Day one! Our first stop was with legendary Georgia potter, Wayne Hewell, at his hillside country studio. We met Mr. Hewell and his super sweet puppy named Jelly to pick up face jugs for our fall show, Southern Gothic (more on that later!). He showed us around his kiln and gave us a history lesson on face jugs and wedding jugs. It was a treat!
Then we were off to catch up with Cornbread and pick up a trove of classic pieces. He’s enjoying the unseasonably cool June weather and painting up a storm.
Next, we made our way to visit Bailey Jack and her lovely son, Taylor. She taught us her new catch phrase, “Bailey Jack it up!” The phrase eludes to her special knack for painting the world through her magical and fiercely independent point of view. We love that!
Ending the day with a burger in downtown Columbus. Right across the street from the post office and courthouse. Cool building right?!
Day two of the Georgia-Alabama grand tour! First stop was a visit with Butch Anthony at his home studio. There was so much to look at here. Painting, embroidery, taxidermy, assemblage, collecting, art car… our heads were spinning. His studio is an elegant symphony of carefully arranged oddities and art. His environment is also a masterclass on architecture.
We left Butch’s compound and headed to Trés and Helene Taylor’s grand home in Selma, Al. They affectionately named the home Byrdland and every square inch holds a little bit of magic. We could have stayed all day but unfortunately time was ticking… as we left Selma, we took an emotional drive over the Edmund Pettus Bridge - it was absolutely moving and incredibly heavy.
Next stop Camden where we had a much needed meatloaf lunch at the Pecan on Broad restaurant before catching the ferry to Gee’s Bend! We also took a moment to swing by Tres Taylor’s mural located in downtown Camden.
This collective of women quilters are known around the world for their bold and improvisational designs and their use of recycled fabrics. Geographically, Gee’s Bend is located on a peninsula surrounded by the Alabama River and is only easily accessible by the Gee’s Bend Ferry. There’s a long history of forced isolation, voter suppression and creative perseverance. Google their history and you’ll find it reads like an epic book.
Good reading about the Gee's Bend quilters: https://www.soulsgrowndeep.org/gees-bend-quiltmakers