The Quilts of Gee's Bend

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"The Quilts of Gee's Bend" tells the story of the critically acclaimed African-American quiltmakers from Gee's Bend, Al. The artists are all descended from slaves who worked a plantation called Pettway, located on the Alabama River.

The plantation owner's surname is still ubiquitous in the community, and the residents still inhabit the land their ancestors once slaved. But now they own it. Through generations, the women of Gee's Bend have taught their daughters to quilt, using any piece of material available--from feed sacks to old work clothes.

During times when self-expression was discouraged, their singing and their unique quilt patterns represented the women's only creative outlets.

Geographically and culturally isolated from other communities, they developed techniques and styles with little outside influence; hence this quilting coterie has been compared to the great artistic enclaves of the Italian Renaissance.

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