Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gee's Bend Quilts in London, Ontario!

Last week I attended the Quilts of Gee's Bend show at the London Convention Centre. It was awesome! At first I was a little shocked, it didn't seem like there were a lot of quilts for my $9 entry fee. But I knew about these quilts, I knew there was more to them then that, I just had to find it. Unfortunately there were no descriptions on the quilts, telling you who made them and what their stories were...that didn't help. In my second round of viewing the quilts I noticed a trio of ladies sitting behind a table hand sewing blocks.

On the table were small wall hangings for sale....I asked them if it was alright to take photos and they said sure it was, and that started the conversation. My friend Chantal came over and wanted to see what they were working on and that got them more animated. China got up and showed me her quilts that were hanging up and I was even allowed to take this photo in front of my favourite of her quits.

Then Chantal came over with her copy of Architect of the Quilt Book and asked the ladies to sign it. I noticed the dwindling pile of books and thought its now or never, I should pick up one and have it signed. so I did! and I am so glad I did, I picked up The Quilts of Gee's Bend (the other was sold out) I have been reading this book every day, it is awesome!

What a story, what living history! Bev at the Cotton By Post booth and Chantal said that you really have to go to the lecture, but I missed the lecture that Chantal and I agreed to go on Thursday for the lecture. Boy, am I glad I went! What a story. The lecture started with China singing a gospel tune and then Matt Arnett telling us the history of the quilts and then China talking about what it was like to live in Gee's Bend. Fascinating!

The label on this quilt says Faded Glory Jeans, an apt name for this quilt!

It puts all those quilts into perspective, it gives you the story, the culture, and the art of Gee's Bend. If you did not go to the lecture you really missed half the show. My only regret is that I was unable to return to do the workshop too. Matt mentioned that they are hoping to do a showing at the AGO in Toronto, some time in the future...I am hoping that they do, because I will go again!

I love the blue, red and beige in this house top variations quilt.

I fell in love with the corduroy quilts, the colours were so strong!


Quilter Kathy said...

I loved reading your blog post! I did not know about any of these events...the show, the classes, the lectures! I would have attended all of these things, but even at the quilt show, there was no information about these events that I could see. None of their books on flyers about the week's events :(
And I really missed having the descriptions of each quilt, which as you said would make the whole experience even more meaningful. The quilters were so generous about taking photographs, eh!?! I found myself staring at these quilts longer than I ever have at quilts in a show before...loved it!

ROZ said...

What a wonderful show! And you did write a beautiful post about it. Your close-ups were so helpful, as I could see all the lovely hand quilting that went into these original quilts. Keep on quilting!!

sewnut said...

The lecture was amazing. I was so thrilled with the story and meeting these women. We spoke mostly with Stella.
Truly, this is a shortcut to the heart of what quiltign is about... the how, why and what of how it started.....

Tonya R said...

oh wow, what a great opportunity to talk to these wonderful quilters (just sorry about the poor signage etc). hope you make it to one of their workshops!!!!

Diane said...

I'm so glad you had an opportunity to view these quilts in person. Thanks for sharing your photos, especially the detailed ones.

I have a quilt appraiser friend who saw the quilts when they were in Milwaukee. She told me "not to bother" going to see them because "they are so poorly made."
Boy, did she ever miss the mark! These quilts are reflective of a time, a place, a culture, and each woman who made them.

Kim said...

Oh I just love everything about these quilts. I first saw some at the Whitney in NYC ( the first museum ever to hang quilts as ART!) (No pictures allowed) and most recently a subset of their work at the Mrytle Beach museum of arts in S.C., ( where no pictures were allowed to be taken either!) I have never met the artists but I still hope I get a chance to see their work again and meet them too. thanks for sharing your visit.......isn't the book terrific?

Happy Sewing

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