This marks a special collaboration between a community led brand changing behaviours in the fashion industry, a globally revered and pioneering art institution and a beloved and celebrated community of innovative quilters, creating modern works of art from a traditional need and technique.
From the early twentieth century to the present day, the women of Gee’s Bend – a small, remote, Black community in Alabama, USA – have been creating hand-stitched, geometric quilt works, now internationally recognised as modern masterpieces. Through partnership with Nest, a non-profit organisation supporting responsible and creative engagement with artisans from across the globe, Marfa Stance and the Royal Academy of Arts have brought together a total of 18 quilters to work on the project which celebrates and monetizes the quilters craft on a global stage.
This partnership coincides with the Royal Academy’s new exhibition Souls Grown Deep like the Rivers: Black Artists from the American South (17 March – 18 June 2023), which includes artworks by the quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend. The series of one-of-a-kind reversible quilts, framed mini quilts and wearable art pieces will be sold to generate revenue for the Gee’s Bend community and provide a blue-print for future income streams.
Using luxury, designer-provided fabrics for their designs – colourful cashmeres, wools and fly-weight nylons, all leftover from Marfa Stance production, the distinctive Gee’s Bend geometric designs were applied with traditional quilt piecing and sewing techniques, overlaid with Marfa Stance’s signature ‘onion’ topstitch. Each work bears the quilter’s moniker.
Featuring works by: Teresa Fuller, Cassandra Hall, Priscilla Hudson, Debbie Major, Lue Ida McCloud, Doris Pettway Mosely, Cassandra Pettway, Caster Pettway, Emma Pettway, Kristin Pettway, Lakarian Pettway, Mary Margaret Pettway, Mensie L. Pettway, Rachel Pettway, Stella Mae Pettway, Veronica Saulsberry, Pleasent Scott, Monica Waller and Sharon Williams
The full collaboration and new collection of artworks can be viewed online, as well as in person at the Royal Academy. The seven reversible quilts will be on view in The Academicians’ Room in The Keeper’s House, Burlington House, and the five framed quilts and three wearable art pieces will be in the Burlington Gardens Shop.
From Friday 17th March – 14th August 2023
Royal Academy of Arts
The Academicians’ Room
The Keeper’s House