Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mid Western Art: Barn Quilts

        For the past week I have been visiting my Mothers parents who live in the "heartland" of the United States, in  an old farming town called Dension, Iowa. Dension is best known for being the hometown of Donna Reed an actress in the 1946 film It's A Wonderful Life. They even have a Donna Reed festival every year which is made complete with the Denision hollywood sign.

Photo by: Collin Burnett

          The viewing of barn quilts came as we traveled across the state of Iowa from Dension to Okoboji. Okoboji is a resort town in the great lakes region of Iowa. Okoboji is home to a small amusement park called Arnolds Park. It is also famous for a university that does not exist. Though I was not informed of this before our visit, which began with browsing The Three Sons store. The Three Sons store is a very peculiar store as it is just this poorly put together barn stuffed full of name brands. As I wandered this odd store I noticed clothing branded with Okoboji University; I did not think much of it. Though, I did find it odd that my family seemed so interested in the clothing though no one had attended the university. It was not until I innocently asked my grandfather "How big the university was?" that I found out it was all a sham. Apparently three brothers (hence the store name) started making branded clothing bearing the below seal in the 70's it caught on and is still a running joke. So next time you see an Okoboji University sweatshirt you will be in on the joke too.

So know back to barn quilts. Barn quilts are not made out of fabric but are wooden squares that are painted to resemble quilt like patterns. They are sometimes created to honor a particular person or simply for embellishment. I found these quilts simply fascinating as each is slightly different, yet all are beautiful in there simplicity of shapes and colors. I hope you enjoy the simple beauty of a barn quilt as much as I did.

American Pride

The Barn Quilt pictured below was part of the Sac County Barn Quilt Map

A Less Traditional Quilt

Flower Pot Quilt

A Quilt on the Side of a Nursing Home

Artistic Grain Silos 

Simply American Farm

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