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Quilt maker,folkartist,writer, from Freestone County, Tx.

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Books about African American Quilts

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"SISTERS"...Laverne's daughters.

In this post we will become acquainted with Laverne Arella Henry-Brackens' daughters who have acquired quilt making skills via the Titus family lineage. The four of them are all fifth generation quilters.

Sherry Ann Brackens-Byrd....born 1951.

Lillie Elizabeth Brackens-Mayes...born 1953.

Betsey Evelyn Brackens-Johnson...born 1955.

Eleanore Herrera-Brackens...born 1960, in Guam,USA.

.Also included in this post are beginners in the arts, which hopefully ...in the future will comprise the sixth generation of quilt makers to this lineage. All have created at least one quilt...but have not seriously dedicated themselves at this time. There is a tendency to procrastinate and start serious quilt making later in life,in our family among the modern generations. I (Sherry)  did not start until my late thirties. So it may be with these younger ones. I surely hope ...having tasted of this wonderful skill...at least one or maybe two will tend to make it a permanent part of their lives. 


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Sherry A.Brackens-Byrd

Sherry and Curtis....".SHOW AND TELLING".......at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in July 2006.
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Curtis and Sherry Byrd + their eight children.
(Left to Right Top Row)
Curtis Byrd,Jr.,K-Becka Byrd, Bara Byrd,Leah Byrd ,Miriam Byrd
(Bottom Row L-R)
Sarah Byrd, Cephas Byrd, Ornan Byrd

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Five Daughters_Byrd family.
(L-R)
Bara,K-becka,Sarah,Leah,Miriam
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All five of Sherry Byrd's daughters contributed blocks to this reversible storyquilt.based upon theTitus family's quilt making  history thru six generations.



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Baralalessa Byrd-Steward



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Bara created these two quilts at the age of twelve. They have both been included in  African American Exhibits curated by Eli Leon.


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Cephas created this quilt top at the age of 11 years old.He was born May 1988.This quilt top  was shown at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum's High Noon Talk in 2006 by his Mom Sherry A. Byrd.
Cephas Byrd,age 11.

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Sarah Byrd
born September,1982




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Sherry's Creative Flipside

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Lillie Elizabeth Brackens-Mayes was born in 1953. She is the second oldest daughter of Connie and Laverne Brackens.She was born and raised in Fairfield,Texas,Freestone County and still resides on the old homeplace where she grew up. She is a widow with a grown son and daughter plus six grand children.

Lillie is full of religious fervor and zeal. She loves to teach Sunday School and volunteer for church activities. She is a Certified Registered Nurse  and Medical Consultant.

Lillie learned the art of quilt making from observing her mother Laverne and her grandmother,Gladys Henry...but quickly developed her own unique style of creating her folk art compositions. Lillie loves to create patchwork that is composed of lattice work weavings. She can create traditional style quilts, but prefers 'LATTICE WORKS' to all other styles. 

She also creates various other crafts that incorporate the lattice works designs...such as napkin holders,small wall hangings,place mats ,and table runners.

Lillie likes to garden,... which love, she inherited from her grandmother,Gladys Celia Durham-Henry who always had a Spring vegetable garden from which she did canning and preserving of food to supplement the family's diet. Lillie enjoys  working the soil by planting various fruits and veggies and watching them grow and produce. She enjoys Spring and the growing seasons best because they allow her to be outside to enjoy nature and wreaks less havoc on her arthritis.

