Feb 2, 2021

Gee's Bend Quilters 2021

"The Gee's Bend Quilters Are Selling Their World-Renowned Wares on Etsy."

"Quilts made by the women of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, are, according to The New York Times, “Some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced.”

 They’ve been immortalized on U.S. postage stamps and hung in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When Amy Sherald painted Michelle Obama’s stunning official portrait, she said that the quilts of Gee’s Bend inspired her depiction of the first lady’s dress.

And yet the women quilters of Gee’s Bend—most of whom are descendants of enslaved people forced to work on the Gee family’s cotton plantation—have reaped few financial rewards, despite decades of acclaim. 

Quilts bearing the Gee’s Bend name may have graced museum walls from the Smithsonian to the de Young in San Francisco, but the majority of households in the town have an income of under $10,000 a year, Bloomberg reported in 2018. 

Part of the problem is that the quilting collective hasn’t been able to monetize their art. Gee’s Bend, officially known as Boykin, is far from a tourist destination; it’s surrounded on three sides by the Alabama river, underfunded and isolated.

That’s not an accident. In 1962 white politicians shut down the Gee’s Bend ferry to prevent Black residents from voting. “We didn’t close the ferry because they were Black,” the sheriff reportedly bragged. 

“We closed it because they forgot they were Black.” Martin Luther King, Jr., visited Gee’s Bend three years later. 

“I came over here to Gee’s Bend to tell you, you are somebody,” he told the fired-up crowd, which included Gee’s Bend civil rights quilters who participated in the famed Freedom Quilting Bee."

Gratitude to Glamour Magazine for contents and photos shared here. 💜

And yes this one is now sold!

These are all most likely made by descendents of the original group that I so enjoyed during their lecture and quilt show, participation as part of the SOQS Picnic and Book Signing/Purchase outside of Jean Well's Fabric Shop
"The Stitchin' Post" in 2009.

Original Groups Quilts Shown Below Now in Private Homes/Museums

Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands*: Gee's Bend Quilters
Photos 2009
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show Visit 

Lecture/Singing/ Their Quilts 

Gee's Bend Quilters sing as they sign autographs. Pictured among the group are: China Pettway, Loretta Bennett, Mary Ann Pettway,Revil Mosely, Louisiana Bendolph, Lucy Mingo, Florine Smith. Taken in front of the Stitchin' Post, Sisters Oregon, July 11, 2009 

In the Beginning:
Michele Bilyeu Creates
*With Heart and Hands*

The Gees Bend Quilters

Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands*: The Saga of Gee's Bend: Continues....


Handed my camera to another quilters and was so thrilled to get in on their fun!

Loved loved loved these fabulous ladies.

💜 Blessings and Gratitude Abound 💜

Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands*: The Gee's Bend Quilters

Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands*: The Saga of Gee's Bend: Continues....

Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands*: Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show 2009

Michele Bilyeu Creates *With Heart and Hands*: Gee's Bend Quilters Sing

(My personal video)

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands

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