My Adventure to Gee’s Bend!

Ok, did you think I’d already told you about my southern adventures? Did you think I was done?? Ha! Nope! Not yet! There’s more….

You already know we went there, since I gave away the little quilted pot holder that I got there!

When we were planning the trip over, we had planned to take the quicker route, which would include the ferry ride across the river. If you look online, there are personal phone numbers listed for one of the quilters for more information. But I hated to call her, who knows how many people call her at home! (or so I thought) So instead I called this gallery that sells some of their work in the town of the ferry terminal. They said of course take the ferry and reassured me that it was ok to call her on her personal line. So I did and she was funny and said there’s no reason to take the ferry! So the ride took a little longer, but was way less stressful trying to catch the ferry on time!!

We made it there and our first stop was the ferry terminal in Gee’s Bend where the quilters are all set up. But I guess I got there right at lunch and they kinda seemed surprised that I showed up! There were a few quilting and I sat down with them for a minute, but I had this uncomfortable feeling of interrupting something. So one of the ladies sent me on down the road to the collective! She said, ‘You go out here and then turn right at the house with the blue trashcan. then you’ll see it next to the old firehouse building.’ I repeated it back a couple of times, “The house with the blue trashcan??’ Yes, she said. So off we go… The kicked… Every house has a blue trashcan! Luckily there’s basically only one main road that loops through the little town and we just followed the road around and there it was. Here was where I found the love!!!

Here I met Mary Ann Pettway! She welcomed us in, showed us around and gave my son some peaches! He loved them and he won’t eat the ones I give him….  hmmmm… She was great and just let us look around and chatted with me about quilting. Of course I had tons of questions, but once we got there I was star struck and I lost it all! I couldn’t think of a single question to ask!

One thing she did mention about some of the Gee’s Bend quilters is that they don’t cut, they rip! I’ve tried to get the freedom of piece sizes in a couple of my mini quilts, but once I start cutting I get straight lines, uniform pieces. But it makes sense, if you rip, you end up with pieces that aren’t necessarily the same size. ahhhh… Something I can’t wait to try!

I had a great time looking through the stacks and stacks of quilts for sale! I’ve always loved the corduroy ones and this is a sweet corduroy tied quilt by Mensie Pettway. I have to admit, this was on one of the first ones I looked at and remembered to get the artist name. The rest I got so excited I forgot to write down the names… If anyone reads this and knows the artists names, please let me know!!

My husband and I both agreed on our favorite quilt!! This one with the bright red and yellow corduroy by Mary Ann Pettway. As we were talking about it she just smiled and then I realized it was hers!! It was a bit out of our price range or we would have taken it home. Mary Ann let us know that they do do lay away, but unfortunately that was not helping me at this point!! 🙂

My other favorite, that was in our price range was another one by Mary Ann. This nice little green and white piece!

Here I am with my new quilt and the amazing quilter artist!

I’m not exactly sure what it is about this house one by Janice Pettway that I love, but I do! I got that one too…

Then of course, my son wanted one, so I let him pick from the least expensive pile. He picked his and then wanted me to pick another one. I told him that I already had my favorites, but he kept insisting that I needed another one. My next tactic was to blame it on Dad, so I told him that Dad said I could only have two. My son’s eyes got big and he said, ‘I’ll go talk to him. I’ll be right back!.’ So off he ran into the other room to work on Dad. Mary Ann and I just laughed and laughed together about this! As much as he tried, he didn’t get me another quilt!

But he did pick out a perfect sized pot holder for his kitchen, which even as he was playing with it the other day he kept referring to as his ‘quilt’!

When we came to visit AL a good family friend gave the book The Quilts of Gee’s Bend: Masterpieces from a Lost Place. As we were leaving I remembered it was in the car, grabbed it and ran back inside and had Mary Ann sign it for me. She signed inside, and then she also signed next to her mother’s quilt that is pictured in the book!

In response to my comments about wanting my quilting to be as free and dramatic as the Gee’s Bend quilts, Mary Ann’s parting words to me were, ‘Keep trying! Keep quilting!’

And that’s what I’ll do!

And check out this video from the loyal I’m Feelin’ Crafty reader Sarah, featuring my pal Mary Ann Pettway!!

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