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Hummingbirds Quilt
Artist unidentified

Location: Shipshewana, Indiana, United States

Date: 1920–1930

Materials: Cotton

Dimensions: Frame Dimension: 87 3/4 × 68 1/4"

Credit: Gift of David Pottinger

Accession Number: 1980.37.69

Photo credit: Schecter Lee

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Description

In the early 1920s, black became a favorite color in Midwestern Amish quilts, especially as a background. Sometimes, a dark blue was chosen instead. Both colors provided a strong contrast to the bold reds, yellows, blues, greens, and other hues that the quiltmakers frequently selected for their patterns and that were often used in Amish clothing, especially children’s dresses and shirts.

Stacy C. Hollander, "Hummingbirds Quilt," exhibition label for QUILTS: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum. Stacy C. Hollander, curator. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2010.


Hummingbirds Quilt
Date: 1920–1930
Artist:
Dimensions: Frame Dimension: 87 3/4 × 68 1/4"
Materials: Cotton
Credit Line: Gift of David Pottinger
Place/Region: United States, Shipshewana
Description: As this quilt demonstrates, Amish women produced graphic quilts in bold, uninhibited color combinations that dazzle the eye and perhaps confuse those who think of the Amish as the “plain people.” However, since Amish laws of conduct, which govern almost every aspect of their lives, do not refer specifically to quilts, women were not prevented from combining the deep jewel tones and vivid pastels they favored with the more somber—and expected—dark shades. Although there are many similarities among Amish quilts made in Pennsylvania and the Midwest—geometric patterns, solid-colored fabrics, and double borders are common on quilts made in all the communities—there are also significant differences. Quilts from Lancaster County tend to be made of large pieces of very fine wool fabrics. Quilts from the other communities are more likely to be of cotton. Midwestern quilts are also usually made in block-work patterns, designs that can be pieced in separate blocks and then sewn together to form the quilt top. Perhaps the greatest difference between Amish quilts made in the Midwest and from Pennsylvania, however, is the greater number of patterns, both borrowed from the outside world and originating in the Amish communities, found in the Midwest. The Amish in the Midwest generally do not live in such concentrated communities as their counterparts in Pennsylvania, and consequently they have more exposure to the outside world and its influences. Because of the slightly less restrictive nature of life in some Midwestern Amish communities, there may have been greater freedom to experiment with quilt patterns.
Accession Number: 1980.37.69
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