Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gee's Bend Quilts Art Project

I picked up a little packet of postcards at an antique store a while back. A small bundle of color, pattern and inspiration. The postcards featured quilts from Gee's Bend, a remote backwater of Alabama. Four generations of African-American women created these quilts from fabric scraps. Personally, I love the striking color arrangements, not typical in Dresden Plates or Baltimore Album Quilts of which I'm more familiar.
The packet sat in my desk drawer until last week when I was searching for an art project inspiration that I could do with my daughter. (We all look in our desks drawers for that, right?)
I found the postcards, zoomed off to Michael's for some 8" x 10" canvases and went to work.
Elly and I picked our favorites (she did the red and white dots and the red stair pattern) and went to work.

It sure helps to have a drawer full of acrylic paints on hand because sorting through our stash to find (and mix) the right colors gave us plenty of time to talk about softball (her current obsession) and how good it feels to be out of school.
Mixing gooey colors together confirmed the reason why I do what I simply feels good. Teaching art to kids might not be the ideal choice for many, but a lazy summer afternoon wading through color choices might change your mind.

The original Gee's Bend Quilt is on the left, and our interpretation is on the right. I love how they turned out. We ended up making six panel, but I think we want to do more.


  1. I am so glad I was able to read about your creativity. The canvases look wonderful! It sounds like it was a fun day for you and your daughter.

  2. We saw the ladies of Gee's bend when they came to Denver a few years back. They were so sweet and we got some postcards too. We made cardboard quilts and they turned out great.

  3. Those look really awesome. But the way that you worded Inspired by us makes it sound like the orignal was inspired by the work you and your daughter did. I would maybe try to correct that...

  4. The Gee's Bend quilts are really beautiful. I love the idea of doing art inspired by them. The results are so fun and colorful.

  5. What a great project! I used to teach High School Art and had the most fun coming up with informal impromptu art projects. I love seeing your creations alongside the quilts. Very cool project.

  6. I love this idea- those canvases are GORGEOUS!


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