Master Quilters

With the colder weather I’ve been enjoying more studio time and practicing my quick capture people drawing skills. When I watched a video about The Master Quilters of Gee’s Bend, Alabama I couldn’t wait to try sketching the faces of these women, who embody for me a serene wisdom and powerful heritage that I think most of us in this frenetic modern life have missed.


I hope you can slow down enough to watch the 14 minute video, and breathe deep and then you’ll know what I mean. But I lead a distractible life, and so I got this far and was called away. When I got back I was glad I had stopped! The imagination is always grateful to be left to fill in the rest.


I really wished I could set a spell on the porch with these ladies, happy to swat flies and keep stitchin.


If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll watch the video and get to see them talking and making their lovely quilts, a tradition passed down from mother to daughter.



  1. Thanks so much for this! I saw an exhibition of quilts from Gee’s Bend when I was in Washington during a trip to America in 2004, and I’ve never forgotten it – it made a deep impression. As a trained embroiderer myself I grasped the complexity and skill behind these creations and was astonished by the power of their design. They are simply stunning peces of art. But it was lovely to see this video and to hear the voices and see the faces of the women themselves. A terrific piece of film.


  2. Susan, these are fantastic faces: you have captured the individual women so well. I love the variety of colors in the skin and I am always amazed at your “daring” with leaving stark white paper next to skin tones. It is very dramatic use of white and contrast. Great subjects and inspiring video too.


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