Betsey Telford-Goodwin's Rocky Mountain Quilts 130 York Street York Village, Maine 03909 207-363-6800

About African American/Gee's Bend Style Vintage American Quilts

The first exhibit of African American quilts was held at Yale University in January of 1980. For the first time, people from all over the country could see the wonderful diversity, symbolism, and artistic ability of African American quilters. Our collection of African American quilts spans the time between 1860 and 1960. Many have names of the quilters or of their families, others have only the quilt?s location. Recently, the wonderful quilts from Gee's Bend, Alabama have been featured museum exhibits and highlighted in many magazines and television programs. These quilts are exciting examples of African American quilting, but not a separate entity. If you are interested in Gee's Bend quilts, we have many African American pieces from which to choose, many of which are similar to exhibited Gee's Bend pieces. Let us help you find the perfect quilt in this style!

In general, there are traits that distinguish African American quilting from any other North American quilting style. The use of symbols, bright colors, vertical piecing, enlarged, very graphic designs, and asymmetry hark back to African cultures and textile style. The symbols incorporated into the quilts can be traced back to religious symbols originating in Africa and adapted through generations of (religious shift forced into making) living in America. Many symbols worked into a quilt so long ago are simply unknown to us, and must remain a mystery until new information is discovered.

African American quilting also evokes emotional and visual responses similar to listening to jazz music. In the same way jazz emulates a pulsating heartbeat, African American quilts cause the eye to continuously shift from one area to the next. Our eyes can?t help but to keep moving across the ever changing design of the quilt. African American quilts are very personal, as is any interpretation of a particular piece.

African American/Gee's Bend Style Vintage American Quilts

Click on the pictures below to see more views of my African American Antique Quilts. Shading is due to lighting, not representative of the quilt. Please call for the availability or any questions.


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QT278 Bars & Blocks Quilt Top
Please view the detail photos (click image above) for more accurate colors.
QT278 Bars & Blocks Quilt Top
c.1925 with earlier fabrics
66 x 80 (167.6 x 203.2 cm)
$525

Believed to be African American, this graphic Bars and Blocks quilt contains fabrics from c.1880 to c.1925. What a collection and so much fun - someone had a wonderful variety in their scrap bag of fabrics. Both hand and treadle machine pieced it is crisp and ready to be finished! I strongly believe this is an African American quilt top.

CON SP1 African American Log Cabin Quilt, with Provenance
Please view the detail photos (click image above) for more accurate colors.
CON SP1 African American Log Cabin Quilt with Provenance
c.1950
79 x 84 (200.7 x 213.4 cm)
Camden, NC
$3,200

There are traits that distinguish African American quilting in the first half of the 20th century from any other North American quilting style. The use of vertical piecing, enlarged, very graphic piecing, and asymmetry hark back to African cultures and textile style. This wonderful Log Cabin is comprised of a variety of both large and medium scale patterns in a great many colors in cotton, seersucker, velvet and rayon.

The cotton backing is comprised of multiple fabrics pieced together both by hand and machine; two shades of blue with white stripes, a blue and white large scale floral, and a wonderful cotton in lime green and pink depicting a tropical scene at the beach. The backing is turned to the front and is hand stitched down with white string to form the binding. Hand quilted with loosely parallel lines using thin white string.

Purchased out of the maker's home this quilt is on consignment, with provenance to go to the buyer upon sale. Professionally hand washed by Betsey and ready to sent to you on approval for private viewing in your home.

Q8863 African American Patchwork Quilt
Please view the detail photos (click image above) for more accurate colors.
Q8863 African American Patchwork Quilt
1930’s
72 x 98
TX
$4,800

This graphically appealing African American quilt is comprised of solids, prints, stripes and plaids in various shapes, sizes and colors. There are traits that distinguish African American quilting in the first half of the 20th century from any other North American quilting style and this quilt is a classic example. The use of vertical piecing, enlarged, very graphic designs, and asymmetry hark back to African cultures and textile style. This wonderful patchwork is comprised of a variety of feedsacks and other cottons from the 1930’s in a great many colors, however, it strikes a patriotic theme with its emphasis on blue, white and red.

The backing is comprised of unbleached feedsack fabric that shows the feed manufacturer’s screen printed name and various plant locations in pale blue. The backing is turned to the front along most of the quilt’s edge and is hand stitched down to form a binding ranging in width from 3 3/4” to 1/4”. A portion of the quilt’s edge has the front turning to the back to form a binding ranging from 1/4” to 1” wide on the back side. Hand quilted with loosely parallel lines using white string.

From an African American family in Texas, this quilt is a wonderful find in excellent condition. Professionally hand washed by Betsey and ready to send to you on approval for viewing in the privacy of your home.

Q8224 African American Bars Variation
Please view the detail photos (click image above) for more accurate colors.
Q8224 African American Bars Variation
1950-1970
approx. 78 x 86
Southern
Was $3,900 Now $2,900

This wonderful textile is representative of all we look for in an early to mid twentieth century African American quilt. The vertical piecing, asymmetry and bold, colorful fabrics with the use of intentionally random sized pieces are all traditional elements of African American quilt design and are in abundance in this lovely piece. Plaids, stripes, paisleys, florals and more dance among solid colored fabrics in this uplifting quilt. There are large gentle arcs as well as areas of straight lines of neat and functional quilting throughout.

This special quilt has seen some gentle use, but is in wonderful condition. The edges on two sides have been turned over from the back to the front, and pillowcase edged on the remaining two sides. The backing has been formed by piecing feed sacks.

This great find is now ready to display as art for your bed or wall. Professionally hand washed by Betsey and ready to send to you for viewing in your home on approval.

Rocky Mountain Quilts Shop Hours

Our York, Maine antique quilt shop hours

Summer (May 1 to Oct 31)
Monday-Saturday 10-5, Sunday 12-5

Winter (Nov 1 to Apr 30)
Monday-Saturday 10-4, Sunday by chance or appointment

Or call for other times -- we are usually available

Payment Methods:

Rocky Mountain Quilts gladly accepts cash, checks, Visa, Master Card and American Express. Bank wire transfers are an easy method of payment for both domestic and international sales. If you are traveling, we will be happy to ship your purchases via FedEx at your convenience.

Contact Us

Telephone - for orders or questions -
1-207-363-6800
Email - betsey@rockymountainquilts.com
Shipping FedEx address -
130 York Street
York Village, Maine 03909

Link To Top Of Quilts