Thursday, January 20, 2011
Close to Nowhere
Quilts of Gee’s Bend exhibit
I wonder what the quilters of Gee’s Bend think about all the “things” that their quilting inspired? I really hope they’re pleased with all the “stuff.”
I get several (ha ha ha -- “several” is a real laugh!) quilting catalogs and the latest bunch have all featured some sort of “Gee’s Bend” kits, fabric, etc.
The quilters of Gee’s Bend were “discovered” several years ago and their story has spread everywhere. Gee’s Bend is a very small, very isolated town in Alabama -- tucked into a bend of the Alabama River near Selma and until recently, almost cut off from the rest of the world.
For six generations, the women of Gee’s Bend quilted for their families. Upon being “discovered” in 2002, the quilters have since formed a cooperative and you can buy everything from a T-shirt or postcard to replications of the quilts. You can also buy a kit to make your own “Gee’s Bend” quilt.
The Piecemakers of Oxford, my quilt guild, went to see The Quilts of Gee’s Bend when they were on exhibit at the Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tenn.
It was hard to know exactly what we as a group thought of the exhibit. We spend lots of money and lots of time learning to make very precise blocks for our quilts. The quilts of Gee’s Bend seem to be haphazardly thrown together.
And yet, there is harmony in the colors and beauty in pieces of polyester fabrics and worn clothes.
One particular quilt really touched me -- one of the quilters had made a quilt from her late husband’s work clothes. The fabrics were stained and worn and there was no particular pattern to be seen.
Yet, she slept under that quilt because it kept her husband close to her. There is absolutely nothing else you can ask from a quilt.
There’s a reason for this pondering on Gee’s Bend quilts. They are on exhibit at the University of Mississippi Museum -- Jan. 11-April 2. In conjunction with this exhibit, the Piecemakers of Oxford have a quilt exhibit at The Powerhouse in Oxford. There’s also a fiber arts festival at the Powerhouse Jan. 21-23. For more info. on these exhibits, call the Oxford Arts Council at 662-236-6429 or visit oxfordarts.com.
• Tuesday afternoon, while we were finishing up the newspaper to send to the printer, our power went out with a really big bang. HSUD was here in no time flat and we had our power back quickly. We didn’t see them working on anything, but it wasn’t long before our computers were humming again! Thank you very much!
Oh, and Milton, there are only 338 days left until...
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