The Gee’s Bend Quilters


Participant Wanda Bennett (pictured above) came to the StoryCorps GriotBooth to talk about her family, who are part of the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Gee’s Bend is a small, isolated, rural community inhabited by the descendants of freed slaves who learned to make the most of what they had. The women in this community developed a distinctive style of quilting using scraps of clothing and other fabric. These quilts are now revered as works of modern art, as well as symbols of resourcefulness and perseverance. They can be seen in the traveling art exhibit The Quilts of Gee’s Bend.

Wanda’s aunt is currently teaching her the style of handmade quilting that is unique to the women of Gee’s Bend, a family tradition that dates back to Wanda’s great great grandmother. Pictured below is Wanda’s favorite quilt, called “Lazy Gal”, which was quilted by a member of her family, Arcola Pettway. Wanda’s mother was also a Pettway, which is one of the prominent families among the quilters of Gee’s Bend.

photo courtesy of The Quilts of Gee’s Bend Catalog



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