MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Tutwiler Quilters

Among the membership of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi is the Tutwiler Quilters from northern Mississippi—joining the guild in 1996, and earning Fellow status in 2005. Organized in 1988 by Sr. Maureen Delaney and Sr. JoAnn Blomme, the group was created to help Tutwiler, Mississippi’s local women earn an income and support their families.

Many of the Tutwiler Quilters learned the traditional craft of quilting from their mothers or grandmothers. Preserving this tradition, Tutwiler quilts are made in an Afro-American style. Indigenous to the population of the Mississippi Delta, this style utilizes bold colors, a wide variety of designs, and larger stitches. The quilters often take traditional patterns and alter them to create new and improvised designs. Each quilt is unique and highly prized by their patrons.

In 1990, the quilters received national attention when they appeared on “60 Minutes.” In 1997, they were asked to participate in the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival of American Folk Life in Washington D.C.

Today, more than 25 quilters comprise the organization. Tutwiler Quilters’ products are sold at museums across the US. The Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi is honored to have the Tutwiler Quilters among our ranks.

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Marilyn Diehl

Marilyn Diehl | Mt. Olive, MS

Member since 2008

Member Classification: Fellow

Medium: Fiber. Artist Categories: Baskets and Caning.

Marilyn Diehl’s nephew, Roger Jamison, began weaving when he was 13. By the time he was 18 in 1994, he was accepted into the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, Inc. Also a teacher, Marilyn began watching Roger and learning to make baskets. Helping Roger for a year or two, Marilyn had no idea that in 2002 she would buy his business and move his 500-square-foot shop to the Diehl family home nestled on Highway 532 near Hot Coffee, MS.

In the fall of 2015, Marilyn moved the business to its current location on Main Street in Mount Olive and changed the name to the Basket Cottage. Split rattan is used to make the baskets. Solid hickory and oak are used for the handles. The baskets are trimmed with sea grasses, round reed and cane. Each basket is dated, numbered and signed. Marilyn’s baskets have been shipped all over the United States and Canada, as well as Italy, Germany, Brazil and England.