Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Patriotic Stars, 1993
Mary Maxtion (American, born 1924)
Boligee, Greene County
Cotton and cotton/polyester blend
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase
Mary Maxtion of Boligee, Greene County, Alabama calls her quilt Patriotic Stars, referencing its red, white, and blue color palette. While at first glance it appears that the repeated star pattern is symmetrical, on closer inspection she has inserted devices such as the extra bars at the bottom of the first row to even out its length. She also breaks up the symmetry by incorporating two blocks in which there is a red star on a blue background. Such practices are common among African-American quilt makers who tend to infuse a greater sense of optical excitement into their designs by interrupting symmetry and the use of saturated colors.
On initial viewing, this appears to be a precision-pieced block quilt. Closer inspection reveals just a few mistakes, or “somethin’ of [the maker’s] own,” such as the strips along the bottom edge of the quilt that equalize the length of the vertical rows. Also, there are two odd blocks featuring a red star on a navy background; their inclusion interrupts the symmetry of the diagonal rows of like-colored blocks.
Back to quilt pair.