"Housetop" - four-block "Log Cabin" variation center medallion

Henrietta Pettwayc. 1925

Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Souls Grown Deep Foundation
Atlanta, United States

Henrietta Pettway, like her daughter-in-law Allie Pettway (Henrietta's son, John the Baptist, was Allie's husband) was also a gifted quiltmaker. Among her surviving compositions is a four-block, center medallion "Log Cabin" variation in the form known among some local women as the "Hog Pen Pole." Dating from around the late 1920s and made of cotton and cotton sacking, it is beautiful even in its faded condition. It suggests how well used these quilts were; it also reveals how far back in the Gee's Bend quiltmaking tradition the improvisational approach can be found. Allie remembers her mother-in-law:

"My mother-in-law, Henrietta Pettway, she was staying down here the whole time that I know her since I was a little girl, 'cause John the Baptist come from up here, come right on down to my house to court me. After while, after we got married, they moved us right here—me, John the Baptist, Henrietta, and her children stay right here together. Henrietta would go to the field and help us some, but when she got old she would stay home and tend to the children. Took care of my children, that's what your mother would do. . . . I got good ideas from my mother-in-law, Henrietta. Me and her sewed together."


  • Title: "Housetop" - four-block "Log Cabin" variation center medallion
  • Creator: Henrietta Pettway
  • Creator Lifespan: 1894/1971
  • Creator Nationality: American
  • Creator Gender: Female
  • Date Created: c. 1925
  • Location Created: Gee's Bend, Alabama
  • Physical Dimensions: 86 x 74 in. (218.4 x 188 cm)
  • Subject Keywords: Gee's Bend, Black art, African American art
  • Type: Quilt
  • Rights: © Henrietta Pettway / Photo: Stephen Pitkin, Pitkin Studio
  • External Link: https://www.soulsgrowndeep.org/artist/henrietta-pettway
  • Medium: Cotton clothing and sacking

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