These quilts are made by the quilters of Gee's Bend - a group of African American women living in the isolated hamlet of Gee's Bend, Alabama. Their quilts were made as functional works for their unheated homes. The textiles they pieced together were discarded materials like old work clothes or cotton sacks.
The last quilt pictured here was made by Missouri Pettaway. Missouri's daughter Arizona describes the story behind her mother's quilt:
"It was when Daddy died. I was about seventeen, eighteen. He stayed sick about eight months and passed on. Mama say, 'I going to take his work clothes, shape them into a quilt to remember him, and cover up under it for love.' She take his old pants legs and shirttails, take all the clothes he had, just enough to make that quilt, and I helped her tore them up. Bottom of the pants is narrow, top is wide, and she had me to cutting the top part out and to shape them up in even strips."
I'm making plans to join in on a quilting weekend with my mom's friends. In her memory, my sisters and I are going to make a quilt with a collection of her blue shirts.