Back in 2002, I got to see The Quilts of Gee’s Bend exhibit at the Whitney Museum in New York. Those historical quilts made quite a stir at the time. I remember walking through the exhibit marveling at the colour, the re-purposed fabrics and perfect simplicity of the composition. Little did I know that this show would help push me towards the creation of the workroom several years later.
A few days ago, I traveled down to London, Ontario to see an exhibit of more contemporary quilts from Gee’s Bend and to participate in a workshop with some of the women of Gee’s Bend. Jacqueline of Soak organized a small group of ladies for this road trip, all I had to do was get up at the crack of dawn.
We spent the morning walking through the show. Though the exhibit seemed small at first glance, it is huge on substance. These quilts were all made within the last four years by various women from the Gee’s Bend Quilters Collective and they are wonderful. I was so incredibly inspired by many of the pieces in the show.
After lunch at a local market, we joined a workshop led by four women from Gee’s Bend. Using scrap clothing, some solids and a couple prints, they led us through their techniques to create a couple blocks sewn by hand. The true highlight of the day was spending time with these lovely ladies from Alabama. Their sweet, enthusiastic and warm dispositions had us grinning and laughing, while we tried to soak up their teachings and their southern twang. The day ended with hugs and a class photo. Perfect.