1926 -

Eddie Lee Pettway Green

Alberta, Alabama
About

The Rehoboth-Alberta area is home to many quiltmakers who were born in Gee's Bend and moved up the road after they married. Eddie Lee Pettway Green is a good example of a woman whose artistic style evolved toward informality as events in her life took her further from the place her style had first developed.

I farmed all my life once I got big enough. Done farmed a whole lot of cotton. I was born down in Gee's Bend in 1926. We moved up to Rehoboth when I was eight years old. I married in 1953, Joseph Irby. He passed the same year we married in, and I married Arthur Green in 1965.

I made quilts since I was about old enough to do it. Made them just the same always as now. Just piece blocks together and sometimes I stripulate them. My mama showed me how to piece up, give me a needle and thread until I be learnt it. She showed me how to tie knots. I watched her. I been doing it since I was 'bout fourteen. We did it out of old overalls and stuff like that.

I had four house fires in my life and everything I had burnt up each time, everything I had but what I had on. Last time was a big one, 1995, house and everything I owned burnt up. I been here about two years in this house. My last house what burnt was down in Rehoboth. I started up piecing again year before last. Them quilts I give my daughter was did long time ago.

Gee’s Bend quilts carry forward an old and proud tradition of textiles made for home and family. They represent only a part of the rich body of African American quilts. But they are in a league by themselves. Few other places can boast the extent of Gee’s Bend’s artistic achievement, the result of both geographical isolation and an unusual degree of cultural continuity. In few places elsewhere have works been found by three and sometimes four generations of women in the same family, or works that bear witness to visual conversations among community quilting groups and lineages. Gee’s Bend’s art also stands out for its flair—quilts composed boldly and improvisationally, in geometries that transform recycled work clothes and dresses, feed sacks, and fabric remnants.

The Quiltmakers of Gee's Bend

This uplifting, Emmy-winning PBS film tells the modern-day "Cinderalla" story of the quiltmakers of Gee's Bend, Alabama. Artists born into extreme poverty, they live to see their quilts hailed by a The New York Times art critic as "some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced."