Amish[ edit ] Amish quilts are reflections of the Amish way of life. As a part of their religious commitment, Amish people have chosen to reject "worldly" elements in their dress and lifestyle, and their quilts historically reflected this, although today Amish make and use quilts in a variety of styles.
Classic Amish quilts often feature quilting patterns that contrast with the plain background. Antique Amish quilts are among the most highly prized by collectors and quilting enthusiasts, the color combinations used in a quilt can help experts determine the community in which the quilt was produced.
Since the s, Amish quiltmakers have made quilts for the consumer market, with quilt cottage industries and retail shops appearing in Amish settlements across North America.
Baskets of flowers, wreaths, buildings, books, and birds are common motifs. Designs are often highly detailed, and display the quiltmaker's skill. New dyeing techniques became available in this period, allowing the creation of new, bold colors, which the quilters used enthusiastically.
New techniques for printing on the fabrics also allowed portions of fabric to be shaded, which heightens the three-dimensional effect of the designs, the background fabric is typically white or off-white, allowing maximal contrast to the delicate designs.
India ink allowed handwritten accents and also allowed the blocks to be signed.
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Some of these quilts were created by professional quilters, and patrons could commission quilts made of new blocks, or select blocks that were already available for sale. There has been a resurgence of quilting in the Baltimore style, with many of the modern quilts experimenting with bending some of the old rules.
Crazy quilting Crazy quilts are so named because their pieces are not regular, and they are scattered across the top of the quilt like "crazed" cracked or crackled pottery glazing.
They were originally very refined, luxury items. Geometric pieces of rich fabrics were sewn together, and highly decorative embroidery was added, such quilts were often effectively samplers of embroidery stitches and techniques, displaying the development of needle skills of those in the well-to-do late 19th-century home. They were show pieces, not used for warmth, but for display, the luxury fabrics used precluded frequent washing.
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They often took years to complete. Fabrics used included silks, wools, velvet, linen, and cotton, the mixture of fabric textures, such as a smooth silk next to a textured brocade or velvet, was embraced. Designs were applied to the surface, and other elements such as ribbons, lace, and decorative cording were used exuberantly. Names and dates were often part of the design, added to commemorate important events or associations of the maker. Politics were included in some, with printed campaign handkerchiefs and other preprinted textiles such as advertising silks included to declare the maker's sentiments.
Harriet Powers ' bible quilt By the time that early African-American quilting became a tradition in and of itself, it was already a combination of textile traditions from four civilizations of Central and West Africa: As textiles were traded heavily throughout the Caribbean, Central America, and the Southern United States, the traditions of each distinct region became intermixed.
Originally, most of the textiles were made by men. Yet when slaves were brought to the United States, their work was divided according to Western patriarchal standards and women took over the tradition. However, this strong tradition of weaving left a visible mark on African-American quilting, the use of strips, reminiscent of the strips of reed and fabric used in men's traditional weaving, are used in fabric quilting.
A break in a pattern symbolized a rebirth in the ancestral power of the creator or wearer, it also helped keep evil spirits away; evil is believed to travel in straight lines and a break in a pattern or line confuses the spirits and slows them down.
This tradition is highly recognizable in African-American improvisations on European-American patterns, the traditions of improvisation and multiple patterning also protect the quilter from anyone copying their quilts.
These traditions allow for a strong sense of ownership and creativity. Cotton, synthetics Brooklyn Museum In the s, concurrent with the boom in art quilting in America, new attention was brought to African-American traditions and innovations, this attention came from two opposing points of view, one validating the practices of rural Southern African-American quilters and another asserting that there was no one style but rather the same individualization found among white quilters.
The African-American Presence in American Quilts in and organized an exhibition documenting the contributions of black quilters to mainstream American quilting. African-American Story Quilts, an exhibition featuring a different approach to quilts, including most prominently the quilts of Faith Ringgold. However, it was not until , when the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston , organized The Quilts of Gee's Bend, an exhibition that appeared in major museums around the country, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, that art critics unknowingly adopted Leon's assertions.
Collection of Bill Volckening, Portland, Oregon. Pictorial quilts[ edit ] Pictorial Quilt, Brooklyn Museum Pictorial quilts are interesting in that they often contain one-of-a-kind patterns and imagery.
Instead of bringing together fabric in an abstract or patterned design, they use pieces of fabric to create objects on the quilt, resulting in a picture-based quilt, they were often made collaboratively as a fundraising effort. However, some pictorial quilts were individually created and tell a narrative through the images on the quilt, some pictorial quilts consist of many squares, sometimes made by multiple people, while others have imagery that utilizes the entirety of quilt.
Pictorial quilts were created in the United States, as well as in England and Ireland, beginning as early as Brooklyn Museum Main article: Multiple colors were added over time as the tradition developed.
Native American star quilts[ edit ] Star Quilts are a Native-American form of quilting that arose among native women in the late 19th century as communities adjusted to the difficulties of reservation life and cultural disruption. They are made by many tribes, but came to be especially associated with Plains tribes, including the Lakota.
While star patterns existed in earlier European-American forms of quilting, they came to take on special significance for many native artisans.
Anthropologists such as Bea Medicine have documented important social and cultural connections between quilting and earlier important pre-reservation crafting traditions, such as women's quill-working societies  and other crafts that were difficult to sustain after hunting and off-reservation travel was restricted by the US government.
Star quilts have also become a source of income for many Native-American women, while retaining spiritual and cultural importance to their makers.
Seminole[ edit ] Created by the Native Americans of southern Florida, Seminole strip piecing is based on a simple form of decorative patchwork. Seminole strip piecing has uses in quilts, wall hangings, and traditional clothing.
Seminole patchwork is created by joining a series of horizontal strips to produce repetitive geometric designs. Europe[ edit ] The history of quilting in Europe goes back at least to Medieval times. Quilting was used not only for traditional bedding but also for warm clothing. Clothing quilted with fancy fabrics and threads was often a sign of nobility.
British quilts[ edit ] Henry VIII of England 's household inventories record dozens of "quyltes" and "coverpointes" among the bed linen, including a green silk one for his first wedding to Catherine of Aragon , quilted with metal threads, linen-backed, and worked with roses and pomegranates. North Country quilts are often wholecloth quilts, featuring dense quilting, some are made of sateen fabrics, which further heightens the effect of the quilting.
One particularly famous surviving example, now in two parts, is the Tristan Quilt , a Sicilian -quilted linen textile representing scenes from the story of Tristan and Isolde and housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum and in the Bargello in Florence.
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