Blocks and bars

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
80 x 74 inches
Collection of
Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Sue Willie Seltzer was once part of a group of friends who traveled from house to house, quilting tops for neighbors. (She did not begin to piece her own quilts until she was in her thirties.) She found it difficult to put together pieced blocks in traditional patchwork patterns and instead used “strings" of squares and rectangles to construct dynamic abstractions, often contrasting two colors or tonalities. The visual promenades Seltzer creates echo the thoughts of another Rehoboth quiltmaker, Mensie Lee Pettway, who chooses homebuilders’ terms to describe making quilts: “You can start with a bedroom over there or a den over here, and just add on what you want.” A red and white Seltzer quilt becomes a snapshot of a main road passing a complex of buildings with room-by-room add-ons. Her graphic imagination—she plays three thick, vertical bars against a fragmented version of itself—rivals that of any Gee’s Bender and consistently transforms eye candy into food for thought.