PA Books Interview

mountain mist 2003_003_0108 detail small
Basket of Flowers, Mountain Mist #K, unknown Amish maker, attributed to Ohio, c. 1935. International Quilt Study Center & Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2003.003.0108


Update: the video is no longer available to view, but PCN archives the interviews as podcasts available on iTunes. It’s #65 on the list.

I’m delighted that my interview with Brian Lockman on PCN’s PA Books is available to stream for a limited time. We discuss my new book, Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon, particularly the interaction of Amish with the outside world–first in the 19th century when Amish quiltmakers learned to make quilts, and later in the late 20th century when outsiders “discovered” Amish quilts.

Brian asked a great question about how Amish women started making quilts. Since we still lack that missing link–perhaps a diary by a Amish, Quaker, or Welsh woman describing how the craft was passed on–we can only theorize that Amish women in communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana experimented with quiltmaking techniques, adopting and adapting them from other German speaking neighbors, more worldly co-religionists, or members of other religious and ethnic communities.

We also talked about how Amish women used commercially published patterns available through the Farmer’s Wife, Ladies Art Company, or through Mountain Mist batting company. Just as members of dominant society embraced the pattern explosion of the early 20th century, Amish women eagerly adapted patterns, creating quilts that blended an Amish aesthetic with the commercially available designs.

PA Books has posted the interview online for a limited time only, and it will enter their rotation on cable television across Pennsylvania on February 16, 2014.