Amish quilts are recognized for their impeccable quality and striking, intricate designs. The craft began as a way for frugal housewives to use leftover scraps of fabric material but quickly became much more. While quilts serve the purpose of providing warmth, the process of sewing them blossomed into an opportunity for women to connect and be entertained while providing an outlet for an abundance of creativity. Amish quilts represent not only the humility and sobriety of Amish lifestyle, but they also embody community.
Many of the quilts in American Quilts from the Collection are part of a larger collection that was acquired from local Amish communities by David Pottinger, who donated his collection to FWMoA in 1992. Pottinger’s gift marked the first quilts in the FWMoA collection. Many in his collection originate with the Amish families of LaGrange County, Indiana.
Pottinger was the owner of a local plastics manufacturing firm and collector of American antiques. As he purchased his quilts directly from the families, Pottinger was able to learn the unique story of each quilt: who made it and for whom, and the occasion for its creation. Our collection today includes almost 60 examples of this unique American art form, representing the quilting talent of Northeast Indiana’s Amish community. Dating to the 1840s, the Amish of our area represent one of the largest communities of its kind in the United States.