Gee’s Bend: From Quilts to Prints

September 5, 2014 - January 10, 2015

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Opening Reception: Friday, September 5, 2014, 5:30 PM-7:30 PM

Gee’s Bend: From Quilts to Prints examines the work of four, well-known Gee’s Bend, Alabama, quiltmakers: Mary Lee Bendolph (b. 1935), Loretta Pettway (b. 1942), Louisiana P. Bendolph (b. 1960) and Loretta Bennett (b. 1960) and their recent exploration of the art of printmaking.

 Since their first appearance at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 2002, the quilts of Gee’s Bend have been the subject of national critical acclaim and popularity, not least demonstrated by their appearance on a set of American Treasures postage stamps. Made by multiple generations of women from the isolated, rural community of Gee’s Bend (now Boykin), Alabama, these quilts have been compared to the likes of high modernist paintings as well as improvisational jazz. With their innovative compositions of bold patterns, colors and textures, these masterful quilts continue to occupy the imagination of the American public.

The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design partners with Warren Wilson College to bring a selection of these national treasures to a Western North Carolina audience for the first time through a dual-venue exhibition, Gee’s Bend: From Quilts to Prints.

The exhibition includes over 40 objects, ranging from well-known 1960s work-clothes quilts made out of denim and corduroy to more recently made “New Generation” quilts, which feature improvisations on traditional Gee’s Bend patterns. Additionally, a new set of prints produced in 2013-14 will make their national debut this September. Highlighting the printmaking process remains a focus of the exhibition, which also includes never before shown tools, plates, working proofs, and fabric maquettes. Visitors will learn about the rich history of the Gee’s Bend community, be able to trace the artists’ process of translating their ideas from fabric into print, and be inspired by the stunning work of four significant American artists.

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On View

September 5, 2014 – January 10, 2015
Benchspace Gallery & Workshop
The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design 
67 Broadway Street, Asheville, NC 28801
Gallery Hours: Tue – Sat, 10-6
Opening reception: Friday, September 5, 2014, 5:30-7:30 pm
Free & Open to the Public
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September 5 – December 20, 2014
The Elizabeth Holden Gallery 
Warren Wilson College
701 Warren Wilson Rd, Swannanoa, NC, 28778 
Gallery Hours: Mon-Fri, 10-4, Sat 1-5
Opening Reception: Friday, September 19, 2014, 5:30-7:30 pm
Free & Open to the Public

 

Images of Gee’s Bend prints courtesy of Paulson Bott Press

This exhibition and catalogue would not have been possible without the generous support from the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

This project was supported by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. 

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Exhibition catalogues now available for purchase online. Includes essays by Julie Levin Caro, Marilyn Zapf, Matt Arnett, Pam Paulson and artist profiles by Warren Wilson College students.

Order Online

Click here for recording of interviews with Louisiana P. Bendolph, Loretta Bennett, and Pam Paulson on WUNC’s “The State of Things” with Frank Stasio, September 26, 2014.

 

Exhibition Programs

 (Click here for printable program guide)

Gee’s Bend Quilts: The Art of Necessity and the Necessity of Art

Textile Study Group, Anne Berg on the Gee’s Bend Quilts
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 5:30 pm
Cost: Free and open to the public. No registration required.
Location: The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design

 

From Quilts to Prints: A Roundtable Discussion

Exhibition curators Julie Levin Caro and Marilyn Zapf discuss the Gee’s Bend print project with artists Louisiana Bendolph and Loretta Bennett and collaborators Matt Arnett and Pam Paulson.
Thursday, September 25, 2014  | 6 – 8 pm
Cost: Free and open to the public. 
Reservations requested through Eventbrite, as seating is limited: http://from-quilts-to-prints-roundtable.eventbrite.com
Location: The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design

Recording now available: 

 

Exhibiting Blackness and the Gee’s Bend Effect

A lecture by Dr. Bridget Cooks. In collaboration with with YWCA of Asheville’s Stand Against Racism.

