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Fabric Gallery » Archived Fabrics » Windham Fabrics » The Quilts of Gee’s Bend - Kits and Solids

 

The Women of Gee's Bend

A small remote community in Alabama (pop. 700), represents the genius of a group of exceptional quilters who, for more than a century, have created distinctive works of art for their homes and families. The textile artists of Gee's Bend are the inheritors of a tradition that goes back many generations. The "discovery" of these unique American masterpieces has led to their exhibition in museums including The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, among others.

Windham Fabrics is proud to partner with the Gee's Bend Quilters Collective and present The Quilts of Gee's Bend. It is our pleasure to encourage every quilter to be inspired by the vision and courage of the modern quilting pioneers, and create their own masterpiece. For more information about the women of Gee's Bend, their stories, and their quilts please visit www.quiltsofgeesbend.com. Windham Fabrics shares a portion of the proceeds from the sale of our Gee's Bend Kits and Gee's Bend Solids with the Gee's Bend Quilters Collective.

We wish to thank Debby Kratovil for her expertise in adapting the original version of these quilt for use in our kits. Our thanks to Connie Gallant for expert long arm quilting on our Gees Bend Kit quilts.

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The Quilts of Gee’s Bend - Kits and Solids
Work Clothes
"Work Clothes"

By Loretta Pettway Bennett (b. 1960)

Loretta Pettway Bennett was born in her grandparents' home in 1960 and is the youngest living quilt artist and member of the acclaimed Quilters of Gee's Bend. She is the 5th generation to be born in Gee's Bend and traces her family back to Dinah Miller, who according to legend was the first slave to arrive in Gee's Bend from Africa before the American Civil War.

An often mentioned design triumph of the Gee's Bend aesthetic has been its quiltmakers magnification of small pattern blocks to monumental scales, so that the single element becomes the entire composition. Loretta's Blocks and Strips pattern is an example of the style of her "one block quilt." Loretta's quilts, while they remain geometric patchworks, seem more narrative than anything in the Gee's Bend tradition because they excerpt a "story" from other quilts. This storyteller's urge can only happen when a younger artist realizes she has inherited a burden to represent and enshrine the past in her work, while also having the confidence to explore her own personality and individuality.²

²Gee's Bend the Architecture of the Quilt

"Work Clothes" * 46" X 60" * Style Number: 32071


"Blocks & Strips"
By Loretta Pettway Bennett (b. 1960)

"Blocks & Strips" * 50" X 60" * Style Number: 32070

Blocks and Strips
Medallion Variation
"Medallion Variation"
By Louisiana Pettway Bendolph (b. 1960)

Louisiana Pettway Bendolph, or Lou grew up in Gee's Bend playing under quilts and recalls the needle's motion in and out of the fabric as her mother Rita Mae Pettway, and her great aunt Nellie Pettway, quilted them. At the age of twelve Louisiana made her first quilt. It was a "plain, simple quilt," but her memory of it remains strong. As was typical in Gee's Bend at the time, Louisiana kept creating quilts throughout her teenage years, until she married at the age of twenty. In the ensuing years Louisiana made quilts sporadically until attending the opening of "The Quilts of Gee's Bend" exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. There she was brought to tears by the beauty of the quilts on display. She was particularly drawn to the work of Annie E. Pettway (her grandmother) and images of quilts and their role in her community would not leave her thoughts.

"Medallion Variation" * 52" X 72" * Style Number: 32072

An error was found in the cutting instructions for:

From Fabric I (Red):

1 strip 5-1/2" x 9-1/2" should be 1 strip 5-1/2" x wof; re-cut into 2 strips 5-1/2" x 9-1/2"; 1 square 5-1/2" x 5-1/2"; 1 strip 5-1/2" x 3-1/2"; trim and cut 1 square 4-1/2" x 4-1/2"

Housetop Nine Block
"Housetop Nine Block"

By Annie E. Pettway (b. 1904)

Annie E. Pettway was born June 18, 1904, one of the ten children born to Austin H. and Leetha Pettway. She married Ed O. Pettway, and together had nine children. Ed O., who had been born a Williams, had his name changed to Pettway when his family moved to the area known as Pettway, on the site of the former Pettway Plantation in Gee's Bend.

Annie E. Pettway spent her life working in the fields and raising her growing family, which would eventually include numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. She pieced and quilted quilts and also taught her daughters and granddaughters how to quilt.

"Housetop Nine Block" * 66" X 74" * Style Number: 32069

 

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