My Gees Bend Primitive Quilt

dscn2322Hey, let me know what you think!  At the last meeting of the Arkansas Quilters Guild in Little Rock the program was a video of the quilts and their makers from Gees Bend, Alabama. It is a group of rural, Afro-American, poor country women that quilt together. They have been making primitive quilts by hand for years. They were discovered several years ago and the quilts were hung in a Houston art museum. The museum made a documentary and that is what we saw. They are now are world famous for their uniquely artistic and unusual primitive hand-made quilts. I have studied them for years. Riley Midall gave me three large garbage bags of quilt scraps. She hasn’t been quilting all that long , so her scraps were from this decade. I pulled out all the whites, chevron, dotted, striped and a few bright colors, and started making a top on Friday afternoon. I finished the top a 10:30. I tried to do something different and unusual, not using patterns. I wanted it to look like a Gees Bend quilt. On Saturday morning I got up and sorted all of Riley’s fabric. I made piles of the types of stuff I would use. Then I started making 4  six inch borders on the quilt. It needed more. I finished it up last night at 9:30. I have 20 1/2 hours of labor in this and no money. I realized that the Gees Bend quilt were out of what they had, and the better parts of old clothes and flour sacks. Mine will never  look like one of theirs, because I have modern fabrics. But the idea is the same. Hey, let me know what you think!!

About Jim Gatling

Artist: primitive watercolors, colored pencil. Quilter: Original designs, Scrap quilts. Craftsman: Woodburning, Recycling Teacher: Retired MHS, SHCS K-12 Part Time. Collector: Antiques, Quilts, Glass, Buttons, Petit Point, Needlepoint, Hankies, Figural Perfume Bottles. Son, Father, Grandfather, Neighbor, Friend.
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6 Responses to My Gees Bend Primitive Quilt

  1. Boneta Hollis says:

    I love it!!! You are such a creative person!! Also loved your house scrap quilt!!

    Sent from my iPhone. Boneta


  2. Deb says:

    So cheerful ,its wonderful!!

  3. You definitely understood the process…no rhyme nor reason. I have a book about the Gee’s Bend ladies. Their studios are usually a small corner of their bedroom. They had no space to lay things out. They just pulled the next scrap out of the bag and figured out where to put it. I think that I would have liked them!!!

  4. Jim Gatling says:

    If you ever get a chance to watch the video of them from the Houston Art Museum do, It was fascinating. Totally a thing of the past today. Lifestyle like that is gone now,

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