Poems in Fabric

January / February 2013

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quilt1 quilt2The quilters of Gee’s Bend preserve their rich history in thread and cloth. At first blush Gee’s Bend seems an unlikely place for art of any kind to flourish. Located some 40 miles southwest of Selma in Alabama’s hardscrabble Black Belt, this has been a land apart since Joseph Gee arrived from North Carolina to establish a plantation here in the early 1800s. The Alabama River curves around it on three sides, a wide oxbow moat. The Bend is isolated by geography and plagued by poverty—over the decades, descendants of slaves became sharecroppers and small farmers, struggling to survive in lean times. Yet isolation and adversity also produced a kind of aesthetic wonder: what many call America’s most dazzling quilts. For ye...


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