"Housetop" variation

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
Cotton, denim, corduroy
71 x 67 inches
Collection of
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Museum purchase and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

In a bedcover from the 1920s, Henrietta Pettway created her own version of the “Housetop” design using bands of brown cotton, blue denim, corduroy print, paisley, and a curious red plaid whose tiny squares mimic the overall composition of the quilt again and again in miniature. While most “Housetops” are formed from continuous strips, here the bands are fractured in a way that begins to deconstruct the familiar pattern. A lyrical rendering of variegated cloth strips tumbling around a patchwork center, the quilt is a playful riff on the “Housetop” design that parodies and finally subverts the original form through its unconventional orchestration of shapes and patterns.