By Camie Roper
The expert quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama are remarkable. Their sense of dignity is palpable and their unusual quilts are not what many expect. They are quite self-sufficient, raise their own food and enjoy a tight-knit community. Their quilts reflect their spirituality, resourcefulness, pride and grace. Maris Curran’s brief online video about them, “While I Yet Live,” is intense and moving.
The quilts of Gee’s Bend are perfect. Why? Maybe there’s a different definition of “perfect” than this definition from Oxford Languages that we haven’t considered:
- “Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics as good as it is possible to be” and
- “Highly suitable for someone or something; exactly right.”
There is no mention of being flawless, or without defect, fault, speck, spot or stain. This is why every GAAQG member needs to enter a quilt in the 2022 GAAQG Quilt Show!
Your entries show you who you are right now. It’s like a personal time capsule for the future: it takes a snapshot to remind you who you were “back then.” And to see your quilt hanging among others in a quilt show is exciting, empowering, and encouraging, and clearly names you as part of our unique community of quilters.
Here are three of my quilts, not perfect in the traditional sense, but “exactly right” for me.
A perfect quilt is one that you create, at the exact moment in time that you make it, using the sense of color and design and set of skills and resources that you have at that precise moment. It need not be flawless. It is an expression of YOU – your experiences, your thoughts, your hopes and desires, your sense of color and design, and your place in the world. There is literally no one else in the universe who has this same set of resources and perspective.
Next time, we’ll look at some ideas for quilt backs.