Souls Grown Deep Custom Prints

Willie "Ma Willie" Abrams

"Roman Stripes" variation, c. 1975

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About the Artwork

Willie “Ma Willie” Abrams (1897–1987), "Roman Stripes" variation, c. 1975

Corduroy, 94 x 76 in.; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

In 1972, the Freedom Quilting Bee received a contract with Sears Roebuck and Company to make corduroy pillow shams. The abundance of leftover fabric from that project inspired many local quiltmakers to incorporate it into their designs. Although difficult to work with due to its rigidity, corduroy was well suited for minimal yet bold designs. This quilt, made from Sears corduroy, is dominated by a variation of the Roman Stripes pattern, made of rows of horizontal strips. However, Abrams rotated the rows throughout the design and manipulated the size of each block. One row of blocks near the middle of the quilt features a sampling of other quilt patterns, including Bricklayer, Log Cabin, and Housetop.

about the collection

In 1972, the Freedom Quilting Bee, a sewing cooperative based in Alberta, Alabama, near Gee's Bend, secured a contract with Sears, Roebuck, to produce corduroy pillow covers. Made of wide-wale cotton corduroy, the covers came in a variety of colors, including "gold," "avocado leaf," "tangerine," and "cherry red." Production of the Sears pillow covers left little room for personal creativity, as labor at the Freedom Quilting Bee was divided to maximize daily output. Yet despite the standardized and repetitive process involved in producing the pillow covers, the availability of corduroy, a fabric seldom used before by the Gee's Bend quiltmakers, stimulated a profound creative response. Leftover lengths and scraps of corduroy were taken home by workers at the Bee. Given to friends and family or bundled for sale within the community, the scraps were then transformed from standardized remnants into vibrant and individualized works of art.

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About Our Prints


Souls Grown Deep Custom Prints offers custom reproductions of artworks by Souls Grown Deep artists. Hand-made in the USA using gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.


Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. We are continually adding new artworks to our offering, so be sure to check back regularly as you build your own gallery.