Thursday, September 4, 2008

Arie's House... #4 in gee's bend limited editions


"Arie's House"

#4 in Limited Edition of 20

Gee's Bend Inspired Game Boards

(the inspiration)

In the back of my mind for months i've been anxiously awaiting the studio time to create a new Gee's Bend piece... pouring over many pages of beautiful quilts, (The Quilts of Gee's Bend), i decided to make my next limited edition a checkerboard inspired by Arie Pettway - (1909-1993) - "housetop" - circa 1930. Arie's original piece is made of cotton, wool and rayon, and measures 75 x 75" and is featured on page 13 of the above mentioned book...

I loved this quilt.... so many things about it....the large borders, orange and browns.... but what touched me was that the center was her bandanna and the entire quilt was made from her old field clothes...and when i read that, the spark was lit... i had to make a piece surrounding Arie's life and work. I focused on her bandanna - the piece of fabric that wrapped her neck, touched to her heart, wiped the sweat from her forehead and covered her head from the heat...

I haven't found information on Arie herself, but will keep digging, and in the meantime I thought i'd share this paragraph from the Gee's Bend book, for i envisioned that it was about her...

"The creation of a quilt was a respite by comparison with endless other chores. The quilt was a 'cushion', in a very real sense of the word, against elements that invaded their log cabins chinked with mud against the wind. Illness, especially among children, was not a welcome visitor in Gee's Bend, and along with home remedies and castor oil came a pile of quilts to sleep under - protecting oneself, along with the warmth of siblings, against the damp of the Alabama River air. The complexity of these women's lives, woven into a daily experience that included raising children, farming and finally quilting, if reflected in the complexity of their quilt compositions."

(checker board piece drying.... after several more days of drying, i will begin the woodwork...)

I do not know how many of you grew up on farms, or your parents or grandparents had was many generations ago that it was the 'norm', but my husband, clarence, was raised on a farm, a tobacco farm. He had pickin' clothes, school clothes, church clothes and play clothes. He knows the difference in crops, dirt, weather and all the other things that seem so alien to me and my suburban upbringing. My parents were on farms too, and left and never looked back.

(mixtures of shades of color)

I remember when i went through my 'romantic' phase of - "lets buy an old farm house and fix it up and have a really large garden"... didn't sound like fun to him, sounded like all the work he had left behind along with all the discomforts... now of course, i'm older, and have watched many documentaries on farm life...and realize the difficult work and life that is often times decided by weather alone.

If you haven't already seen the Gee's Bend book, "The Quilts of Gee's Bend", here is a link to their site where you read about their quilts, see patterns or order the above book directly.

a days work...

I will add photos of the above piece, Arie's Home, when complete.

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