Field Trip for Inspiration: The Met / Gee’s Bend

File this under: Things To Do After Quarantine Ends

Did you know you can schedule a free private viewing inside the Ratti Textile Center at The Metropolitan Museum of Art? Daily weekday appointments are available. With enough notice (at least 2 weeks), you can send in requests to view specific items from other departments, but trust me that the textiles alone (lace, embroidery, quilts, oh my!) are sure to satisfy your creative cravings.

Peruse The Met Collection catalog, copy down the accession numbers, email Eva. An exquisite NYC experience for students, designers, city visitors and anyone in need of a jolt of inspiration.

We field tripped with our sustainable fashion meetup friends at the end of February. We’re forbidden from sharing photos (research purposes only) but we were able to view this Gee’s Bend quilt shown above, as well as an ancient Japanese indigo-dyed housecoat covered in sashiko stitches.

Start collecting your private viewing wishlist and in the meantime, stroll through 150 years of The Met’s history virtually.

Coincidentally, my grandma gave me a set of Gee’s Bend stamps years ago, before I knew the history of the makers. I made the connection right away during the field trip viewing – these quilts made from repurposed clothing, bedsheets and other household textiles have such a remarkable, vivid style to them. I used some of the precious stamps to try and send this Japanese yam in the mail last summer. It was accepted into the USPS system but never reached its final destination (to my knowledge). I’m still so curious where the yam ended up – who was the last person to handle it, and did they at least try to compost?

Update as of Feb 2021: You can now purchase the Gee’s Bend quilts directly from the makers, for the first time in history. Read more here via Etsy.

By allison v.

Designer and DIY'er in Detroit by way of NYC

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