Quilting has been used for generations to make snug bedding and heavy rugs to keep homes warm. Patchworking as a quilting technique was born out of necessity, lack of money and the need for bedding meant that old and unused pieces of material were used to create a useful item. This developed into a genuine quilting technique with the quilting patterns becoming more complicated and technical. Women began cutting up material in order to make the progressively popular patterns and to create a colour theme. Patchwork projects became accepted across the world and each quilting community created their own design from the popular Amish quilts through to the beautiful colour mixtures of the simple quilts from Gees Bend.
Items like the Gees Bend quilts have become very collectable because of the amount of time and expertise that went into making them. These quilts represent both extreme poverty and community, theirs is truly an art form created out of need. The intense destitution that surrounded this cut off community meant that they papered their walls with old paper a fact that was well documented in a series of images by Arthur Rothstein.
Scraps for Patchwork
Patchwork is a type of quilt that was made from requirement particularly within the poorer communities where large pieces of material were used for creating clothing and the scraps that were left over were used for making items for the home. Even though the items made with the scraps were not made to be seen by the general public they were made in complex patterns to conceal the fact that they were made from various kinds of small pieces of material. The quilts that have a huge amount of different materials in them are known as crazy quilts but even they have a certain level of colour co ordination and were taken up by the upper classes when they became fashionable in the 1880’s with some women purchasing already prepared materials as lots of them do today!
It is fairly clear why so many communities needed to…