May 31, 2020
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Meet the Gee’s Bend Quilters

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Gee’s Bend ladies quilting in 2005

Three of the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama will be in Searsport to teach quilting classes at Fiber College of Maine, Route One, Searsport from Wednesday, September 3rd through Sunday, September 7th. In addition, on September 3rd at 5:00 pm a dinner in honor of Gee’s Bend quilters China Pettway, Stella Mae Pettway, and Revil Mosley will be hosted by the First Congregational Church of Searsport, 8 Church St. The dinner will be followed at 7:00 pm by a discussion of the quilts with Center for Maine Contemporary Art Director Suzette McAvoy, and a gospel sing with Gee’s Bend quilters China Pettway, Stella Mae Pettway, and Revil Mosley. For tickets to the dinner and discussion call Fiber College of Maine at 207-446-8357 or Penobscot Marine Museum at 207-548-0334. Profits from the evening will support the Interfaith Fuel Fund and the Searsport Congregational/ Methodist Food Cupboard.

Gee’s Bend quilts are currently on exhibit in Searsport at Penobscot Marine Museum in “Do It Your Way”: Gee’s Bend Quilts & Quilters in Maine through September 7, and at Maine Fiberarts in Topsham through August 30. The PMM exhibit is sponsored by Fiber College of Maine and the Emily and William Muir Community Fund of the Maine Community Foundation.

Gee’s Bend is a tiny remote town in rural Alabama. For decades the women of Gee’s Bend made quilts to keep their families warm, creating their own designs in isolation. In 1998 art collector Will Arnett recognized these quilts as important works of art and organized The Quilts of Gee’s Bend, an exhibition which began at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and travelled to nine major museums across the country including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Whitney Museum in New York City. The quilts and the quilt makers of Gee’s Bend garnered national media attention, and articles appeared in Newsweek, O, Smithsonian Magazine and Martha Stewart Living. In 2006 the United States Post Office issued Gee’s Bend quilt commemorative stamps. Two major books have been published about these quilts, Gee’s Bend: The Women and Their Quilts (Tinwood Books, 2002), and Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt (Tinwood Books, 2006).

Fiber College of Maine, on Route One in Searsport, is the largest fiber arts education gathering on the East Coast. They offer classes and demonstrations on everything fiber from knitting and spinning to quilting and woodworking. Maine Fiberarts, 13 Main St., Topsham, Maine has fiber exhibitions, studio tours, and networking events. Penobscot Marine Museum, Route One, Searsport is a historic village on three acres with ten buildings of exhibits on 19th century life and maritime history.

For more information call Penobscot Marine Museum 207-548-0334, Fiber College of Maine 207-548-6059, or Maine Fiberarts 207-721-0678.