"Pinwheel" variation

Back to Artist
  • Click on image to enlarge

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

    Photo: William Arnett
2000
Cotton and cotton/polyester blends
88 x 85 inches

Collection of:

Description: 

As worldly influences increased in Gee's Bend during the twentieth century, so too did the number of quilt patterns, which became available commercially and could be swapped, copied, or purchased.

As worldly influences increased in Gee's Bend during the twentieth century, so too did the number of quilt patterns, which became available commercially and could be swapped, copied, or purchased. "New," adopted patterns rarely took hold inside the community, however; they usually mixed into existing styles, then disappeared. Reasons for their limited use are revealed in interviews with the many quiltmakers who prefer to put together quilts to suit their tastes. Some "didn't feel comfortable with cutting little pieces to put together," "didn't like book patterns," or, as another has said, she "didn't have pretty materials, so [she] couldn't make pretty patterns." Sometimes a pattern block will be "twinned" with an improvisation of its elements, as occurs in the six unique variations in Essie B. Pettway's "Pinwheel" which she created using fabric remnants of the dresses that she made for herself and mer mother, Mary Lee Bendolph—a sort of cross-generational portrait in pinwheel shapes and green floral prints.