*** Amish Quilts by Janneken Smucker

Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon has many wonderful illustrations of beautiful Amish quilts, but it’s not a book for collectors, nor is it for crafters. Instead, it tell the story of how Amish quilts came into being in the first place, as a craft of abundance, as the author aptly calls it, not one that consisted in recycling scraps but rather one that used brand-new cloth, as a craft influenced greatly by the larger community around Amish settlements (because quilts have never been regulated by the Amish as other aspects of everyday life have been, famously so), and as a way for of passing on family traditions and designs. And then, it tells the story of how quilts, older, darker quilts became popular with collectors, creating a frenzy of buying and eventually the re-emergence of quiltmaking as a money-making venture for Amish women, and eventually, incongruously, by the Hmong refugees who were hired as subcontractors to create the very time-consuming objects.

A wonderful book, whether you get caught into the economic history or just stick to the pictures.


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