"Housetop" variation

  • Click on image to enlarge

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

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
Cotton and cotton blends
98 x 68 inches
Collection of
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

In this quilt, solid blocks of color alternate with blocks of intersecting lines that recall maps, mazes, or grids. The quilt as a whole looks like an aerial view of land, roads, and fields. When Bendolph pieces her quilt tops together, she often reworks their design by cutting them apart and rearranging them in new ways. As she explains, “Once I start putting the pieces together, I’ll see which direction the quilt is going. I’ll put it on the bed and stand back and look at it. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t. If I like it, I keep sewing on it. If I don’t like it, I’ll cut it apart and redesign it. Or I’ll put it aside and come back to it later, when I am inspired.”

She describes most of her designs as based on the Housetop pattern but as she works on them they become “un-Housetop.” The connection to her ancestors through quiltmaking is important to her, and today her daughter and granddaughter design quilt patterns on the computer.