Traditional Gee's Bend Quilting

Boykin, Alabama

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Doris Pettway Hacketts

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Doris Pettway Hacketts


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About KandKQuiltedTreasure

Sales 63
On Etsy since 2021

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Hi, my name is Doris Pettway Hacketts. I was born in Gee’s Bend and now live in Jackson, Alabama, with my husband Mims Hacketts. My mother and father were Marie Pettway and John Perkins Pettway. They had thirteen children, and I was the middle child, the seventh. So half of the children I was raised with, and the other half had grown up and left home. It was good. Growing up, I worked in the cotton fields and helped around the house. Matter-of-fact, I left the cotton fields to go to college. I’ve always been determined; I was a good student, and friendly too!

I started quilting by watching my mom–she made quilts out of necessity, to keep warm in the winter. I came back home after college and got a job at the local elementary school. which afforded me a lot of time to spend with my mom making quilts. I was always interested in putting the colors together. When you’re working on a quilt, and you complete it, it means success. You get such joy out of it because you used your hands to make it work. Quilting is like therapy for me. It allows me to escape and create something, and that is fulfilling.

Colors inspire me. Dark colors. Light colors. I think of it in this sense—this is the way life is. Sometimes your life is going to be colorful, and sometimes it’s going to be dark. It’s never the same. So when you’re piecing a quilt together, you are putting something together that exemplifies your life. I find beauty in a quilt when it is complete and I can look at it and say, “job well done.” Or I take it apart. Sometimes you got to take it apart and redo it because it doesn’t fit. Again, it is like life—sometimes it doesn't fit, sometimes it doesn't work. But you don’t throw it away–you redo it. You take it apart and put it back together.

When people look at my quilts, I want them to see my personality. I want my quilts to show my personality, and how colors and patterns can be used to represent life’s many changes.

History of Gee’s Bend:
The women of Gee’s Bend—a small, rural, community in Alabama's Black Belt—have created hundreds of quilt masterpieces dating from the early twentieth century to the present. Resembling an inland island, Gee’s Bend is surrounded on three sides by the Alabama River. The some seven hundred or so inhabitants of this small, rural community are mostly descendants of enslaved Africans who, for generations, worked the fields belonging to the local Pettway plantation. Quiltmakers there have produced countless patchwork masterpieces, with the oldest existing examples dating from the 1920s. Enlivened by a visual imagination that extends the expressive boundaries of the quilt genre, these astounding creations constitute a crucial chapter in the history of American art.

Gee’s Bend quilts carry forward a proud tradition of textiles made for home and family. They represent only a part of the rich body of African American quilts, but they are in a league by themselves. Few other places can boast the extent of Gee’s Bend’s artistic achievement -- the result of both geographical isolation and an unusual degree of cultural continuity. In few places across the country have works been found by three - and sometimes four - generations of women in the same family, nor have many works been discovered that bear witness to visual conversations among community quilting groups and lineages. Gee’s Bend’s heirloom pieces stand out for their flair—quilts composed boldly and improvisationally, in geometries that transform recycled work clothes and dresses, feed sacks, and fabric remnants.

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  • Doris Pettway Hacketts


    Hi, my name is Doris Pettway Hacketts. I want my quilts to show my personality!

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Last updated on Aug 12, 2021
Frequently asked questions
How do I freshen up my quilt?

Some of my quilts are older and were stored. You can freshen up your quilt before using it in your home by sitting it outside in the sun and a fresh breeze. One of the easiest ways to do this is to put it on a clothesline on a sunny day in the fresh air for at least an hour.

Can I wash my quilt?

Your handmade Gee’s Bend item requires special care to preserve it for generations to come. As some pieces may be older heirloom items, I recommend testing for colorfastness before washing. To do this, take a damp, white cloth and rub it against your quilt's colored fabrics. If there is any color transfer to the white cloth, washing the quilt may result in discoloration and fading.

If you complete the colorfastness test and there is no color transfer, wash on a gentle cycle using a mild, gentle detergent in cold water; or hand wash by submerging your quilt alone in soapy water, gently rinse, then repeat. No chlorine bleach. Tumble dry, dry on a drying rack, or hang it outside to air dry. Finish with warm iron, if desired.

I noticed a small stain on my quilt. What should I do?

Some older quilts may have spots or discoloration due to their age. Because of its delicate nature, cautiously spot clean your quilt only as needed, as it can remove color that comprises the original style and tone of the quilt that you may not be able to get back. If there are spots that you would like to remove, use a very small amount of a mild detergent and gently rub the area with a white soft cloth. Use extreme care when doing this. If you don't feel comfortable washing or spot cleaning your quilt, consider locating a qualified conservation or restoration service.

Where can I find other Gee's Bend Quilters on Etsy?

You can find links to all the verified Gee's Bend Maker's shops below. Please consider supporting one, or all of us! Thank you in advance!