Ceramic, Men's Denim and Corduroy Pants

36" H x 20" W x 40" L

I should have known about Gee’s Bend quilts much earlier than a year ago. In October 2023, I spend 5 days on the banks of the Alabama with Loretta Pettway Bennett and Marlene Bennett Jones learning how to quilt. What I learned is that beyond the beauty of their quilts; their quilts are a visual manifestation of joy, love, and power. These women are extraordinary artists and community leaders who carry their legacy to empower the next generation. As a leader in establishing the Freedom Quilting Bee Legacy and the Airing of the Quilts Festival, Loretta is celebrating her community and sharing her knowledge. I wanted to visually translate the gratitude and joy I felt during that week with this portrait of Loretta. 

The quilt is made of men’s denim and corduroy, Lorretta’s preferred material, highlighting the Bearpaw pattern. The ceramic figure carries patterns from a legacy of quilts made from the region. The “face” is a representation of one of Loretta’s quilts split onto three planes.