Stitching Love and Loss: A Gee's Bend Quilt
By Lisa Gail Collins
In 1942 Missouri Pettway, newly suffering the loss of her husband, pieced together a quilt out of his old, worn work clothes. Nearly six decades later her daughter Arlonzia Pettway, approaching eighty at the time and a seasoned quiltmaker herself, readily recalled the cover made by her grieving mother within the small African American farming community of Gee's Bend, Alabama. At once a story of grief, a quilt, and a community, Stitching Love and Loss connects Missouri Pettway's cotton covering to the history of a place, its residents, and the work of mourning.
Interpreting varied sources of history and memory, Lisa Gail Collins engages crucial and enduring questions, simultaneously singular and shared: What are the languages, practices, and processes of mourning? How is loss expressed and remembered? What are the roles for creativity in grief? And how might a closely crafted material object, in its conception, construction, use, and memory, serve the work of grieving a loved one? Placing this singular quilt within its historical and cultural context, Collins illuminates the perseverance and creativity of the African American women quilters in this rural Black Belt community.
14.48 x 3.56 x 21.34 cm
University of Washington Press 2023