Deep in the south is a small, rural community, surrounded by the Alabama River and steeped in history. The 700 or so residents of Gee’s Bend—now named Boykin—are mostly descendants of slaves; for generations, they worked the fields belonging to the local Pettway plantation. Since the early 1920s, the women have quilted hundreds of patchwork masterpieces, passing their expertise and patterns down through the years. Known worldwide as The Gee’s Bend Quilters, their renowned works have been featured in over 20 museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Philadelphia Museum of Art. And for the first time, these expressive tapestries are available for purchase online.
The Gee’s Bend Quilters and their quilts embody storytelling, resilience, and beauty. At Etsy, we’re big believers in connecting through creativity and in the undeniable magic of owning a piece of history. In partnership with Nest (a nonprofit focused on equity in the Makers Movement) and Souls Grown Deep (a foundation focused on elevating Black artists), we are proud to support these incredible artisans, showcasing their one-of-a-kind colorful creations.
The following story features the quiltmakers in their own words. Read on to meet a few of these talented makers—debuting their shops today in honor of Black History Month!—and discover their beautiful wares.