Pattern: Callie McCluskey

Mary L. Bennett Quilt “Housetop”

I am choosing to look at Mary L. Bennett’s quilts for this post. The one that caught my eye, “Housetop” was made in 1965. She started working in the fields at age ten or eleven picking cotton, farming, and pulling corn. She has no education besides a day of school here and there. Her story really emphasizes the importance of her quilts because they share a large resemblance to Mondrian’s paintings in early abstraction. She uses large blocks of material that are, for the most part, a solid color. She then places more strips of different colors to

Piet Mondrian Painting

make the effect that they are boxes stacked on top of one another. She explained that no one had taught her how to make quilts so she just placed different materials until the composition looked how she wanted it to look. It’s amazing to me that without knowing anything about art history, she could be recreating some of the revolutionary ideas of abstraction. Quilts can be a necessity to have in a household, especially in houses that aren’t as insulated or have any heating. think these quilts for a lot of people were their way to express themselves in a community that didn’t have a whole lot. That is one of the reasons why her blankets all have so much character in them. They also used a lot of recycled materials such as old clothes and scraps of fabric which gave them the opportunity to get creative with their patterns.
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