The inspired quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend turned a rural riverside community in Alabama into a highly influential destination for those interested in the confluence of heritage craft and contemporary art-making. The area is isolated by a topographic turn of the Alabama River that makes the town all but an island, and is largely populated by descendants of freed enslaved people who once worked on the local Pettway plantation — many still bear Pettway as their surname. Through their ingenuity, artistry, and skills of improvisation, generations of Black female fiber artists have made the name Gee’s Bend synonymous with quiltmaking; they’ve also collectively authored an oft-elided chapter of art history and carried it into the present day.

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