Quilters to be recognized in D.C.

Published 10:12 pm Saturday, September 19, 2015

Three quilters from Gee’s Bend in Boykin will be recognized in Washington D.C. in October.

Mary Bendolph, Lucy Mingo and Loretta Pettway will receive National Heritage Fellows honors, which is the highest honor in folk and traditional arts, from the National endowment for the Arts.

The trio of quilters will be honored at a ceremony on Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m. by NEA Chairman Jane Chu and members of Congress at the Library of Congress’s Thomas Jefferson Building. They will also be interviewed on stage and demonstrate their craft of quilting on Oct. 2 during the 2015 NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert. The concert will be streamed live online at www.arts.gov.

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The community of Boykin is known to many as Gee’s Bend because of its location along the Alabama River. It is home to some of the most highly regarded quiltmakers in Anerica,

Bendolph, Mingo and Pettway are three chief quilters from the oldest generation of quiltmakers.

The trio’s work was described by the New York Times as “some of the most miraculous works of modern art America has produced.” Their quilts are known for their improvisational technique and inventive quality and are often compared to 20th century abstract paintings.

Bemdolph learned how to quilt from her mother. Her quilting style mixes geometric shapes with abstract designs.

Pettway made her first quilt at 11-years-old with help from her family. She is known for a bricklayer pattern. One of her quilts, along with one of Bendolp’s was chosen for the U.S. Postal Stamp Collection in 2006. Pettwy was recently featured at the Selma Art Guild as the artist of the month in February. Some of her quilts were on display from February through the early part of March.

Mingo has served as a quiltmaking instructor and has mentored students across the country.

For more information on the Gee’s Bend quilters and the ceremony, visit www.art.gov