This book is another great find on the New shelf on the second floor, where I was browsing recently. I have often admired the quilt squares I’ve seen on barns around Iowa, but assumed they were isolated pieces put up by quilt lovers and that it was just a happy coincidence that I’d caught sight of them. After reading Barn Quilts, I know that they are not there by accident, and I’m inspired by the story of how the American Quilt Trail movement came to be.
Author Suzi Parron has researched the origins of the quilt trails, followed the trails in numerous states and found beautiful art and heartwarming stories all along the way. The barn quilts often represent cooperation among state and local arts organizations, philanthropic groups, visitor bureaus, and local craftspeople and community members interested in sharing their art with all passersby.
The book is full of color pictures of barns with their quilt squares. It covers trails in eight, mostly midwestern states. In the chapter on Iowa, the counties represented include Grundy, Buchanan, Fayette, Humboldt, Sac and Washington. The quilt trail closest to us is in Washington County, the “Barn Quilt Capital of Iowa“. My only quibble with this lovely book is that there are no maps or website listings for the trails. However, a simple internet search for barn quilt trails in the counties named will deliver specific information on each county and maps that show the locations of the barns.
Barns and quilts, two art forms in their own right, go together beautifully as this book shows. Take a look at this history of a grassroots movement, and then take a drive down some country roads to see some unique midwestern art.