Redneck Girls visit New England

Redneck Girls ©Lori East, 2008
Redneck Girls ©Lori East, 2008

Meet my Redneck Girls. Remember the song, “Redneck Girl,” by the Bellamy Brothers? I had to look up when it came out and was astonished to read that it is over thirty years old. Well, there you go. I liked it then and I like it now.

I know there is some stigma attached to the term, “redneck,” and this has nothing at all to do with the term in that sense. I have no room in my life for ugliness. What I do have time for is friends, fun, and happy memories. This quilt embodies all those things for me.

 

My Redneck Girls actually have roots in Vermont, although they’ve never been there. In June 2002, my friend Pam and I were attending the Vermont Quilt Festival. We met a new friend, Mary, there, quite by chance, and, in that way that happens rarely yet so perfectly, were immediately friends. Later that same day, Pam realized she needed to go back to New Hampshire for something (batting, maybe?), so Mary and I rode along. We drove some 300 miles that evening, with a stop for amazing seafood. You don’t spend that many hours in a car with someone and not get to know them, do you? I soon knew that I adored these women. I am pretty sure that “Redneck Girl” played on the car radio that night. It’s a wonder we heard it over the laughter and bad, bad jokes.

Fast forward to 2005 in South Florida. My friend Teddy had come to visit me in Coral Springs (where I lived from 2002-2005). We were out antiquing and came across the photo featured in this quilt. Both of us laughed at how much fun those girls must have had, all duded up, and trying to look fabulous. I bought the photo and just put it away. It was just too fun to leave it behind!

Redneck Girls
Original block #5 ©Mary Kerr, 2008

In 2008 (and just to confuse you further, I’ll tell you that I was then living in Missouri), I was committed to making quilts for the Vintage Revisited challenge. I received the fifth block and hung it on my wall. It was an applique block, ca. 1890, not too well made, and, as my grandma would say, “Not too purty.”

 

Redneck Girls (c) Lori East
Redneck Girl got her name on the back of her belt, (c) Bellamy Brothers, 1982

Before long, though, the block spoke. Or maybe it was the
photo calling out. I don’t know, but I removed the block from its background and appliqued it to a fun cowboy
print I had, added some flowers, ribbon, beads, buckles, charms, and, whew! A lot of stuff. I stamped, I scribbled, and even stuck some feathers in. There is a “leather-look” mystery fabric on the left side of the quilt. I don’t remember where I bought it (or better still, why), but I was awfully glad I had. It reminded me of those purses we all had in the mid-70s of tooled leather and wood beads (remember?).

Redneck Girls (c) Lori East
Every Redneck Girl needs a good pair of boots

Today my Redneck Girls are on their way to New England. More specifically, they’re headed to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, to hang in the Picture Perfect exhibit which will run from 23 April to 31 May. (Haven’t been to the museum yet? It’s a must-visit if you’re anywhere in New England.)