The absract textiles of Gees Bend

This summer I’ve been planning my dream trip to do the states. I have no idea when I will able to do it but when I have the funds and time I’m off! So I’ve been going through each individual state deciding on a few things I’d like to do in each one. When I got to researching Alabama one of the things that I came across and that stood out to me was the Gees Bend Quilts.

Gees Bend is an isolated area of land enclosed on three sides by the Alabama river.  The area took its name from Joseph Gee who moved there, bringing slaves, to establish a cotton plantation in the early 1800’s.  After slavery was abolished many became share croppers in the area. To this day a majority of people who live there are descendants from the cotton plantation workers. A Freedom Quilting Bee was formed in the 1960’s during the civil rights movement, and many of the Gees Bend women were members.  Their unique bold and jazzy artistic style combined with the use of a variety of materials has transformed how many people think about art. 

They almost look like abstract paintings and I love how they look nothing like those uniform, square alongside square, quilts.  Using these as my starting point for a project I wanted to look more into the history of slavery in Gees Bend and combine the two.


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