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Amish Quilts and the Crafting of Diverse Traditions

When it comes to Amish quilts, the museum-going public has become primarily familiar with quilts the Amish have long referred to as “old dark quilts” and many collectors, curators, critics, and dealers have called them “classic Amish quilts.” In fact, many Amish quiltmakers have made quilts that do not look distinctly Amish to outsiders; these less familiar Amish quilts share much in common with the diverse quiltmaking traditions of dominant American culture, which grew out of nineteenth- and twentieth-century industrialization and consumer culture. In “Amish Quilts and the Crafting of Diverse Traditions,” Janneken Smucker, historian and Amish quilt scholar, explores the design, production, and culture of Amish quiltmaking, and examines the diversity and adaptive nature of this craft.