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Pattern and Paradox: The Quilts of Amish Women

Pattern and Paradox reveals the astonishing creativity, design innovation, and skill of Amish women from communities across the United States, through fifty premier quilts made between 1880 and 1940.

Pattern and Paradox: The Quilts of Amish Women celebrates the Faith and Stephen Brown collection of Amish Quilts at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Assembled over the span of five decades, these fifty extraordinary examples expand our understanding of the distinctive aesthetics that Amish women shaped within and for their communities, and situate Amish quilts within the larger scope of quilts in America as well as within the American art story. In the main essay, Janneken Smucker—professor, historian and scholar of Amish quilts and culture—explains what unites and distinguishes the Amish and their arts and describes the sometimes fine line between personal artistry and communal practice. Her insightful text illuminates the ways in which Amish quilt patterns overlap and diverge from community to community. Through a series of discursive entries, Smucker considers “visual clues” for reading and interpreting Amish quilts, which are often more complex and curious than they might first appear.

This lavishly illustrated book will appeal to quilt enthusiasts, quilters and crafters, scholars and art lovers alike, with photography detailing fronts, backs and stitching of these breathtaking quilts. Paperback, 160 pages.

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