful for recent inventions like the washing machine.

Federal photographers recorded this
Texas woman doing laundry in the 1940s.

Here's a book comparing painters' views of laundresses to that of this artist Jean Baptiste Greuze

Buy this book by Colin B. Bailey by clicking here:

See some disasters by clicking here:

And check out Jane Davila's post on Willie Cole's art inspired by the iron.
Here's more on his work that he calls Scorches
See my Print on Demand book with more Saint collages from Blurb.com by clicking here:


  1. "Will wonders never cease?" (that's what my mom used to say) - a patron saint of laundresses and washerwomen ! Where was this information when my three sons were little. I could've used her when those stains wouldn't come out of the knees of their Toughskins !

  2. I found the reference to women washing clothes during the civil war at a camp to be an ah ha moment. Rarely are women entered into the history during these times at encampments and it just added another important dimension to our history. I have 12 volumes of Matthew Brady books and don't think that the women are pictured or referenced even once.
    thanks so much for sharing all of this information.
    I am enjoying the diaries so much.

  3. Oh, I wish I knew of Ste. Hunna-Oona-Uma last week! I washed a quilt made from 11 year old parts and the magenta plaid bled! ARRGH! Ste. Hunna-Oona-Uma I'm sorry I didn't ask for your help!

  4. Does anyone know if it is possible to get a print of the "picture" or representation of St Hunna...to hang in my laundry room for inspiration?