Quilted Colors

Work collaboratively to create colorful quilt pieces and construct simulated quilts. Explore the story of the Gee’s Bend community and how the traditional art form has been shared by many generations from the time of slavery to today.

  • 1.

    Organize the students into small groups of 4-5. Show examples of Gee’s Bend famous quilts. Observe how these quilts are different from traditional quilts that focus on symmetry and patterns. What elements of the Gee’s Bend quilts are unique?

  • 2.

    Discuss the story of Gee’s Bend with the class. This small town in Alabama has a rich history. Once the site of many cotton plantations, it grew into a tightly knit community. Relatives of those residents were once slaves on those very plantations. Quilt making was a necessity for this community during hard economic times, and the skill has been passed down for at least six generations.

  • 3.

    The Gee’s Bend quilts are now recognized as works of art and are featured in American museums, magazines, and television specials. In 2006, a special series of stamps using the images of 10 Gee’s Bend quilts was released.

  • 4.

    Students will work in their groups to create simulated quilts in the Gee’s Bend style. Be sure to cover the work area with recycled newspapers before starting. Create sheets of bright colors by coloring white paper with Crayola® Washable Sidewalk Chalk. Press firmly when drawing with the chalk to get the boldest colors.

  • 5.

    Then smear Crayola® Washable Fingerpaints over the chalk, covering completely with a generous layer of paint.

  • 6.

    Use a flat, broad piece of corrugated cardboard to wipe excess paint from the chalk-covered paper. Swipe evenly in a downward motion with the cardboard to give a lined look to the paint and reveal the colorful chalk beneath.

  • 7.

    Allow the paint to air dry before cutting the paper into geometric shapes. Combine the shapes of the students in each group to make one large Gee’s Bend style quilt. Pieces can be glued together onto a large sheet of poster board using Crayola® No-Run School Glue.

  • 8.

    Display the quilts around the classroom to share with the other groups.

Standards

  • MATH: Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.
  • MATH: Identify and describe shapes.
  • MATH: Analyze, compare, create, and compose shapes.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual’s daily life and personal choices.
  • SS: Work independently and cooperatively to accomplish goals.
  • SS: Show how groups and institutions work to meet individual needs and promote the common good, and identify examples of where they fail to do so.
  • SS: identify key ideals of the United States’ democratic republican form of government, such as individual human dignity, liberty, justice, equality, and the rule of law, and discuss their application in specific situations.
  • VA: Identify a purpose of an artwork.
  • VA: Understand that people from different places and times have made art.

Adaptations

  • Assist younger students and those with special needs with creating quilt pieces. Experiment with folding and tearing shapes rather than using scissors.
  • Hole punch the outer edges of each quilt. Use yarn to sew together each group’s quilt, creating one large classroom quilt. Display in the classroom or hallway for the school to enjoy!
  • Invite student to bring in old shirts, pants, backpacks, or other fabric to use for their quilts. Carefully cut or tear fabric pieces and patch together into a quilt with fabric glue or assist students with a hot glue gun. Add bright colors, patterns, and designs to the fabric pieces using Crayola® Bright Fabric Markers!