Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Gee's Bend, and Playing Tourist!

A handful of Gee's Bend quilts were hung as part of a gallery event on Thursday night during quilt week in Sisters.

The Olympic 2012 Housetop, by Mary Ann Pettway

Gee's Bend quilts are extremely sought after by collectors for a number of reasons. If you are unfamiliar with the Quiltmakers of Gee's Bend, please click over and see what they are about.

I am not in any way qualified to explain, but I will say that in the 1970's quilts from that community impacted the art world in a way that was never expected. The historical context of the quiltmakers' lives enriches the story of these quilts, as well.

Their quilts are made using any available material. I repeat...ANY available material. In fact, one had a severely worn and pilled polyester blanket on the back. In its new form, it will keep someone warm for a few more years.

The quilt in the next picture is made from discarded Post Office uniform shirts, and further down you will see some recycled denim.

Post Office Uniform Shirts, by Mary Ann Pettway

If you think I'm kidding about their significance to collectors, take a look at the price tag on the post office quilt.

Price tag

Prices ranged from $11,000 to $38,000 American dollars on the quilts that were for sale. Needless to say, none came home with me!

I just enjoyed viewing them, imagining their humble beginnings, and marveling at their current status. I read somewhere that the early quilts were sold for a dollar or two, just to put food on the table. How far they've come!

Denim Quilt With Pink, by Stella Mae Pettway (Left)
Naptime, by Nancy Pettway (Right)

Gee's Bend quilt
(Sorry, I missed the tag on this one.)

Denim Blocks, by Flora Moore

As the Gee's Bend quiltmakers sang at the Picnic in the Park on Friday night, guests were treated to a parade of quilts they'd brought for show and tell.

The arrow quilt was my favourite. It caught my eye, and I just wanted to keep looking!

Gee's Bend Show and Tell

Gee's Bend Show and Tell

Gee's Bend Show and Tell

On Saturday during the Outdoor Quilt Show, the group from Gee's Bend made themselves available for photos and conversation. These gracious ladies were still smiling after an extremely busy week!

Gee's Bend Quiltmakers in Sisters, Oregon, July 2015

Even MORE of their quilts were displayed on the lawn! I couldn't help noticing how casually the quilts were hung over wooden sawhorses. There is no artifice or arrogance affiliated with this group, despite their fame and the historical significance of their work.

Railroad Crossing, by China Pettway
Have I mentioned that all of their work is done by hand? Including the piecing? Yep. It's a true story.

Detail, Railroad Crossing, by China Pettway
Now I'd like to share some


When I wasn't in class or at an event, I was snooping around exploring the town. Imagine taking in this scene over breakfast every morning.

View from the edge of town.

I spotted these heads tucked in a niche upstairs in the clock shop. The CLOCK shop. Why would they need these??? (And, am I the only one to notice they are past their best before date??? Ha!)

The mystery of it will keep me amused off and on for months as I imagine possible reasons for their existence. In actual fact, my imagination takes a somewhat macabre turn when I start to think about where they might have come from, and how they came to be in a clock shop. Glad I didn't spy these after dark!

Box full of heads. Hmmm.

The natural beauty of Sisters never ceases to amaze me. This is the local realtors' office, right in the middle of town.

Realtor's Office

The deer are pretty comfortable with munching their way through town.

One of the locals

And, it would be easy to run to the store and back on one of these!

Bevvy of bikes at the Lodge

Quirky metal art calls out for attention in front of a shop.

Cactus art for sale

As does this display.

Outdoor display in front of a local shop.

Near the end of the day Mom was glad to rest her feet for a few minutes, and the bears seemed friendly enough.

I'm sure these three are laughing at me for getting my finger in the shot!

Time for me to rest, too. Goodnight!

Share my photos if you like, but please play fair and leave my blog link and the quiltmakers' information intact. I go to great lengths to give credit where credit is due, and hope you will, too!

As always, my photos were taken point and shoot style, with my trusty Android phone. (Thus the expertise of the "finger in the frame" photo! Ha!)

Try, Learn, & Grow!
P.S. One more big, quilty post to go...still some exciting quilts to share from show day! Then, I can't wait to show you what went on in class with Katie Pasquini Masopust and Angela Walters!


  1. The Gee's Bend quilts are really stunning and the ladies are such a delight to hear talk about their work and upbringing. Did they sing for you all, too? And those heads are super scary / creepy! Agh!

  2. Love the Gee's Bend Quilts, how amazing to have seen them with their makers. Beautiful tourist shots too, those cactus plants are great.

  3. That's fascinating to read - love seeing the Gee's Bend Quilts - thanks!


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