Irvin Pettway of Gees Bend, Alabama, is one of only a few men creating art in an area where women have dominated the scene for generations. Especially in the Pettway lineage. The area is known worldwide for generations of quilted items that were created out of necessity, and, recently, for their beauty in design and workmanship. Irvin has produced a new variety of quilts – drawn and painted.
Watching Tinnie and Minnie Pettway create their signature potholders, Irvin said to himself “I can make something too.” That is when he decided he could make “what I never seen before.” Ideas were drawn “on a lot of paper until I come up with something” he admits.
The personal and rewarding aspects derived from his work comes from “putting pieces together that you can’t find anywhere else,” and, he is “able to do something that only me is doing in Gees Bend Alabama.” His work begins with colored pencil drawings and ends with unique, beautifully painted quilts on either paper, canvas or wood, unlike the sewn quilts created by his ancestors.