I have quilts on my brain. Again. Probably because it's turning cold - super cold - here. But, most likely because I haven't sewn in months and I'm itching to sew something. Anything. But, preferably a quilt :).
I lived in Boston for a couple years, for school. When I was offered a job in Portland, I had to make the decision to move pretty fast. I had just a couple weeks to cram in as much of Boston as I could. One sweltering July day I took myself to Boston's Museum of Fine Art. Mostly because there was air conditioning :), but also because I actually love art museums. I don't love the weekends crowds; having to stand in line to get in and trying to shove your way through a crowd to see a painting. But, I was an art minor in college for awhile and there's just something incredibly inspiring about wandering through exhibits of amazing art. I highly recommend a quiet weekday afternoon stroll through a museum. That day happened to be my lucky day because the museum's featured exhibit was the Quilts of Gee's Bend.
Friends have you heard of these quilts? Since that fateful July day, I haven't been able to shake the beautiful quilt designs or the amazing story behind the quilt makers.
Gee's Bend is a small rural community in Alabama that was formed by freed slaves just after the Civil War. Read: poor. For the woman of the community, making quilts were necessary to keep their families warm in their unheated, primitive homes.
They created more than just cozy quilts to keep warm though. They unintentionally created works of art. Woman would piece together scraps of whatever fabric they had on hand: clothes, old linens, etc. They free-form quilted by hand, and what emerged was a quilting style that was highly improvisational, especially when compared to the more strict, tight-lined European style quilts. The Quilts of Gee's Bend look like modern abstract paintings.
Today, the original quilts tour art museums. And photos do not do them justice. I spent hours looking at them that day in Boston. The part I love best about this story, though, is in 2003 50 women of Gee's Bend founded the Gee's Bend Quilters Collective. This group of women have the exclusive rights to produce and market the quilts, and are still producing quilts today. Each quilt coming out of this group is individually made and authentic. So awesome.
If you are interested in learning more about these amazing women and their beautiful quilts, go here.
If you are interested in purchasing a quilt, there's more info here.
Happy friday friends! I hope you've enjoyed this little slice of history, and I hope you have a great weekend! :)