Wednesday, November 7, 2018

My Gee's Bend Quilt

No book I've written has changed my life more than LEAVING GEE'S BEND. I've loved being an ambassador for the Gee's Bend quilters and the quilts, and am honored to have been a part of raising awareness about this tiny community of women who create works of art from their small, remote home in the bend of the Alabama River.

Gee's Bend quilt kit (I made this one.)
More than once I've been asked: "Do you own a Gee's Bend quilt?" And me, being very similar to the quilters, thought, well, no, I can make my own quilt. And so I did! I've made LOTS of quilts over the past 8 years. I even made one that was a Gee's Bend quilt kit -- and I love it!

But still, this little niggling voice kept reminding me that the best and truest way to honor an artist is to buy one of their works. And so then the question became: which quilter's work would I want? Which could I afford? After much consideration, I decided to commission Mary Ann Pettway to make me a quilt.

Mary Ann Pettway with my (!) quilt,
just before taking it off the wall
at Gee's Bend Quilters Collective
A word about Mary Ann: these days, she's really the face of the Gee's Bend quilters. She and China Pettway travel together a lot ---quilting and singing and teaching -- and they have been my guest at several events related to LEAVING GEE'S BEND. And I have really seen Mary Ann grow and develop as a quilter. NO ONE can put in tighter, more precise stitches than Mary Ann! And you can see her heart and imagination in her quilts -- yes, the vivid colors, and blocks and strips we've come to expect from the Gee's Bend quilters. And JOY. That's what I see in Mary Ann's work. So I was thrilled when Mary Ann agreed to create a quilt especially for me. We talked about colors and size, and I could tell she "got it," she knew just what I was looking for. And WOW, did Mary Ann deliver.

When I picked up my quilt, I was admiring the stitches. I asked Mary Ann, "how do you do it?"

"It's a gift," she said.

Yes. Yes it is. And I am so very grateful to be able to enjoy this quilt every single day. Thank you, Mary Ann!

"Going Up Without a Pocket"
by Mary Ann Pettway,
in its new home... with Maggie. :)


Your thoughts?