The quilters from Gee's Bend, Alabama were strong, creative and inspiring women, and their quilts exploded with color in the late summer sun.
The Gee's Bend quilters didn't learn their craft from quilting books or classes. Their knowledge about quilting was passed down from generation to generation, originally inspired by the need of women held as slaves to keep their children warm and, in some cases, to tell their stories when not allowed to read or write.
"The Quilts of Gee's Bend are created by a group of women who live in the isolated African-American hamlet of Gee's Bend, Alabama. "The compositions of these quilts contrast dramatically with the ordered regularity associated with many styles of Euro-American quiltmaking. There's a brilliant, improvisational range of approaches to composition that is more often associated with the inventiveness and power of the leading 20th-century abstract painters than it is with textile-making," writes Alvia Wardlaw, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts."
"The quilting tradition in Gee's Bend goes back to the 19th century, when the community was the site of a cotton plantation owned by a Joseph Gee. Perhaps influenced in part by patterned African textiles, female slaves pieced together strips of cloth to make bedcovers. Throughout the post-bellum years and into the 20th century, Gee's Bend women made quilts to keep themselves and their children warm in unheated shacks that lacked running water, telephones and electricity. Along the way they developed a distinctive style, noted for its lively improvisations and geometric simplicity."
"Their quilts have been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others."
For Fiber College, photographs of the quilts and the women who made them were taken by our friend, Alice Seeger (left in photo above), and bound into a book entitled Gee's Bend Quilts In Maine.
Copies of the book are $22.00; contact Alice or Astrig at this email address to check on availability if you would like one.
So . . . start singing out loud, forget the rules and . . .
This post is stitched to the following blog parties:
I Quilt at Pretty Bobbins
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Sew Darn Crafty Linky Party at Sew Many Ways
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
What's It Wednesday at Ivy & Elephants
Time Travel Thursday at Brambleberry Cottage
Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps On the Porch
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home