Thursday, October 11, 2012

raise a barn???

 last night i watched some tv ...
yep ... sometimes i can sit still enough!
the ABC is hosting a series called:
its a BBC production about a group of 6 young Brits who go & live with 
for the short term, some Amish families ...
what i saw was fabulous & inspiring
here's a definition of sorts .... of who the Amish are etc if 
you're not sure what & who this is all about
so naturally it had me reflecting
these photos were taken 10 years ago
i have two American SIL's & one is from PA
above is a monestory of sorts that i was actually re-visiting
the previous time it was covered in a magical blanket of snow & i was 16!
below are some of the amazing farms that are mostly run with the
traditional Amish low-tech approach to living
the Amish live in simple God-serving faith based communities
the episode was all about one family's preparations
& the way their community came together for a traditional
it was wonderful & for the young Brits with all their more 'modern'
neutral attitudes came to appreciate & celebrate & gain some understanding
an amazing anthopological study
... i'll be watching more
giggle alert ..... i actually flicked over from "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" 
..... i couldn't stop thinking about all the
amazing parralels that both communities hold
& all the obvious physical differences
(i do think generally speaking the "Travelers" are mostly misunderstood!)
so yeah back to the Amish ....
it was my before mentioned teenage opportunity to visit the Amish areas
that had me at "quilt" 
& some influences....
the fact that my father is still completely enthralled
by not just the Amish but also the Mennonites & the Anabaptists,
the way they worship, the way they live & support each other in community
the way their physical needs are met with beauty in simplicity
and dad, being an architect so interested in the way this simplicity translates into their worship spaces
... & also way back then my mum too was also being influenced
she was largely into making reflective banners for special church services
& this appreciation & passion for all things textiles also embraced
the very Amish custom of creating amazing quilts
 .... my parents have subtly had a great influence on my own interest
as a little side note .... did you know that
Rembrandt .... yes I mean the Dutch master
was an Anabaptist .... 
its little known & my dad has written an amazing paper on the subject
he presented it to an assembly of Baptists in Holland!! true ...
so enter stage left .... the above quilt hanging in the 
Lancaster County Amish Infomation Center 
in the town of Intercourse .... 
do you remember the movie "Witness" .... (yes, the town is really named that!!)
back to the quilt .... its lovely hey
its a basic log cabin & really is the best place to start if you're considering quilting
or maybe simple squares .... 
or nah ... just jump in & make wonky stars!!
i love that tradition comes full circle sometimes
can you see not only the individual blocks but also the use of light & dark shades
each block is really just a large half square triangle
traditionally the amish women make their own dresses
these dresses are plain in their design & are of one solid colour
so of course we all know that when you sew clothing there are lots of great scraps to be had!!
when you live a simple life you waste nothing
i have had this wonderful book for a long time
its been my point of reference 
"Beautiful Quilts Amish & Mennonite"
By Katharine Guerrier
 it was my starting point a very very long time ago to make this quilt
it wasn't my first ever quilt
but one of the very early ones
there are many mistakes but that is the human-ness
when i reflect on this quilt i remember the place where i lived
where i sewed my friends my family the stories
i obviously haven't stuck with plain solids but i can tell you that quite a few of these fabrics 
were true life scraps from clothing i had made ... it tells my story
i hand quilted it & including the hearts in the centres of the red squares

the Amish are big believers in their large extended family & community
& i think there is something to be learned ....
"When we just live for ourselves
we don't have a connection with our community"
the commnent was that
the Barn ...
that was raised by hand with three solid timber frames each weighing more than 6 tonnes each
the Barn... stands as a constant reminder of what can be achieved if we all stand together
... so what is your Barn????

PS - Did you noticed the name of this log cabin design???
how about that hey .... only mine isn't quite true ...


Karen said...

There's so much to love about the Amish ethos of living isn't there. The simplicity must at times produce difficulties, but also would be so refreshing I think.
I believe strongly in being part of community in engaging fully and giving back to the community you live in.
One thing I have loved about being home with the kids is I have got to know a number of our neighbors better, and I feel more connected as a result.
People In need of support should have that offered unconditionally, not so they feel there is a need for the favors to be returned.
It's all karma I guess.
Great post. x

thornberry said...

I really enjoyed this post too Wendy, on many different levels. You've given me some more food for thought - and I'll be watching that series on iview!

Leah said...

Im not the only one then, that has this facination! there is a new program on foxtel at the moment about the kids who leave the Amish faith and how they servive in the "english" world thats what outsiders are called and last night was about a girl 16 who wanted to go into the amish faith, great it all. So simple and back to roots.
great post Wendy!