One Patch/Checkerboard

February, 2017

One Patch/Checkerboard

Maker unknown

Circa 1900-1920
United States
Machine pieced, hand quilted
Ardis & Robert James Collection, 1997.007.0469

This quilt also appears in “Amish Quilts and the Crafting of Diverse Traditions,” which is showing at Quilt House through February 4. According to the exhibition label:

“The Esprit clothing company, founded in San Francisco in the early 1970s, became home to a significant collection of Amish quilts after its co-founder, Doug Tompkins, visited the landmark 1971 exhibit, “Abstract Design in American Quilts” at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Tompkins was smitten, and he bought his first quilt that year—a red and white baskets quilt. His next two quilts were Amish, a Center Diamond and a Sunshine and Shadow, both from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.”

By the late 1970s quilts filled the walls of Esprit’s headquarters, which it opened to visitors to take self-guided tours. Tompkins eventually limited his collecting exclusively to Amish quilts, favoring the strong graphics and simplicity of the Lancaster County community. With these great pieces of design all around them, Esprit’s designers no doubt drew inspiration from the quilts. 

You can learn more about this and other quilts on our newly launched website, World Quilts: The Amish Story. Funding for this online exhibition was made possible by Humanities Nebraska and the Robert and Ardis James Foundation.