September Monthly Challenge

“Housetop”–twelve-block “Half-Logcabin” variation, ca. 1965
Cotton, Wool Corduroy, 77″x 65″
Lillie Mae Pettway, 1927-1990
Gee Bend’s Quilter
About the Art
Rectilinear pattern with bold colors.

“A new exhibit brought to light the brilliant, bold and dynamic quilts created by a group of women who live in the isolated, African-American hamlet of Gee’s Bend, Ala. Like many American quilters, the women transformed a necessity into a work of art — but their innovative and often minimalist approach to design is unique.

“The compositions of these quilts contrast dramatically with the ordered regularity associated with many styles of Euro-American quiltmaking. There’s a brilliant, improvisational range of approaches to composition that is more often associated with the inventiveness and power of the leading 20th-century abstract painters than it is with textile-making,” says Alvia Wardlaw, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts.

The 60 quilts in the exhibition, created by 42 women spanning four generations, provide a fascinating look at the work of 20th-century artists who lived and worked in solitude. Gee’s Bend is located in southwest Alabama on a sliver of land five miles long and eight miles wide, a virtual island surrounded by a bend in the Alabama River. Without a ferry service for decades, the residents were confined by the river unless they made the hour-long drive to the county seat of Camden, directly across the river from Gee’s Bend.

Gee’s Bend was named after Joseph Gee, the first white man to stake a claim there in the early 1800s. The Gee family sold the plantation to Mark Pettway in 1845. Most of the approximately 750 people who live in Gee’s Bend today are descendants of slaves on the former Pettway plantation. Their forebears continued to work the land as tenant farmers after emancipation, and many eventually bought the farms from the government in the 1940s. Isolated geographically, the women in the community created quilts from whatever materials were available, in patterns of their own imaginative design.

The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The quilts in the exhibition are drawn from the collection of Tinwood Alliance, a nonprofit foundation for the support of African-American vernacular art. The Quilts of Gee’s Bend were on display through March 9, 2003, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, after premiering in the fall of 2002 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.”-by Neal Conan, npr.org

About the Artist
Lillie Mae Petway was one of seventeen children. Her mother Aolor Mosely was one of the founding members and behind the scenes organizers of the Freedom Quilting Bee.
Lillie Mae and her sister Mary Lee Bendolph shared their mothers enthusiasm for rectangular patterns with bold colors. 
Color Palette
Blog Tour
The Blog Tour deadline is September 28th.
Links must be added to the monthly challenge post comments (this post).
The Blog Tour will be on the 30th.

Monthly Challenge Winners

Winners will be randomly chosen from all the qualifying entries on September 1st.
Our Sponsors
Our sponsors this month are: JanglesMy Elements and Lori Anderson Design.
Please visit us Monday to see the prizes!
Featured Designer of the Week:
From all the entries during the month, an editor is going to pick their favorite design to be featured every Monday here on the ABS. We want to give our participants more time in the spotlight! Our Featured Designer will be this Monday, so get those entries in soon.
How to enter the Monthly Challenge:
1. Create something using an art bead that fits within our monthly theme. We post the art to be used as your inspiration to create. This challenge is open to jewelry-makers, fiber artists, collage artist, etc. The art bead can be created by you or someone else. The challenge is to inspire those who use art beads and to see all the different ways art beads can be incorporated into your handiwork.
***Beads strung on a chain, by themselves and beads simply wire or cord will not be accepted.***
2. Upload your photo to our flickr group. Detailed instructions can be found here and click here for a tutorial for sending your picture to the group.

Please add the tag or title SEP ABS to your photos. Include a short description, who created the art beads and a link to your blog, if you have one.

Deadline is September 30th. Photos are approved by our moderators, if a photo hasn’t followed the guidelines it will not be approved. You may upload 2 photos a day.
What is an Art Bead?
An art bead is a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist. Art beads are the vision and handiwork of an individual artist. You can read more about art beads here.
***A bead that is handmade is not necessarily an art bead. Hill Tribe Silver, Kazuri ceramic beads or lampwork beads made in factories are examples of handmade beads that are not considered art beads.
Beaded beads, stamped metal pendants or wire-wrapped components are not considered art beads for our challenge.***
p.s. If you have a blog, post your entry and a link to the ABS challenge to spread the beady goodness.

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10 Comment

  1. Alice
    September 2, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I've been hoping you would feature one of their quilts!!! Their story is so rich with history that one can not help but be moved by it.

    Now the wheels are turning…..

  2. Birgitta Lejonklou
    September 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    thats is a great challenge ! unusual and colorful…."muse" starts spinning at once 🙂

  3. diane hawkey
    September 2, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    oooooh I love the quilts of Gee's Bend!
    This will be a great challenge.

  4. Jen V.
    September 3, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Fantastic palette!! I love it!!

  5. mairedodd
    September 3, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    i have one deadline that has to be completed by monday – and then i am all over this – absolutely beautiful inspiration…

  6. Malin de Koning
    September 5, 2011 at 8:17 am

    My goodness! Did you pick this one especially for ME?! Couldn't be more fitting/suiting. The colors, the patterns, the forms, all of it. I feel I could just take any of my already made jewelry and say I made it for this challenge. I wount however. Of course not! I hope I will be able to put something together especially for this months challenge. It is a busy month for me in many ways.

    It's an extraordinary beautiful quilt. Ooooohhhhhh!


  7. Diva Designs Jewelry
    September 24, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I just uploaded my entry to the pool at flickr, and blogged the challenge at


    Thanks ladies! Interesting choice this month.


  8. Molly Alexander
    September 24, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    This is one of my most favorite monthly challenges to date! It took a while, but I have finally finished my necklace, which you can read about here: http://beautifullybrokenme.blogspot.com/2011/09/grandmas-quilt-september-art-bead-scene.html

    Thanks so much for hosting!

    🙂 Molly

  9. Mackin-Art
    September 26, 2011 at 12:36 am

    I've posted my submission, full details at: http://mackin-art.blogspot.com/2011/09/around-bend.html

  10. Cece
    September 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks again for the inspiration. Took up the challenge, see the post here: http://www.thebeadingyogini.com/2011/09/24/september-abs-challenge/

Comments are closed.