Geometry Amish Quilts
In the Neutrogena Wing
Sunday September 2, 2013
The exhibition explores the aesthetics of Amish quilts
by considering what the quilting tradition grew out of
and how they changed in a changing world. Approximately
35 quilts from the museum and local collectors' collections
illustrate religious proscriptions, westward migration,
and interaction with 'English' neighbors. (Photo, right:
Diamond in square, Lancaster Co. PA, c. 1925, gift of
Stuart and Cindy Hodosh)
The Amish practice a conservative form of Protestantism.
A set of rules that vary with each community govern all
aspects of behavior including what colors are permissible
to wear and what toys children are allowed. Community
life is based on simplicity, and obedience, Amish quilts
reflect this value of simplicity. Often made from the
same bolts of dark solid color fabric used for family
clothing we dont see print fabric or decorative
imagery. Nonetheless there was remarkably intricate needlework
complex swirls, curves, and grids most notably on
the early quilts.
in the exhibit illustrate the changes in everyday life
that occurred when families moved west and established
communities in Ohio, Indiana, and other Midwestern states.
A somber color palette gave way to brighter colors and
more complex pieced patterns. The use of cotton or wool
fabrics, border width, and color choice were regionally
specific as well and color preferences differed according
to settlement and time period.
Some quilt designs on view will be Diamond in Square
and Bars. These large-piece patterns are related to an
even earlier form called whole cloth quilts that were
not pieced but made from one-color cloth. These quilts
are the most recognizably Amish with their strong contrasting
colors and fine quilting. The Pennsylvania Amish continued
creating these patterns long after their brethren left
for lands further west.
Also on view will be crib and doll quilts. These were
made by an expectant mother or grandmother to welcome
a new baby into the world. Crib quilts were more frequently
made in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois than in Lancaster
It is noteworthy that Amish quilts, appreciated and collected
today as an art form, were originally intended as utilitarian
objects made by isolated groups of women to accord with
strict religious precepts.
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Sunday March 3, 2013
"The Amish in America: Old Orders in
the New World" Talk by Steve Nolt, Ph.D.
2 - 4 p.m.
Reception hosted by the Museum of New
Mexico Women's Board. By Museum admission, New Mexico residents
FREE on SUNDAYS.
WEDNESDAY APRIL 17
Join textile Conservator Rebecca Tinkham Hewett for her
talk "Your Textiles Treasures: Basic Care and Feeding."
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition PLAIN GEOMETRY
AMISH QUILTS. By Museum admission, New Mexico resident
seniors (60 & up) FREE on Wednesdays.
Planning for Summer Programming is underway!
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