The Innovative Quilt Makers of Gee’s Bend Created a New Canon

August 27, 2020
Holly Black

What began as an exercise in making beauty out of necessity (the quilts were historically used to keep warm at home) has become a multigenerational art form that marries spirituality, ancestral legacy and community (stitching is largely a group activity), not to mention an exceptional command of colour, form and compositional rhythm. By combining well-known quilting techniques with a specific blend of “controlled improvisation”, each maker creates something distinct and mesmeric, and every bit as complex as the European modernists who were once reconceiving line, colour and space thousands of miles away.