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Univ. of Kentucky College of Law

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Gee's Bend: Quilt Lawsuit and Library of Congress Photos

Pettwayhouseloc So the lawsuit by a couple of Gee's Bend artists has hit the New York Times.  Not often that rural Alabama lawsuits make it that far, which is reason enough for propertyprof to take notice. This will be a great topic of discussion in my trust class this fall.  Sounds like the collective of quilters has some pretty interesting arrangements:

The quilters’ collective, an informal group of about 40 members, pays $150 a month to rent a former day care center marked by a small, hand-painted sign, where one room is stacked floor to ceiling with quilts. Small quilts go for $200 to $1,000, while bed-sized ones are priced at $950 to $7,500.

When a sale is made, half the money goes to the quilter and half to the collective, which periodically disburses dividends to all members. Royalties from reproductions of the quilts go into the foundation, which now contains $147,000. The system was designed to forestall jealousy, protect elderly quilters who can no longer sew, and acknowledge the interdependent nature of the community, where many quilters are related and styles were handed down from mother to daughter.

Geesbendquilter_3 This'll generate some great discussion, I am sure.  And we never want to miss an opportunity to present some lovely photographs from our friends at the Library of Congress, taken by Arthur Rothstein in 1937, including a photograph of three quilters (at right).

Update: Our friends over at blackthreads and at the art law blog are talking about the story as well.  Here's Auburn University's website on the Quilts of Gee's Bend.

Alfred L. Brophy
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