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Star Quilt

ca. 1970
Origin: America, Alabama, Gee's Bend
80 x 79 1/2"
Cotton, synthetic knit
Museum Purchase, Dr. and Mrs. T. Marshall Hahn, Jr. Fund
Acc. No. 2008.609.8
Square quilt with a center pieced star in black (faded to grey) and white, including a white-ground floral print, set against a white ground of synthetic knitted fabric. Two areas of patching consist of printed blue and brown textiles. Backed with yellow, orange, brown, and white daisy print, brought to front around edges and hemmed. Shadow of older print can be seen under the white areas of the ground. Condition is poor, faded, and stained, with stitching coming out and areas of fraying.
Label:Indiana Bendolph Pettway selected a standard Lone Star pattern for this quilt but adapted the traditional design in dramatic black and white, with small additions of geometric-patterned printed cotton shading from grey to blue. Beneath the white areas of relatively thin double knit can be seen older printed cotton used as a filling. The quilt is backed with a daisy print in yellow, orange, brown, and white that was brought to the front to form the narrow edge finish.

Indiana Pettway grew up in poverty in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, an isolated community consisting mostly of rural African Americans descended from enslaved families. Her sister Nettie Jane later recorded in an interview how she and Indiana had learned to quilt: “Mama started me out making quilts. I done it with my sister three years older than me. Her name was Indiana, same as Mama. Mama and Indiana and me was the ones making quilts. Papa used to buy what they call quilt rolls for Mama to make quilts out of. It was scrap cloth. All sort of mixed-up stuff. We used old clothes sometime, if they wore out but was still fittin’ to put in a quilt."
Provenance:Jim Hager.
Purchased from Shelly Zegart, 2008.