"Bars," tied with yarn

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
c. 1980
Cotton blends, cotton, nylon
85 x 81 inches
Collection of
Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Helen McCloud’s quilts, along with those of her mother Della Mae Bridges, are pieced in an idiom not learned in Gee's Bend, yet they still show distinct similarities with the local tradition. Like many other Gee's Bend quiltmakers, they have made "Lazy Gals"; the two have also 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.