Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Amish Quilts in Ste.Marie-Aux-Mines, France

Tucked away in the picturesque Val d'Argent in Alsace France, Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines hosts the annual European Patchwork Meeting. As the name suggests, Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines was established as a mining town, however, it also had a thriving textile industry that was famous worldwide.  And it was in this unpretentious little town, hidden away in the valley of the Vosges Massif, led by Jacob Amman, that the Amish movement was born in 1693. In view of this history, this is the perfect place for a quilt show, which celebrates artistry with fabrics, and in particular, for an exhibition of Amish Quilts.

Driving towards Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines in the foothills of the Vosges Massif.

A quiet little village church on the outskirts of town.

A profusion of  brightly coloured flowers burst out of window boxes, adding colour and charm to these medieval buildings.

Throughout the town, a variety of buildings had been transformed into galleries for the week. Walking into town, towards the main venue, the first exhibit that we came upon was the Amish exhibit. Here, a church acted as "gallery", which seemed a very fitting venue for Amish quilts.

To attract and welcome guests, an Amish clothesline had been hung in the yard of the church. Referring to themselves as "plain people", the Amish dress in simple, plain clothing and often, it would be these worn out clothes that were used to make the early quilts.

The church provided the perfect backdrop for the quilts.

"Diamond in the Square"
 An Amish wool wedding quilt made in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1920 by Rebecca Z. Huyard. It was described as "perfect simplicity".

"Broken Star"
The wedding quilt of Elsie Otto. Made of cotton in 1960 in Topeka, Indiana.

A wool wedding quilt made by Sarah Hayward King in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1943.

"Log Cabin - Barn Raising"
Made by Clara Bontrager in Indiana in 1998 using antique wool and crepe.

"Trip Around the World"
1880 - Pennsylvania.

Special events, like this horse and buggy ride, were available for visitors to explore the town.

My next blog will feature some of the other exhibits at the European Patchwork Meeting in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, including the Canadian Exhibition, and artists such as Libby Lehman, Di Ford, Kathy Doughty, etc.


  1. Wow, I did not know that the Amish movement originated in France. I guess it is pretty close to the Swiss and German borders there. And the borders were probably all different back then anyway.

    Thank you for the beautiful photos! I love the "Bars" quilt. Something to aspire to. :)

  2. I too had no idea that theAmish got their start in France. Each of those quilts is exquisite. I can only imagine what it must have been like to see them in person.

  3. I was surprised as well that there are Amish in northern France. At their quilt exhibit, a number of their members were there to talk about the quilts and about the Amish history. It was very informative and interesting.

  4. I will be going there in september of this year! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Cinzia. Thanks for checking in. You will have a wonderful time in Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines. I will not be able to be there in 2013, but I will be back at some point. Make sure you leave a little time to enjoy the area around Ste. Marie and enjoy!