"Nine Patch"

Back to Artist
  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
  • Click on image to enlarge

c. 1955
Cotton and corduroy
93 x 77 inches

Collection of:

Description: 

Four-patch and nine-patch blocks are basic units for building thousands of patterns. As the names Indicate, four-patch blocks are constructed from four separate units, nine-patch from nine, as seen here in Ruth P. Mosely’s 1950s exuberant, triple-sashed “Nine Patch,” which borders on traditional Euro-American design ideas but is still quintessentially African American.

Four-patch and nine-patch blocks are basic units for building thousands of patterns. As the names Indicate, four-patch blocks are constructed from four separate units, nine-patch from nine, as seen here in Ruth P. Mosely’s 1950s exuberant, triple-sashed “Nine Patch,” which borders on traditional Euro-American design ideas but is still quintessentially African American. This African American influence is seen in the way the blocks are arranged as well as the choice of colors. The skewing of the elements, widely supposed to have been dictated mainly by need when a maker ran out of a particular fabric, is not necessarily random. The strips‘ variable widths are just as likely to have been a conscious design decision.

This is one of ten Gee's Bend quilts to appear on a U.S. postage stamp in 2006.