Souls Grown Deep Custom Prints

Essie Bendolph Pettway

Multiple columns of rectangular blocks and bars, 1980 (detail)

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About the Artwork

Essie Bendolph Pettway (b. 1956), Multiple columns of rectangular blocks and bars, 1980 (detail).

Corduroy, 93 x 75 inches; The Studio Museum in Harlem, Gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation.

While its composition—long strips of colors assembled in parallel rows—derives from the “Lazy Gal” form, Essie’s manipulation of the multiple columns in this quilt achieves a spirit of movement and energy, unlike the minimalist “Lazy Gals” of Helen McCloud and Arlonzia Pettway. Here, Essie has broken up the rows of color and scattered them across the face of the quilt like musical notes, forcing the eye to jump from color to color, in a point of view not dissimilar to those of Lola Pettway and Gearldine Westbrook.

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.