"Monkey Wrench"—single-block variation

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
c. 1955
Cotton
81 x 81 inches

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Description: 

Patty Ann Williams, the matriarch of one of Wilcox County's most disadvantaged families, created one of the greatest surviving examples of improvisation, a single-block variation of a "Monkey Wrench" (also known as "Shoo Fly" or "Churn Dash"), a popular pattern in the area.

Patty Ann Williams, the matriarch of one of Wilcox County's most disadvantaged families, created one of the greatest surviving examples of improvisation, a single-block variation of a "Monkey Wrench" (also known as "Shoo Fly" or "Churn Dash"), a popular pattern in the area. The large-scale workings of Williams's quilt hint that improvisation, as aesthetic and technique, was consciously valued and transmitted, even when subsumed into "pattern."