Work-clothes strips

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
79 x 60 inches

Until the middle of the twentieth century, the majority of quilts from Gee's Bend were made from worn-out work clothes, whose stains, tears, and faded denim patches provide a tangible record of lives marked by seasons of hard labor in the fields of the rural South. As a wider variety of cheap fabric became available in the second half of the twentieth century, work-clothes quilts became less prevalent. Yet, their defining ethos of frugality, reuse, and commemoration remains central to Gee's Bend quilting, and many quilters continue to enjoy the challenge of working with a limited palette and thicker, tougher materials.