What I found in the little bundle was this lovely, soulful little face, with the most wonderful expression imaginable. Doesn't she just look like she's been around long enough to have the world's wisdom in her heart, and the joy of life bubbling through her smile?
I lived in Alabama for fourteen years, and I got to know and to work with a number of fantastic folk artists from the region. This little face felt like an embodiment and distillation of some of the African American artists whose work I came to know, particularly the women of Gee's Bend.
Gee's Bend, Alabama is an incredibly remote, tiny little town on a spit of land virtually surrounded by the Alabama River. The town is on land that used to be a cotton plantation, and the 750 or so people who still live there are descendants of the slaves that used to work there. The women of Gee's Bend have, for generations, made quilts from scraps of fabric that they had access to -- old flour sacks, worn out jeans, textiles ends from a nearby factory that upholstered furniture for Sears -- anything they could lay their hands on.
|my inspiration quilt|
So, in tribute to the incredible ladies of Gee's Bend, I wanted to make my own quilt around the clay face, inspired particularly by the quilt above.
Using Tilas, seed beads, bugles, and a whole lot of improvisation, I created this bracelet, Echoes of Gee's Bend. I tried to mimic the blocks of bordering fabric that surround the squares of colors in the inspiration quilt. I threw in a little bit of cream just like the quilter did.
I highly recommend that you check out the story and the work of the Pettways, the Youngs, the Bendolfs, and all of the other ladies of Gee's Bend here and here and here. And you should also check out what the other participants in this She Made/She Made challenge have done with their clay faces.
Bobbie (you're here)