Stitching Love and Loss
A Gee's Bend Quilt
- PUBLISHED: September 2023
- SUBJECT LISTING: African American Studies, Art History / African American Art, Art / Textiles, Visual Studies
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 200 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5 in, 24 b&w illus., 1 map
- ISBN: 9780295751603
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
In 1942 Missouri Pettway, newly suffering the loss of her husband, pieced together a quilt out of his old, worn work clothes. Nearly six decades later her daughter Arlonzia Pettway, approaching eighty at the time and a seasoned quiltmaker herself, readily recalled the cover made by her grieving mother within the small African American farming community of Gee's Bend, Alabama.
At once a story of grief, a quilt, and a community, Stitching Love and Loss connects Missouri Pettway's cotton covering to the history of a place, its residents, and the work of mourning. Interpreting varied sources of history and memory, Lisa Gail Collins engages crucial and enduring questions, simultaneously singular and shared: What are the languages, practices, and processes of mourning? How is loss expressed and remembered? What are the roles for creativity in grief? And how might a closely crafted material object, in its conception, construction, use, and memory, serve the work of grieving a loved one? Placing this singular quilt within its historical and cultural context, Collins illuminates the perseverance and creativity of the African American women quilters in this rural Black Belt community.
Authors & Contributors
Lisa Gail Collins is Professor of Art and Director of American Studies on the Sarah Gibson Blanding Chair at Vassar College. Her books include The Art of History: African American Women Artists Engage the Past and New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement (coedited with Margo Natalie Crawford).
In Stitching Love and Loss, the gifted art historian Lisa Gail Collins wraps an achingly beautiful story of artistry, family, community, and place around the form and function of one stunning Gee’s Bend 'utility quilt.'- Tiya Miles, author of All That She Carried: The Journeyof Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake
A brilliant, moving, meticulously researched, beautifully written book that captures the long history of African American quilt making. The book is a praisesong for the artistry, resilience, and resistance of Black women in Alabama's rural Black Belt.- Beverly Guy-Sheftall, founding director of Spelman College's Women's Research and Resource Center and Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies
Well crafted, richly developed, and deeply engaging. It will be of interest to a range of readers, including quilters, researchers of quilting practices, historians, artists and art historians, folklorists, southern studies scholars, and Black/Africana studies scholars.- Riché Richardson, author of Emancipation's Daughters: Reimagining Black Femininity and the National Body