Friday, July 13, 2012

Art Camp: Gees Bend Inspired Paper Quilts

Tomorrow is the last day of camp at The Frist and I wanted to post some projects we've made over the next few days. The camp that I taught was Art Smarts for ages 5-7. It was a week long half day camp where we explored different art making methods each day: form/sculpture, painting, collage/assemblage, drawing, and printing. In addition, most of the projects are related to the current exhibitions.

Side note: One of my favorite things about The Frist is that they are a visiting gallery. The museum does not have a permanent collection and the exhibitions change about every three months. I love this. There will always be something different and there have been once in a lifetime exhibitions. Exhibitions that have come from other countries that may never leave their home museums again in my life time. Awesome!

One of the exhibitions there at the moment is Creation Story: Gee’s Bend Quilts and the Art of Thornton Dial.

I didn't know anything about Gee's Bend or the quilters until this exhibition. I am very happy to have had the chance to see it and learn from it. The quilts have great stories behind them and really lend themselves to lessons about shape, color, and symmetry/asymmetry. 

The campers got a chance to spend some time in the gallery looking and making observations about the quilts. When we got back to the studio, we reviewed what we saw and I introduced the vocabulary symmetry and asymmetry. I instructed them that they were going to get a white card stock square and using different shapes of colored paper they would get to make their own paper quilt. In the center of the table they had a large amount of scrap paper to choose from. Painted papers, solid paper, and printed papers. I told them that they could use any colors and shapes they wanted, and they could make their quilt symmetrical or asymmetrical. I demonstrated the idea for them. My example is pictured below.

From there I let them go to create. They really took their time and thought about shapes, colors, and prints to use. I really loved how they came out. Below are a few student examples.

Here is a link to an older article for a different Gee's Bend exhibition, but it still has some interesting information.


  1. I am SO jealous. I LOVE Gee's Bend!

  2. I love Gee's Bend now. I didn't know anything about the quilters until this exhibition. The quilts themselves are wonderful but I think knowing the story behind each quilt is what brings them to life.