Amherst, NE - If you own a 92 year old barn, it makes sense that your first thought would be to put a large quilt block on it - well it did for Keith and Jan Rodehorst. The Rodehorst's of Harvest Moon Farms in Amherst, began seeing Barn Quilts as they travelled through Iowa a couple years ago. "I just knew I wanted to put one on our beautiful old barn" said Jan. "But I didn't know anything about them other than I thought they looked terrific, it wasn't until I did research on barn quilts that I really fell in love with the idea".
Barn Quilts were started in 2001 in Ohio by Donna Sue Groves. Donna wanted to honor her mother, a 5th generation quilter, and was determined to paint a barn quilt on an old tobacco barn on their property. Donna is active in the Ohio Arts Council and had experienced firsthand the power of public murals to produce social value, foster community pride and to serve as catalysts for economic development as a tourism destination. From her days as a child watching for advertising signs on barns during car trips, she thought the old barns in Ohio would be perfect for Barn Quilts. The Ohio Arts Council turned her idea into a project that has now spread to many states. In fact, there is now a National Quilt Trail that extends from Ohio, through Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, Iowa and Missouri.
In Nebraska there is not an organized group promoting barn quilts, but several individuals and groups have created barn quilts. There are individual projects in Pilger, Hartington, Wayne and North Bend Nebraska, as well as a school project in Elmwood-Murdock where the schools FBLA chapter has permission from 12 land owners to paint and install barn quilts. At this time they have completed about eight. Harvest Moon Farms Barn Quilt is the only Nebraska barn quilt located West of Lincoln at this time.
"To me, Barn Quilts represent the contribution of pioneer women. By attaching it our historic barns we honor the contributions of men and women to our agricultural heritage. This heritage is rich with the clearing of land, the raising of animals and the growth of agriculture as our state continues to be a major contributor to feeding the world. The contribution of women to that history is equally as important. Women in early agriculture were resourceful and creative in finding ways to care for and raise their families, cooking, cleaning and sewing clothing and bedding. They found quilts a way to express their creativity and create warm bedding for their family. Their quilts represented their lives, their world and the things they loved including family, faith and farms. They turned feed sacks and old clothing into patterns that reflected the world around them."
The majority of barn quilts are a single quilt block design painted on 8 X 8 ft. of wood and attached to older farm buildings. The Harvest Moon Farms Barn Quilt is the Rolling Star design, and the colors used were chosen to represent the pumpkins we grow, and the beautiful view of the Wood River Valley at Harvest Moon Farms.
About Harvest Moon Farms: Harvest Moon Farms is a seasonal agri-tourism destination, offering hayrack rides, pick-your-own pumpkins, farmyard activities, and a gift shop. Open each fall, providing fall fun for families, church groups, organizations and corporations. Approximately 2500 school children tour the farm each year to learn about farming, harvest and pumpkins. Located just 2 ½ miles West of Amherst Nebraska on Hwy 40, and ½ mile North on Dunbar Road. Owners Jan and Keith Rodehorst can be contacted at 308-826-3020 or by cell phone 308-440-0952. Their website is www.hmfarms.com. Photo's of the Barn Quilt can be seen on our website.
Additional Information on Barn Quilts:
Omaha World Herald, Sept 2nd Midlands Edition, author Leslie Reed. "Huge Quilt a Quirky Decoration for Barns"
Barn Quilts in Miami County: http://ourohio.org/index.php?page=barn-quilts-in-maimi -county
The Barn Quilts of Sac County Iowa: www.barnquilts.com/about.html
Clothesline of Quilts to Draw Tourists to Appalachian Culture: www.ca.uky.edu/AGC?NEWS/2005/Oct/quilts.htm
National Quilt Barn Trail: www.randesignscustomjewelry.com/history.html
These websites as well as others can be found by internet searches using keywords "Barn Quilts"