Following are some of  her amazing creations.Enjoy!!!
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This framed lattice work piece was a  gift to her sister ,Sherry.
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Using her lattice work creations to spice up old panels and  picture frames.Thus she is able to recycle items,such as old frames that might otherwise be discarded in the landfill.
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One of Lillie's many beautiful Lattice Work Creations hung out to air on her clothes line.
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Close up of another Lattice Work Beauty.
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Full view of  Lillie's Folkart Creation hanging on the clothesline to air out.
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This lattice work beauty was featured at the Bob Bullock "High Noon" Talk in July 2006, by Lillie's sister, Sherry Byrd.
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Lillie always has a "There's Nothing To It Attitude."
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BETSEY BRACKENS-JOHNSON
Britches quilt created by Betsey Brackens-Johnson. Displayed at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in July,2006.
Betsey's Britches Quilt....Lazy Gal Style.
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Betsey and her "Britches"quilt.
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Another one of Betsey's pieced quilts, using various and assorted materials with very large blocks.
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Betsey Evelyn Brackens-Johnson...Born in 1955.Betsey is  youngest daughter of Connie and Laverne Brackens. She was born and raised in Fairfield,Texas...Freestone County. Bessie still calls Fairfield, where she was born and raised, "HOME".

Betsey is adventurious, mischievous,friendly,hilarious,empathetic,loving ,kind ,and generous.She is a person who will give you the shirt off her back...but you don't want to be on the receiving end of her anger if caught trying to misuse her kindness for a weakness. Most everyone loves Betsey and she is a ray of sunshine that lights up the environment of those who know her well...even when her own personal problems of juggling single parenthood and medical needs for herself and her mentally challenged daughter tend to weight her down.She always tries to maintain a positive mental attitude in all situations.Her smile is always contagious!!!


She is a widower and mother of two sons and one daughter . She has five grandchildren.

Betsey is a woman that has worn many hats in her adult career. She has worked in restaurants,at nursing homes and homes for the mentally challenged as an aide,she traveled the world with moving companies...but presently assists her brother Roland with his construction business as a supervisor for his work crew. She loves all kinds of outside work from plumbing to driving big trucks and other heavy machinery.

Though not a dedicated quilt maker...she has tried her hand at the craft and as with everything she sets her mind to do...has done very well.She learned to make quilts by watching her mother, Laverne Brackens.

Betsey's choice of quilt making patterns and materials is the quick and easy process....referred to by most as the "Lazy Gal" style and/or "Britches Quilt'. She loves incorporating old jeans into the quilt making that she produces. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that she herself wears jeans almost daily as she works!!!
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Eleanore Herrera-Brackens

M-provisational Quilt Centerpiece....Eleanore style...


Eleanore's quilt on display at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum,2006.
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Eleanore and Brandon...her first grandchild.


Eleanore Herrera-Brackens was born in AGAT, Guam in 1960. She is the daughter of Joaquina San Nicolas Babauta and Jesus Santos Herrera. She is a very loving,kind,friendly, loyal,unassuming person. She adapts well to the most trying situations and circumstances, thus making the best of whatever life serves on her plate.

Eleanore married Roy Lee Brackens, the youngest son of Connie and Laverne Brackens. They are now divorced, but she is still considered as a true family member,stays in close contact with the family members and all are very protective of her...because she treats all with respect and deserves the same in return.Though born and raised in Guam,...she married into the African American culture and has adapted quite well to our family. We love her dearly.No one could ask for a sweeter sister-in-law and she is indeed a blessing to the Brackens family.There are very few like her in this turbulent world,today.

Eleanore is the mother of six children. One son by a previous marriage and three sons and two daughters by Roy Brackens. She is a loving and dedicated mother to all her children. She has one beloved grandson at the time of this posting.

Eleanore has done varied secular jobs outside the home environment.She is a cook,has delivered the mail as a rural carrier,she has been a courier for a private business,and also worked in the school cafeteria in the Fairfield ISD.

Eleanore learned the skill of quilt making under the tutoring of Laverne Brackens, her mother-in-law. She loves to crochet...a skill she learned in Guam,she cooks,especially the tasty spicey native dishes of Guam and she loves to play games on facebook...as well as network with her older children who have moved away from home.

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Tysha Brackens...second daughter of Roy Lee and Eleanore Brackens.

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Who''d a thought it; improvisation in African-American quiltmaking, San Francisco Craft & Folk Art Museum, December 31, 1987 to February 28, 1988.




Well that about wraps up this Post. I hope you've enjoyed your visit and please do come again. May your quilts warm many bodies and permeate many dreams with their infectious coziness.Till next time....Sherry Ann





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