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Thread: Gee's Bend Quilts

  1. #1
    Power Poster
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    There are several sites that show images of quilts made by some of the women of Gee's Bend.

    Many of them are bold and beautiful. Very dynamic.

    Many of them are extremely wonky.

    Some of them are being shown in museums and selling for high prices.

    http://www.quiltsofgeesbend.com/
    http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/311.html
    http://www.auburn.edu/academic/other...show/index.htm

    These can help provide a different perspective/viewpoint/thinking about "the proper way" to make a quilt. These makers did not appear to give half a hoot about perfect points or HSTs or straight lines or following a pattern.

  2. #2
    Super Member Rebecca VLQ's Avatar
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    I love that one housetop variation by Ms. Pettiway, orange and red. The wonk of the blocks/strips make it that much more endearing!

  3. #3
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I saw the exhibit in Boston a few years ago. It was really moving to read the stories that go with each quilt. I think it will be a shame to spilt them up. I tied to get a group of the ladies I quilt with to go with me, ended up going with DH and foster daughter and was near the end of the exhibit, otherwise I would have gone back for a second visit.

  4. #4
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    I saw the exhibit in Pittsburgh and was blown away--they take every quilting "rule" and ignore it; "quilt police"?--forget them!! They used everything from wool to thin cotton to a tape measure in their quilts.

    I bought the book and the ladies tell their stories individually. It was great but difficult reading. They speak in dialect (gulla?) and sometimes it's hard to decipher. I loved it.

    Have you seen the GeesBend Quilt Kits? What a joke!! They make perfect seams, matched colors, points, etc. That's not a GeesBend quilt.

    If anyone has the opportunity, go see these quilts. Even if you think they're ugly or a joke (some comments I heard at the exhibition) you'll come away with great admiration for these ladies.

  5. #5
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I saw the exhibit in Boston. I loved the stories of the quilts. The original quilts are what they are, made from whatever was available to use. I was impressed with the women's creativity.

  6. #6
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    I've been looking for more follow up on this thread.

    Why is it in Links & Resources?

    I think these quilts are worthy of discussion, pro and con, and would have liked to hear what others think about them.

  7. #7
    Super Member twinkie's Avatar
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    My friend and I went to Gee's Bend, Alabama to see what all of the talk about their quilts was. We came away with very mixed emotions. Some of the women were very nice and we visited with Mary Lee Bendolph (Quiltmakers of the Quilts Gees Bend) in her home for about an hour (her health is failing) Perhaps we went with a higher expectation than we should have. Most of the quilts were very primitive and not what our Grandmothers and Great-Grandmothers made. As stated, there was never any "quilt police" in the area and straight lines were not important. We came away with the idea that commercialization of the quilts had taken over and they were very overpriced. (A baby quilt of polyester squares that were not square, $150). I am glad that we went, however, we would not go back. We felt the visit was enlightening. The book had some great stories. I have several pictures if anyone wants to see them. Thanks for listening to the story of our visit.

  8. #8
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    Thanks, Twinkie. I guess I was looking for someone else who shared my feelings. I have great admiration for the quilters but I wonder about over-commercialization, too. I really enjoyed the show and glad you did too.
    Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    thanks for sharing the links

  10. #10
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    Remember, these quilts were made in the poorest part of our country many many years ago. They were made with whatever was on hand, and made to keep warm. Today they are Folk Art.
    No, they are not perfect and certainly what we consider art quilts today, but they are Folk Art of their time.
    The ladies themselves did not go out and promote their quilts for high prices, someone else commercialized and promoted them.

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