Are you familiar with the quilters of Gee's Bend? Gee's Bend is an isolated community in Alabama with a strong tradition of quiltmaking passed down through generations. Since being "discovered", the quilts have been shown in museums across the United States.
I've been fascinated by the quilts since I read an article about them sometime in college. My students were equally fascinated by the quilts! We looked at lots of photos of the quilts (see beautiful examples here) and watched a few videos including this one that is sort of a summary produced for the AlaArts Awards and some really short interviews with the quilters (first one here, links to others on the side of the video). Here is a really cool resource, the Quilts of Gee's Bend in Context that covers the history and geography in addition to the art of Gee's Bend.
After the videos and discussion about the quilts, including how it's kind of cool that they're not "perfect", how a quilt is constructed, and what kinds of shapes are used for the pieces, the students started making paper quilts. They used construction paper for the background and on top, either used construction paper pieces, magazine images (cut apart as if they were fabric), or a combination of the two to complete their quilts. It was really interesting to see the images the students combined and how some of them really started to think about color harmonies.
Some students used their cut shapes to make images instead of just compositions, like the thunder storm and face below.
Here is part of a student artist statement. The part about not knowing what art was comes from one of the interviews we watched.
"I made quiltizm. It is based off a little town who made quilts but they didn't know what art was. Then a lot of quilts went into a museum. I was inspired to make something based on the quilts."