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Loretta P. Bennett
Loretta P. Bennett, American, born 1960
Two-Sided Geometric Quilt
2003
Corduroy and velveteen
69 1/2 x 59 inches (176.5 x 149.9 cm) Collection of the Tinwood Alliance
Photo by Stephen Pitkin, Pitkin Studio, Rockford, Illinois

Loretta P. Bennett

I came to realize that my mother, her mother, my aunts, and all the others from Gee’s Bend had sewn the foundation, and all I had to do now was thread my own needle and piece a quilt together. —Loretta P. Bennett

Loretta P. Bennett is the great-great-granddaughter of Dinah Miller, a woman who was brought to Alabama from Africa as a slave in 1859. As a child, Bennett picked cotton and other crops. She attended school in Gee’s Bend until seventh grade, when she was bussed to high schools that were a two-hour drive away. Bennett was introduced to sewing around age five by her mother, Qunnie, who worked at the Freedom Quilting Bee, a sewing cooperative established in 1966 in the nearby neighborhood of Rehoboth. She married Lovett Bennett in 1979. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and for the next twenty years they lived in numerous places including Germany and Texas. However, she always returned to Gee’s Bend to reconnect with family and quilt with her mother. The 2002 exhibition of quilts from Gee’s Bend inspired her to reinvigorate her own work.
 

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