Origins, Traditions, & more
Traditions: Alabama Quilting Guilds
Alabama quilting tradition continues today. Below are just three out of the more than 50 guilds and groups throughout Alabama.
Gee’s Bend is a small rural community located in a curve in the Alabama River in the northern part of Wilcox County, AL. The women in the community created quilts as a means of supporting their families. These quilts were made using whatever materials were available. This group of ladies developed a distinctive, bold, and sophisticated quilting style based on traditional American (and African American) quilts, but with a geometric simplicity reminiscent of Amish quilts and modern art. The women of Gee’s Bend have passed their skills down through at least six generations and the tradition continues. To learn more about Gee's Bend, click here for more information.
The West Alabama Quilters Guild was established in 1991 to promote the appreciation of quilts, share knowledge about quilts and quilting, and perform community service projects. They have over 100 members, including both women and men. To learn more, visit their website here.
The Birmingham Quilters Guild started as a small group formed in 1978. They have grown to a large gathering of varied skills and talents - some members are beginners and others have years of experience. All have a willingness to share their talents with others. To learn more, click here to visit their website.
Music through Culture
This curated playlist is reflective of the larger cultural environment that produced Alabama's quilts. The Spotify compilation assembled by Kevin Nutt includes a wide variety of musical styles indicative of the quilts' origins in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Alabama artists and groups included on the extensive playlist include Hank Williams, Cow Cow Davenport, Bobby Horton, The Louvin Brothers, the Alabama Sacred Harp Singers, Moses Williams, Vera Hall, Earthy Ann Coleman, Dock Reed, and many others.
For the past two hundred years, quilters from across the state have contributed to a growing collection of Alabama quilts. This interactive map highlights the origins of the 28 quilts on display in the Sewn Together exhibition. It also serves as an illustrated reminder of the broad geographic representation of the collections of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
Click on the map to explore!
Do you want to make sure your quilts are preserved for future generations? In these special behind-the-scenes videos, Ryan Blocker, Curator at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, explains how to properly care for and store your quilts.