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Louise Donovan - Quilt - Amish Abstraction    
Louise Donovan - Quilt - Amish Abstraction
The Story Of This Quilt
Amish Abstraction by Louise Donovan.

This is an ongoing piece of work – it is quilted when I’m not engaged in a major project. One of the early influences in my work were the powerful quilts of the Amish.

I was also attracted to their way of life and their pacifism. I have held, by instinct, a pacifist view before I even knew what this was. At teacher training college in the early 70s, I sold white poppies in the lead up to Remembrance Day. My father had had an extraordinary war record. He was in the RAF and flew many more high risk missions than he was expected to survive. He was awarded the DFC and bar. One of his ex RAF friends saw me selling the white poppies and publicly told me off, saying I should be ashamed after all my father did. He went home and told my father what I was doing, remarking that he “needed to sort Louise out”. My father’s response was to say, “I did what I did in the war so that my daughter would have the right to do what she is doing.” I heard this story separately from both of them.

There was also a time when an Amish community in Pennsylvania suffered a tragedy when a gunman broke into their school and shot and killed several of the pupils and one teacher. Their response was remarkable in that they realized that the killer’s family were also victims and reached out to them. This story has been turned into a book and a film.

The Amish quilts are so powerful for me because of their use of plain fabrics and their beautiful, detailed quilting. They inspired my move into using plain fabrics and free-flowing quilting patterns – the circles that often appear for instance in my work.

Many years ago, I think as part of a subscription to a quilting magazine, I collected twelve packages of quilting fabrics each designed to make a 12 inch square block in a pattern used by the Amish. These could then be joined together to make a quilt. For many years they remained untouched. Then, two years ago, I decided to use these fabrics to create my own quilt design rather like I had when I created March for the Alternative.

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Louise Donovan - Quilt - Amish Abstraction Louise Donovan - Quilt - Amish Abstraction