Gustina Atlas was born in Claiborne County and has lived there all of her life. Her mother and all of the women in their neighborhood would quilt, but she did not take an interest in it as a child. She left Port Gibson to attend college but returned to teach mathematics at the local high school. She retired in 1993 after 31 years of teaching and soon became involved with quilting at Mississippi Cultural Crossroads. She was taught to quilt by master quilter Hystercine Rankin and soon began creating her own award-winning quilts.
Atlas is always eager to create new and unique quilts. In 1994 she made a quilt in honor of Alcorn State University’s football star Steve McNair (see gallery for photo). Her uniquely designed quilts have been regular winners at the annual “Pieces and Strings” quilt contest in Port Gibson.
With fellow Crossroads Quilter Geraldine Nash, Atlas has been very active in teaching in quilting to different groups in a variety of locations throughout the state, including at schools, museums, and correctional facilities. She has served as a master artist in the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Folk Art Apprenticeship Program and 1998 she was the recipient of the Susan B. Herron Fellowship award.
For more information on Nash and the other Crossroads Quilters see the following book:
Crosby, David. Quilts and Quilting in Claiborne County: Traditions and Change in a Rural Southern County. Mississippi Cultural Crossroads, 1999.