"Grandmother's Dream" variation—"Trip Around the World"

  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
Cotton and polyester knits
82 x 88 inches
Collection of
Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Della Mae Bridges, lived with her her daughter Helen McCloud, who moved to Gee’s Bend in the 1960s, until her death in 2000. Helen and her late mother can be said to be on the edge of Gee's Bend in several senses. They settled way down what is now the road to Paradise Point, about as far as you can get from the center of Boykin and still be in the Bend. Their quilts are also on the edge, pieced in an idiom not learned in Gee's Bend, yet still showing distinct similarities with the local tradition. Like many other Gee's Bend quiltmakers, both women have made "Lazy Gals"; both too have done block quilts in vivid colors with irregular geometries and multiple patterns. Indeed, apart from a tendency to tie the layers of their quilts together instead of stitching them and a partiality to two-sided compositions—both phenomena are known in Gee's Bend but are more prevalent than usual in the work of Helen McCloud and her mother—the two women might well have learned their art locally. Their textiles suggest the continuities between the quilting communities of Gee's Bend and the larger visual culture of Wilcox County and the Black Belt more generally.