There’s More to Those Quilts on Barns in Connecticut Than Just Looking Pretty
Quilts have meanings and stories. Sure, snuggling up with them is comfy and cozy however they're generally made with a meaning behind them.
These barn quilts so many of us see driving around Connecticut, especially in the more rural areas or near the many horse farms, are actually paintings all in perfect squares, diagonal patterns, colors, and symbols, according to Taste of Home. Just like grandma's quilt lying on the couch or in the guest room, these quilts are most likely rooted in family tradition and have personal meaning.
Oh, and get this: they're also all about a grassroots project for tourism and the arts now.
Taste of Home says these painted quilts on various barns not just in Connecticut, New York, and all over New England but anywhere across the country are quite new. It all started in 2001 by a woman honoring her mother.
Donna Sue Groves painted a quilt on her Ohio barn to pay tribute to her mother who was a dedicated quilter. People were so intrigued that Donna Sue worked with the Ohio Arts Council not long after according to Barn Quilt Info and the tradition spread across the country.
Donna Sue's tribute to her mother Maxine's Appalachian heritage became a folk art tour, as other families painted quilts representing their family heritage in the area. Then barn quilt tours became a thing in her area, regional, and soon nationally.
Donna Sue's inspiration has now created quilt trails in 48 states and Canada. People drive the countryside following a quilt map to see these beautiful, meaningful quilts on barns.
This simple idea has resulted in more than 7,000 quilts. Of course, there are plenty of barns with quilts that aren't part of any art tour but rather just love the idea of paying tribute to family heritage with a painted quilt.
Now, some believe these painted quilts started in Europe and migrated to Amish country however, according to Barn Quilt Info, there's no documentation that barn quilts existed before Donna Sue. Her touching gesture continues to create a movement and inspiration for what has become the largest grassroots public arts movement in the US and Canada.
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Gallery Credit: Ethan Carey