In a Dream

Gee's Bend Quilt
Annie Bendolph, “Thousand Pyramids” Quilt, c. 1930. Cotton Sacking and Chambray. 83 x 70 inches. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.

I often wonder how designs come into being. Sometimes ideas come to me in dreams–recently I dreamed up an entire quilt, stitching and all, and when I woke I hurried to sketch it before the image faded. In my dream I held my quilt in my hand, and I could turn it, and touch it, and see it plain as day. I wonder how Annie Bendolph conceived of this “Thousand Pyramids” quilt? It is such a marvelous example of how pattern, rhythm, and repetition can make simple forms sing.

Annie Bendolph, “One Patch” Quilt, c. 1960. Cotton, 78 x 70 inches. Collection of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.

I love Bendolph’s “One Patch” quilt, a simple patchwork grid enlivened by her dynamic juxtaposition of colors and patterns. I would love to turn it over and see the backing. One of my first quilts was a “one patch” quilt. They are easy to sew, but it is not easy to work out a pleasing composition between such a diversity of elements. The exercise really trains the quilter to think carefully about how to construct relationships between colors and patterns, and how to add texture–through stitching–to an already-complicated construction.

Visit the Souls Grown Deep Foundation’s website to learn more about Annie Bendolph.

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