These eye-catching quilts–with their abstract, asymmetrical and modern feel–were created by Alabama quiltmaker Susana Allen Hunter (1912–2005). They are made in an improvisational style found among people in poorer, more isolated pockets of the rural South.
Susana Hunter was an African American quilter from rural Wilcox County, Alabama. The daughter of Tobe Allen and Mary Richardson Allen, Susana married Julius Hunter (1909–1996) in the late 1920s. They had two children and also raised their grandson. Susana and her husband were sharecroppers or tenant farmers. They lived in a two-room house in Wilcox County, Alabama, 32 miles south of Selma. Though they worked hard at farming, resources were few and to keep the family warm, Susana sewed quilts. She made hundreds of colorful quilts some of which are included in this collection.
Quiltmakers like Susana Hunter used what they had on hand to make quilts that were intended for use, not just for show. All the quilts in this collection are made from worn clothing, leftover fabric scraps, and sacking. Created from the 1930s to the 1970s, Susana Hunter's quilts reflect her life in rural Wilcox County, Alabama.
The Henry Ford Museum in Michigan owns 30 of her quilts, which they featured in an exhibition in 2008.