Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Response to Gee's Bend Quilts, Swarthmore College Exhibit

I snuck off to Swarthmore College yesterday to see the Mary Lee Bendolph quilts at the List Gallery and also at the Library, where more of her quilts were hung and the exhibit of "responses to Gee's Bend" Quilts were hung, including mine!  Here I am with my "Full Circle Moments" quilt.

"Inspired by my grandmother's improved double knit polyester quilts, I started creating my own quilts, from a point of view of "not knowing that you should follow a pattern." This path lead me to start a website, 15 Minutes of Play, and then to my first book, 15 Minutes of play: Improvisational Quilts, when people wanted to know more about piecing quilts without a pattern. The waste-not approach is very much what I learned from grandmother, and can't throw anything away. Improvisation is the basis of all my work, with a heavy hand in tradition. Looking at the Gee's Bend quilts, I see the artist in each of them. For me quilting, is about looking, and making, and being the process of the quilt... and what an exciting experience it is! Improvisational quilts make my heart sing.

I first learned of the quilts of Gee's Bend before I was a full time quilter, and have been very much inspired by these amazing art works. I have gone to Alabama, and call Mary Ann and China Pettway friends. I feel very connected to telling stories in my quilts, and The Gee's bend quilts, helped me find that voice. I'm honored  to make a quilt for this exhibit."

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