Thursday, October 30, 2014  | 6 pm
Cost: Free and open to the public. No registration required.
Location: The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design

Recording now available:

 

Gee’s Bend in Translation: A Symposium

Scholars and artists will use the Gee’s Bend quilts and prints as a starting point from which to discuss the broader theme of translation in fine art.  Keynote speaker: Bernard Herman, George B. Tindall Professor of American Studies, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Friday and Saturday, November 14 – 15, 2014
Cost: $10 keynote speech and reception at CCCD (Friday only), $25 Symposium Admission (both days).  Free for students and Warren Wilson faculty/staff with ID. 
Registration required through Eventbrite: http://gees-bend-symposium.eventbrite.com

Friday, November 14, 2014 | 5:30 – 7:30pm
Location: The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design 

Saturday, November 15, 2014 | 9 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Warren Wilson College, Kittredge Recital Hall

 

Go Tell It in the Gallery!

Go Tell It at the Quilt Show! is a Quilt Alliance oral history project designed to capture the stories of quilts where quiltmakers gather. Members of the Asheville community are invited to share their three-minute stories about a family, heirloom, or collected quilt to a live audience.
Saturday, December 6, 2014 | 2 – 4 pm
Cost: Free and open to the public. 
Registration required for presenters only (limited to first 20)
Sign up as a presenter: http://bit.ly/1ntYH5y
Location: The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design

 

Workshops

 

Quiltmaking workshop with Loretta Bennett

Join Gee’s Bend artist, Loretta Bennett, in this mixed-level, full-day quiltmaking experience and exhibition tour at Holden Gallery.
Saturday, September 27, 2014 | 9 am – 3 pm
Cost: $80. Materials not included. 
Seating limited to 20
Registration required through Eventbrite: http://quiltmaking-workshop-with-loretta-bennett.eventbrite.com
Location: Warren Wilson College

 

Paper Piecing: Printmaking and the Quilts of Gee’s Bend Session 1

Collograph workshop at Asheville Bookworks including lunch and visit to The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design for a private tour of the exhibition featuring original prints by Gee’s Bend Quilters. 
Friday- Sunday, October 3 – 5, 2014 | 10 am – 5 pm
Cost: $347. For more information and to register, visit: http://ashevillebookworks.com/ai1ec_event/collagraph-sampler/?instance_id=324 
Location: Asheville Bookworks, 428 1/2 Haywood Road, West Asheville, NC

 

Quiltmaking workshop with Louisiana Bendolph (SOLD OUT)

Join Gee’s Bend artist, Louisiana Bendolph, in this mixed-level, full-day quiltmaking experience and exhibition tour at Benchspace.
Sunday, November 16, 2014 | 10 am – 4 pm
Cost: $80. Materials not included.
Seating limited to 20
Registration required through Eventbrite: http://quiltmaking-workshop-with-louisiana-bendolph.eventbrite.com
Location: The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design

 

Paper Piecing: Printmaking and the Quilts of Gee’s Bend Session 2

Collograph workshop at Asheville Bookworks including lunch and visit to The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design for a private tour of the exhibition featuring original prints by Gee’s Bend Quilters. 
Friday- Sunday, December 12-14, 2014 | 10 am – 5 pm
Cost: $347. Registration information coming soon.
Location: Asheville Bookworks, 428 1/2 Haywood Road, West Asheville, NC

 

Film Screenings

Gee's Bend Film Screenings

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend Documentary Film Screening at Burton Street Community Center

Thursday, November 19, 2014 | 5-6 pm
Cost: Free and open to the public. No registration required.
Location: Burton Street Community Center, 134 Burton Street, Asheville, NC 28806

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend documentary accompanies the major 2002 exhibition of Gee’s Bend quilts. Set in the quiltmaker’s homes and yard, and told through the women’s voices, this music-filled, 28-minute documentary takes viewers inside the art and fascinating living history of a uniquely American community and art form.

