In 2017 I was invited, along with 16 other artists from around the country, to create a quilt in response to the amazing work by the quilters of Gee’s Bend.
Rocky Road has been built from 2 unfinished quilts started in 1995. The heirloom fibers include bedsheets that my father slept on as a child, his crib sheet, as well as sheets that he and my mother shared. Incorporated into the piece are a towel from my grandmothers kitchen and fabric from one of her house coats. The quilt is machine sewn, hand sewn and embroidered. While exploring the relationships and styles of Aolar Mosley, Mar Lee Bendolph and Essie Pettway, I was inspired to bring these works out of storage and combine them. The relationship between Grandmother, Father and Daughter can be, at best, described as a Rocky Road.
Piece Together: The Quilts of Mary Lee Bendolph
This exhibition was organized by the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, MA, and was adapted for two venues at Swarthmore College by List Gallery Director Andrea Packard. The List Gallery featured a selection of quilts made between the late 1970s and 2010 and several prints made in 2005. McCabe Library's upper atrium will feature several quilts by Mary Lee Bendolph alongside works by her mother, Aolar Mosely, and her daughter, Essie Bendolph Pettway—three generations of women who responded to the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow with remarkable faith, resilience, and creativity.
Installed concurrently with Piece Together: The Quilts of Mary Lee Bendolph, Responses to Gee's Bend features works by 17 artists who were inspired by the aesthetic legacy of Gee's Bend and created works specifically for McCabe Library's space. The exhibition was curated by Andrea Packard, List Gallery director; Alicia Ruley-Nock, independent quilt maker; and Susan Dreher, Visual and Digital Initiatives Librarian. Selected from numerous applicants from across the United States, the artists featured in Responses to Gee's Bend demonstrate a wide range of approaches, techniques, and thematic concerns.