I can remember the first time I saw a Gee's Bend quilt. In an Alabama schoolroom, I was asked to consider this soulful medium.
The attention to color scheme and the asymmetry was intriguing, and the stories behind them where supremely romantic and alluring. The beauty of the quilts came from the fabric choice or lack of fabric choice, I should say. Lutisha Pettway's "Bars" c. 1950 is particularly divine. She pieced her deceased husband's work clothes together to create this covering. In a time when money was tight and opportunity tighter…can you image? A woman wrapped up in her husband's memory: a monotone robe of beauty and memory.
I am currently collecting scraps of white, cream, and light blue cashmere to piece a blanket together in ode to this style. All of the scraps are from sweaters with holes, and I can't bear to throw any scrap of cashmere away! I'm thinking of using a matte gold or silver thread to stitch them together, I haven't decided yet. Or maybe something cotton denim? I think West Elm's frayed edge cotton sheet set would be the perfect compliment.
1. Loretta Pettway, c. 1960 94x76 in. Smithsonian.com 2. Shlomitofir, Formica Half-Moon Necklace ($53) 3. West Elm, Frayed-edge sheet set in steel blue ($29-119) 4. Rachel Carey George c. 1938 82x72 in. Smithsonian.com 5. Pearlie Kennedy Pettway, c. 1950 84x81 in. Auburn University on Gee's Bend