10 thoughts on “Gee’s Bend (AL.) African-American Quilters – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Richard — Thank you so much for all the links about the quilts of Gee’s Bends. A couple of years ago I was net surfing on African-American art when I came across them for the first time and they immediately spoke to me. I’ve been using one of the designs for my desktop wallpaper ever since but didn’t know about the music or many of the other online sources you write about. I’m looking forward to listening to the music and visiting the other sites you mention. When I sit down to my computer in the morning I often contemplate what it must be like to sleep beneath a quilt from Gee’s Bend. Now there’s a laying on of hands I think I can understand . . .

  2. Hello Richard, Thank you for the great Gee’s Bend quilts article. I have been interested in African-American style quilts since I caught the quilting bug in 1992. My first hint was from a few photos in Lady’s Circle Patchwork and Quilting magazine. An article showed photos of quilts made during Roberta Horton’s class in Alaska, but alas, there were no patterns nor instructions given. Much later, Ms Horton’s book “Plaids and Stripes” was reissued and the secrets of the delightfully carefree style were revealed. I’m happy to see these wonderfully spontaneous creations made public. Thanks!

  3. Hi, I am a quilter. I purchase the book Quilts of Gee’s Bend. As I was looking at some areas looked so familar. This is the area my Father was raised. I have visited my uncle there, in a house very similar to the steel roof houses there. Going though the family newsletters-The school Fernadnad S. Ervin-My Father’s brother, name after my grandfather. Newspaper clipping of the school bus accident. The first shreiff-family related. The pictures just looked so familar, even the Tiinie Dell’s store-I think up the street from my daddy’s uncle. Ironically, my married name is Dew, (John Henry sold land to Dew Family). I would love to know, if I am relatied to these wonderful quilters. Hoping you respond back YES!

  4. So many people talk about the quilters of Gee’s Bend, to visit would be a lifetime of memories this is the only place that I have grown and love for years and is indeed my comfort zone.

  5. Shirley: I’m so honored that one of the actual quilters of Gees Bend has visited here & left such a lovely message. I hope a few of my readers might visit you there and buy a quilt or at least buy one of the books about your wonderful artisitic treasures.

  6. In 1994, my Daddy died an a terrible traffic accident. I carried all his clothes home with me to give away to people who needed them, but far enough away from my parents’ home that Mom wouldn’t see someone in them.

    He was a self-made man, a bare-footed farm boy who became a lawyer. He still hunted, fished and gardened and many of his “work” clothes were not fit to even be given away. So I kept the jeans and chambray and coveralls. I finally started to cut strips and made what we call “the grandfather quilt.” It is a healing quilt. Making it was my therapy and now it is used to cure homesickness at camp or the first semester of college as well as colds and the flu. When you wrap yourself up in the grandfather quilt, it is like you are wrapped in his arms. And you go to sleep and get well.

    I found the Gees Bend quilters while looking for other quilts made of work clothes. I was captured. Arlonzia Pettway is quoted(on the Auburn site) describing one quilt made by Missouri Pettway, “Mama say, ‘I going to take his work clothes, shape them into a quilt to remember him, and cover up under it for love.'”

    I will add that quote to the label on the grandfather quilt when it comes home from its latest trip. Thanks for more on the quilts and quilters. They feel like family to me.

  7. Amy: What an extraordinary story! A beautiful & touching story. Once in a blue moon someone writes a comment like yours on my blog which makes all the drudgery & hard work of writing a blog worthwhile. Thank you, thank you!!

    If you could get someone to take a nice photo of your Grandfather Quilt & e mail it to me, I’d be honored to display it here at my blog.

    I so wish I had a Grandfather Quilt like yours. And I don’t quilt so I can’t make one myself, alas.

  8. I am currently watching the story of the “Quilts of Gee’s Bend” on WSIU. I hope many others who may feel like life isn’t good for them have the opportunity to learn about the women who made the Quilt’s from Gee’s Bend. These women used what they had to make patterns and designs that are not only beautiful, but they are very functional. The function can be to create warmth to the body….or warmth to the hearts of those lucky enough to know the stories behind these quilts. Thank you for sharing their story

  9. This evening, February 21, 2005, on the educational channel 25…my husband and I watched the extraordinary story of Gee’s Bend. I want them to know that I have started a four part quilt that tells the story of my children and their spouses, and when it is completed I want to sent a picture of it to Gee’s Bend/Freedom Quilting Bee.
    Two years ago, I started to make Church quilts for individual churches here in Monterey County in Central California. I just finished 70 squares block quilt, each one representing a separate book of the Bible.It all started with a vision that God had given to me one night. I wish that I knew who to send pictures of these three quilts that I have down….I would like to have at least one in a museum to display….please let me know….thank you for the historical account of true quiltmaking……Steffy Brown

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