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Colours in Amish Quilts
University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Institutionen för Bildpedagogik (BI).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8125-4496
2015 (English)In: Proceedings of AIC 2014 - Interim Meeting: Color, Culture and Identity: Past, Present and Future / [ed] Georgina Ortiz, Citlali Ortiz, Rodrigo Ramírez., Mexico City: AMEXINC , 2015, 141-147 p.Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Amish religious movement have its roots in the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The Amish people are anabaptists and have strict rules for their way of life. They were persecuted in Europe and Amish groups emigrated to Pennsylvania. Today the most traditional part of the movement – the Old Amish People – lives in Lancaster County west of Philadelphia, USA. This paper describs a study of the colours in Old Amish Quilts, traditional Amish patchwork quilts used as bed covers. The patches are single-coloured fabric pieces forming clear symmetrical patterns with deep and strong colours. The quilts are important in Amish culture; they are made for the bride’s wedding chest. Nowadays traditional Amish quilts also are made for turists as wall decorations – “wallhangings”.

The selection of quilts for my survey consists of five Old Amish Quilts from Lancaster Heritage Museum and The American Quilt Study Group, 15 quilts, at that time, belonging to The Esprit Collection and eight new quilts with traditional patterns (wallhangings). The colour analysis was carried out using Natural Colour System (NCS) with the aim of identifying general principles for selection of colours.

The analysis shows that most hues are located in the lower part of the colour circle ・from red (R) to green (G), and most nuances - with relatively high degree of blackness or chromaticness - in the lower part of the colour triangle. Colour choice is often dependent on moral or religious preferences. For example, in quilts from Lancaster County, yellowish colours are - as representing ・hochmut・ (arrogance) - regarded as bad colour choice.

The strong colours in Old Amish Quilts have no counterpart in public life. In Lancaster county Amish people wear black, brown and dark blue clothes and their wagons are black; colourfulness is restricted to the bedrooms and the private sphere.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Mexico City: AMEXINC , 2015. 141-147 p.
Keyword [en]
Amish Quilts, Colour, Textile
National Category
Design Textile, Rubber and Polymeric Materials
URN: urn:nbn:se:konstfack:diva-5376OAI: diva2:865389
The AIC Interim Meeting 2014 “Colors, Culture and Identity: Past, Present and Future”, 21-24 October 2014, Oaxaca, Mexico
Available from: 2015-10-28 Created: 2015-10-28 Last updated: 2015-12-02Bibliographically approved

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Homlong, Siri
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