Film Screenings at Benchspace

Saturdays in November (11/1, 11/8, 11/15, 11/22, and 11/29), 2014 | 1 – 4 pm
Cost: Free and open to the public. No registration required.
Location: The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design

1:00 pm |  “Episode 5: Gee’s Bend: The Most Famous Quilts in America?” from Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics

“Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics” is the landmark nine-part documentary series that offers a fresh, relevant exploration of quilts. Episode 5 features appearances by Shelly Zegart, Creola B. Pettway, Arlonzia Pettway, Georgiana Pettway, James Grubola, William R. Ferris, Nettie Young, Kay Polson Grubola, Matt Arnett, Niloo Paydar, Bernie Herman, Maxwell L. Anderson, Douglas Dawson, Karen Musgrave, Essie Bendolph Pettway and Mary Lee Bendolph.

1:30 pm | The Quilts of Gee’s Bend, Produced and Directed by Vanessa Vadim and Matthew Arnett, A Tinwood Media Production

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend documentary accompanies the major exhibitions of Gee’s Bend quilts. Set in the quiltmaker’s homes and yard, and told through the women’s voices, this music-filled, 28-minute documentary takes viewers inside the art and fascinating living history of a uniquely American community and art form.

3:00 pm | Clip: “Gee’s Bend”, from Industry, Craft in America PBS documentary series, May 2, 2014

Industry explores the business of the handmade, taking us to workshops where artists are crafting the future and making contributions to the local and national economies. Industry highlights the important connection between the consumer and the maker and explores the value of exquisitely crafted handmade objects in today’s creative economy. Featuring Gee’s Bend quilters Lucy Mingo & Mary Ann Pettway.

3:30 pm | The Quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend, Alabama Public Television, 2004 

This Emmy-winning, high-definition film documents a group of internationally-acclaimed African-American quiltmakers from Gee’s Bend, Alabama. Their compositions have been hailed by Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times as “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced.” The Quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend explores the extraordinary lives, inspirations, and history of these artists, and also follows them on a touching bus journey to see their quilts exhibited at The Milwaukee Art Museum. 

Tours

Saturdays at 2 pm, September 27 – December 20th

(No tours will be offered on Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday, November 29, 2014)

Student-led docent tours are offered weekly at both locations. Please arrive at least 5 minutes before the tour begins. Booking ahead strongly suggested.

Weekday group tours (5 or more) can be booked up to two weeks in advance. Please call CCCD at 828-785-1357 to book.

  

Related Programs

 

Gee’s Bend/ LEAF Schools & Streets


Monday-Friday, October 13 – 17, 2014 

LEAF Schools & Streets is a local Asheville arts education program matching artists with youth in schools and communities for hands-on workshops, residencies, interactive performances and mentoring that includes opportunities for youth to perform with the artists at LEAF.

In this special, interactive art and music-based residency, students will work closely with four quiltmakers from Gee’s Bend, creators of some of the most famous examples of American quilts. Students will learn about the artists’ distinctive quiltmaking traditions and explore the various meanings of quilts as objects that protect us and keep us warm, hold our personal and family memories, and serve as outlets for our creative expression. Working with the Gee’s Bend women and students from the Warren Wilson College Fiber Arts crew, students will design their own quilt blocks and learn to piece them together using a combination of hand and machine sewing. They will also learn about and perform the African American musical traditions of Gee’s Bend, including spirituals, gospel, and Civil Rights era freedom songs. 

To learn more, visit: www.theleaf.com/index.php/schoolsstreets

 

Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF)


Sunday, October 19, 2014
Time TBD, For tickets and information, visit: www.theleaf.org

Gee’s Bend gospel choir performance at LEAF

 

 

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VISIT: The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design | 67 Broadway Street, Asheville, NC 28801 | map it | Phone: 828.785.1357 Fax: 828.785.1372 | email us | Gallery hours: Tue - Sat 10-6