Gee's Bend, Alabama, early 20th century. A Gee's Bend attributed "Pine Burr" quilt, all handmade of printed and solid cotton fabrics. The "Pine Burr" or "Pine Cone" pattern is the official state quilt of Alabama. Four divided large concentric circles, this is purported to be the rarest variation. Constructed from multiple folded triangles, applied in an upright position, creating texture and depth; 82 x 69 in.
Gee’s Bend is a small rural community along the Alabama River southwest of Selma, Alabama. Almost exclusively the lands of Joseph Gee and his relative Mark Pettway, who bought the Gee estate in 1850. It was the site of cotton plantations founded pre-Civil War era. After the Civil War, the freed slaves took the name Pettway. They became tenant farmers for the Pettway family, and founded an all-black community living nearly isolated from the world. The federal government purchased land and homes from the community during the Great Depression, bringing distinction as an "Alabama Africa" to this quiet town. The women of the area developed a characteristic quilting style based on traditional American and African American quilts, together with a geometric simplicity suggestive of Amish quilts and modern art. The Gee’s Bend quilters passed their skills and aesthetic down through six generations to the present.