F****** Awesome Amish Quilts

What I must say first about the show “Amish Abstractions: Quilts from the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brown” at the de Young Museum in San Francisco is GO TWICE. There are quilts from the Amish communities of Lancaster, Pa., and Holmes County, Ohio. Most were made before 1940. A couple pieces are completely insane. Old Maid’s Puzzle (maker unknown) c.1930 from Holmes County, Ohio has a black circle in the center like a dilated pupil. The pattern uses small blocks bisected by curves to send a ripple out from that center point that looks like a diagram of radiation spreading out from a toxic event. Or, to read into the name of the pattern – a diagram of the fear of single girls. As with any established pattern, it’s the particular rotten sherbet palette of this piece that makes it scary. Also see a five-star version of Tumbling Blocks with a black and cornflower blue border, where the blocks are lit with lavender light coming from two directions at once. It makes you want a stabilizing drink, now. Clean living does weird things to people. Check it out.

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