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Aolar Mosely

"Housetop"—"Half-Log Cabin" variation, c. 1950

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Aolar Mosely (1912–1999), "Housetop"—"Half-Log Cabin" variation, c. 1950

Cotton clothing and unbleached muslin sacking, 75 x 75 in.; Studio Museum in Harlem, Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Within the simple concept of squares within squares, Gee's Bend quiltmakers exercise their individual design abilities to produce an extraordinary variety of solutions as evidenced by this quilt.

about the artist

It was as a girl that Aolar Carson Mosely, a founding member of the Freedom Quilting Bee, first observed the phenomenon of the quilting bee. Her mother would move from one house to another to join groups of quilters. “They didn’t have something to buy a blanket,” she recalls. “They had to quilt to cover up.” She helped to supply her mother with quilting frames by going with the others into the woods, where they would find four long poles, trim them, and let them dry. Her father would bore holes in the ends of the poles and attach them together with nails.

She started making her own quilts when she was twelve.

I’m going to tell you the truth; we couldn’t get cloth back then like I can now. When an old shirt would wear out, we’d tear them up and sew ’em on. I’d just tear up the shirts and the overalls and make me a quilt. I sewed just as much as I could get me some rags.

Mosely’s quilts display considerable improvisation and originality yet are meticulously assembled. According to her daughter, Mary Lee Bendolph, "She was slow and careful more than me." Unlike many of her neighbors, Mosely used a machine purchased by her father. "I ain't never learned to sew with my hand. Most everything I make with a machine." She lived her final years with her daughter after her home burned in 1984 and destroyed nearly all of her quilts.

Aolar Mosely’s work is in the permanent collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Tate Modern, and the Phillips Collection.

Learn more about Aolar Mosely here.

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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.