The 5th and 6th grade students just recently completed a collage artwork inspired by Gee’s Bend quilts.
Gee’s Bend is a rural community in Alabama that is home to a fantastic quilting collective that is still alive and thriving today. The quilting tradition in this community has been alive and strong for over 100 years, with techniques being passed on from generation to generation.
The Gee’s Bend quilt designs are sometimes traditional quilt designs and other times feature motifs that seem more like an abstract painting. The fabric in these quilts sometimes features recycled fabric such as denim or old shirts. If you’d like to see examples and read more, check out this Smithsonian article or the fantastic Auburn catalog of Gee’s Bend quilts.
Students explored the themes and motifs of the Gee’s Bend quilts before working on some sketches for their own abstract but intentional design. Students did not have to create a quilt design, but rather were working with color, shape, line, and repetition in a way that appealed to them.
Rather than fabric and sewing, students used a variety of papers for their collages. Students used cut up watercolor paintings, magazine images, wallpaper books, construction paper, and some of their own drawings. The most fantastic part of this finished project was the variety amongst the students. Below is a sampling of the 5th and 6th grade projects.