The tradition of quilting within West Alabama communities dates back generations and reflects the importance of humble, utilitarian objects to the quilters who originally made them for their families’ comfort and survival. Beginning at the end of the twentieth century, hand-crafted objects–and particularly quilts–came to be valued for the integrity and creative spirit that their makers brought to their work, manifesting an appreciation not just for their craftsmanship, but also for their ingenuity in adapting and sustaining ancestral traditions.
This exhibition of works from the Museum’s collection will examine the range of West Alabama quilt-making techniques. Beginning with the now-well-known practice of the quilters of Gees Bend in Wilcox County, the more widespread traditions of West Alabama quilters–such as applique and pieced construction–will demonstrate the distinctive characteristics of their creations and the varied patterns and themes they adapted to their individual practices of quilt-making.
Featured artists included Plummer T. Pettway (1919–1983), Norah Ezell (1919–2007), Mary Maxtion (1924–2015), Mary Lee Bendolph (born 1935), and Yvonne Wells (born 1939).
Above: Photography of the 2020 installation of the exhibition at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
“…hand-crafted objects–and particularly quilts–came to be valued for the integrity and creative spirit that their makers brought to their work.”
Organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama.
This exhibition was sponsored by the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Additional support was provided by co-sponsor Dr. and Mrs. Robert M. Combs.