eUpdates

Join our email listserv and receive monthly updates on the latest titles.

Hopkins Fulfillment Services

Amish Quilts

Hardback
, 288 pages

101 color photos, 5 b&w photos

ISBN:
9781421410531
October 2013
$34.95

Availability?

Available

Availability Text

Usually ships 2-3 business days after receipt of order.

Amish Quilts

Crafting an American Icon

Quilts have become a cherished symbol of Amish craftsmanship and the beauty of the simple life. Country stores in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and other tourist regions display row after row of handcrafted quilts—a favorite souvenir for tourists and a source of income for the quilters. In luxury homes, office buildings, and museums, the quilts have been preserved and displayed as priceless artifacts. They are even pictured on collectible stamps. Amish Quilts explores how these objects evolved from practical bed linens into contemporary art.

In this in-depth study, illustrated with more than 100 stunning color photographs, Janneken Smucker discusses what makes an Amish quilt Amish. She examines the value of quilts to those who have made, bought, sold, exhibited, and preserved them and how that value changes as a quilt travels from Amish hands to marketplace to consumers.

A fifth-generation Mennonite quiltmaker herself, Smucker traces the history of Amish quilts from their use in the late nineteenth century to their sale in the lucrative business practices of today. Through her own observations as well as oral histories, newspaper accounts, ephemera, and other archival sources, she seeks to understand how the term "Amish" became a style and what it means to both quiltmakers and consumers. She also looks at how quilts influence fashion and raises issues of authenticity of quilts in the marketplace.

Whether considered as art, craft, or commodity, Amish quilts reflect the intersections of consumerism and connoisseurship, religion and commerce, nostalgia and aesthetics. By thoroughly examining all of these aspects, Amish Quilts is an essential resource for anyone interested in the history of these beautiful works.

Janneken Smucker is an assistant professor of history at West Chester University. She is coauthor of Amish Abstractions: Quilts from the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brown and Amish Crib Quilts from the Midwest: The Sara Miller Collection. She is also a quiltmaker.

"Just as people who buy the New Yorker for its cartoons feel they’ve gotten their money’s worth without reading beyond the punch lines, readers may take this up for the pictures alone: they are sumptuous... [Smucker] writes appealingly and clearly, always defining quilt jargon and explaining cultural mores as she tells of the seemingly humble Amish quilts and the people who have loved them."

"The gap between what artisans intend and what dealers and owners come to believe is entertainingly conveyed in this study by the textiles historian Janneken Smucker ... The book is timely since the history of folk art collection is under scrutiny."

"Janneken Smucker offers a comprehensive study of Amish quilts in context, placing them beyond the Brethren communities into the wider world of commerce and culture. She insightfully explores the Amish quilt and its role among critics and galleries, dealers and pickers, hired seamstresses, folk art gurus, and American mythmakers."

"This book is a landmark not only in the field of quilt history but also in American social history. The author traces the cultural biography of Amish quilts from the hands of their makers to the hands of their collectors, with many stops in between. The extraordinary color plates reveal the beauty of Amish quilts, while the impeccably researched text reveals the complexity of this craft tradition."

"Smucker’s excellent book is beautifully written and will significantly advance the scholarship in quilt studies and, more broadly, material culture studies and art history. This is the book that will stand as the authoritative text on Amish quiltmaking."

"Janneken Smucker has woven together facts about a fascinating and complex people—their history and their quilts—and has completely pulled back the curtain (or should I say quilt?), like no one else before to reveal the inside history about collecting and commerce of these prized objects. This is a book many of us have been waiting for."

"Smucker's engaging writing style and keen sense of American history and consumerism makes this book suitable for academic libraries that service art and fashion programs, textile collections and museums, and public repositories in communities where craft is integral to daily life."

"The story of the rise of Amish quilts tells us more about the values of the art world than it does about the Amish. Yet it is a story that reminds us that constraint fosters creativity, and scarcity creates desire."

Related Links

Related Books