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"Hands" Quilt
"Hands" Quilt, Winter 1980
Sarah Mary Taylor, American
Pieced and appliquéd cotton and synthetic solid and printed plain weave, twill, flannel, knit, dotted swiss, and damask
6 feet 11 1/4 inches × 6 feet 6 inches (211.5 × 198.1 cm)
The Ella King Torrey Collection of African American Quilts, 2006
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Hands Quilt by Sarah Mary Taylor

Every time I piece one I tries to make something different from what I made. I don’t want what I been piecing; let me find something different. —Sarah Mary Taylor

Known for her use of vibrant colors and bold designs, Sarah Mary Taylor inherited a love of quilting from both her mother, Pearlie Posey, and her aunt, Pecolia Warner. Her mother taught her how to quilt at a young age, but Taylor didn’t make a quilt of her own until she was married and left her mother’s house. She was married five times, but never had children. She lived on plantations throughout the Mississippi Delta, working as a cook, a field hand, and a housekeeper. For many years, Taylor made pieced quilts out of the skirts of long dresses, but began making appliqué quilts in 1980 after her aunt Pecolia received attention for her work from a professor at the University of Mississippi. Taylor soon gained recognition for her appliqué quilts as well.

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