A black diamond in the center is positioned within a lavender square surrounded by a pink frame. The entire is surrounded by thick frame of black.
This Amish quilt from the early twentieth century is an example of the use of geometric abstraction in popular folk art.
March 28 2009
The Amish set themselves apart from mainstream American society, adhering to rules set by a faith that limits interaction with the outside world and governs techniques, methods, and even styles of quilt making. Few Amish quilts were made prior to 1870; before this date they were often rejected as too modern. They have since become a defining art form for the Amish. Though later quilts were made for sale, quilts from the classic period of Amish quilting (1880–1950) were made for use within the community.
The various settlements in the United States had unique quilting styles. The “Diamond in the Square” pattern was made only in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the oldest and most conservative community in the United States. It was one of just a handful of patterns—all geometrical—produced in Lancaster County. These quilts are typically made of a small number of large pieces of unpatterned wool or cotton in just a few colors. The bold piecing, which was executed on a foot powered sewing machine, stands in stark contrast to the intricate quilting stitches, done entirely by hand and often communally. The room for innovation within convention is often found in the choice of colors.