Lottie Mooney (1908–1992), "Housetop"—four-block "Half-Log Cabin" variation (detail), c. 1940
Cotton and rayon, 88 x 73 in.; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Museum purchase and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation
Lottie Mooney’s “Housetop”—four-block “Half-Log Cabin” variation exhibits a restrained yet vibrant color palette. Her pattern is a visual play—a kaleidoscope stripped to its essential elements. The seemingly radical gesture of dismantling traditional patterns and reconstructing them in a way unique to the artist is a hallmark of the imaginative spirit inherent in the Gee’s Bend style.
Lottie Mooney (1908 - 1992) was born and raised in Gee’s Bend, Alabama. As a sharecropper, Mooney spent her childhood engaged in the hard labor of farming and learning the artistry of quiltmaking under the mentorship of her mother, Bessie Irby. When she married and had children, she assumed the traditional matriarchal role of sewing her children’s clothes and teaching her daughters the value of quilting with recycled fabrics, using worn-out clothing and rice and flour sacks as material for her quilts. Her granddaughter, Emma Mooney Pettway, remembers her fondly as a generous and spiritual woman who was “always quilting and cooking.”
Mooney’s “Housetop”—four-block “Half-Log Cabin” variation quilt from the 1940s appeared on a U.S. postage stamp in 2006 as part of the American Treasures series. Her work is in the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Learn more about Lottie Mooney here.
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