Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Bold Expressions

Bold Expressions: African American Quilts from the Collection of Corrine Rile
y the exhibit displays stunning colors and wonderfully liberating patterns unique to the American Folk Art tradition and popularized by the perhaps, better known quilters of Gee's Bend. As with the other quilts in those collections, these celebrate bold improvisational skills and modern takes on traditional quilt blocks and patterns. Many of the quilts are made from found materials of old flour sacks, jean materials and old work clothes utilizing a variety of construction techniques and quilting styles.

Bold Expressions: African American Quilts from the Collection of Corrine Rileycan be seen at the Bellevue Arts Museum June 14 - October 7, 2012
And while no truly liberated and unique quilt should be copied or come with a pattern, the pdf gives fabulous ideas for what blocks actually appear in many of the quilts and help us to see the non traditional mindset as it evolves through both creative expression and necessity of use of the materials available at the time to these amazing quilters.

Makes you want to cut up some old clothes, doesn't it. But then, if you have been previously inspired by other such exhibits, as I have been by the Gee's Bend might be running out of old clothes! Beautiful visual delights no matter what!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in the Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!


  1. I got to go see the Gees Bend Traveling Quilt show while in St Louis 2 years ago (about a 2 hour trip for me)......VERRY cool. This looks to be a great show too. wish I was near!

  2. Cyndi, Thank you so much for visiting and even more for leaving a comment! I have been very fortunate to not only see a lot of Gee's Bend quilts but meet most of the quilters..original and newer ones who are now making quilts, as well. I have been able to hear their story at a wonderful presentation at the Sisters (Oregon) Outdoor Quilt show and to hear them sing both at a picnic/quilt showing with them and Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran, and to hear them sing as they autographed my (I mean their!) book. I loved them and it was an amazingly deep experienced that I have blogged about quite a bit since 2009. The links to those posts are using the label from below for blog posts and clicking on Gees Bend/African American quilters:

    They are so fabulous and these quilts/quilters look to be just as awesome!

  3. Oh! Thanks for the heads-up on this! This is pretty close to me (about an hour drive) and I HAVE to go see this! I was lucky enough to see 2 different Gee's Bend exhibits, which were so inspirational. This looks to be just as good. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  4. Now that is one busy quilt!

  5. Thanks for digging up this resource for us. I'm not inclined to dismantle used clothing but I sure do find this type of quilt inspiring. :- )

  6. Michele,
    Thank you so much for posting about the exhibit. I may have a chance to go to Seattle during these dates. I am not going to miss it. I bought the book and have been drooling over the pictures of the quilts. It will be so nice to see some of them in person.

  7. Oh, I'd love to see those quilts in person. So inspiring just to see the pictures. Thanks!

  8. This looks wonderful Michele!! Wish I was closer so I could see up close and for real!!

  9. You are all so welcome! I actually discovered these a while back and then forgot about them. I'm just happy I was reminded of them and had all of the links and files, still!

  10. Loved this exhibition- wish I could see it up close and personal.. I am in the throes of June paperwork so not much time to blog either.... soon...
    Did you know that you have reached your 1000 follower.. Wow- just goes to show there are lots of us out here that know what a terrific blog you write..
    Warmest regards,

  11. Oh, my these are wonderful! Thanks for the share!


Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.