Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

A Swallow Press Book

Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement

By Suzi Parron and Donna Sue Groves

A Swallow Press Book

Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement

By Suzi Parron and Donna Sue Groves

Silver Medalist in ForeWord’s Book of the Year Awards competition, Crafts & Hobbies category

“Barn quilts are America, Mom, and apple pie. If a long, long driving trip is not in your near future to view all these wonderful, creative, sometimes-eccentric works of art, pick up this book. It’s current events and living history, educational, fun, and—most of all—inspiring.”

Seminole Sampler

“Parron’s striking photographs and narrative of her journey on the Quilt Trail bring out the personal and community meaning behind quilts…. The book does justice to its subject, through the charm of its photographs and the many interesting stories behind this public art movement.”

Now & Then: The Appalachian Magazine

“Parron's book covers the decade-long history of barn quilt trails and how the fever spread from Adams County, Ohio into 27 states. Since publication, Parron has followed its progress and states that feature the quilt trail has now reached 45 states. As the book unfolds, Parron relates human stories and anecdotes that help readers realize that the barn quilts are so much more than pieces of wood, paint and pretty patterns.”

Acreage Life Magazine

“(W)hat we have here is a larger, older, and all-encompassing American story about how we make claims to places, how we maintain community, and how we uphold shared values…. To tell this story, as Parron and Groves have so thoughtfully done, is to illuminate the extraordinary beauty that often comes from…community and nation-building tasks.”

Northwest Ohio History

The story of the American Quilt Trail, featuring the colorful patterns of quilt squares painted large on barns throughout North America, is the story of one of the fastest-growing grassroots public arts movements in the United States and Canada. In Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement Suzi Parron takes us to twenty-five states as well as Canada to visit the people and places that have put this movement on America’s tourist and folk art map.

Through dozens of interviews with barn quilt artists, committee members, and barn owners, Parron documents a journey that began in 2001 with the founder of the movement, Donna Sue Groves. Groves’s desire to honor her mother with a quilt square painted on their barn became a group effort that eventually grew into a county-wide project. Today, quilt squares form a long imaginary clothesline, appearing on more than three thousand barns scattered along one hundred and twenty driving trails.

With more than eighty full-color photographs, Parron documents here a movement that combines rural economic development with an American folk art phenomenon.

Suzi Parron is a quilter, a folk art collector, and an avid kayaker. A native of Florida, Suzi has no stationary home, traveling by RV with her husband, Glen, as she speaks to quilters and civic groups across the country.   More info →

Donna Sue Groves launched the Ohio Quilt Barn Project in 2001. She was formerly the Southern Ohio field coordinator for Ohio’s Appalachian Arts Initiative and the Southern Ohio field representative for the Ohio Arts Council. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2010 Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts in Community Development and Partnerships.   More info →

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Retail price: $29.95, T.
Release date: January 2012
84 illus. · 244 pages · 8 × 10 in.
Rights:  World

Release date: January 2012
84 illus. · 244 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement

“(Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement) is everything that a lover of traditional folk culture could desire. … The reader meets dozens of local heroines (and heroes) who organized the Trails in their communities.”

The Barn Journal

“Parron and Groves have documented these trails with full-color photographs that show how imaginative many artists have become, incorporating butterflies, horses, flags, and other natural and man-made designs within the more abstract geometries of traditional barn quilts. The text profiles many of the artists whose work dazzlingly enlivens America’s farm country.”


“A great book to use as a reference to plan a trip or to simply learn more about the (barn quilt) movement and take in the beauty of some of the creations that grace county roads and highways throughout North America.”

The Budget

“Bravo to Suzi Parron and Donna Sue Groves for bringing to light the colorful and rich history of the barn quilt movement. It’s a tale of heart, hope, and deep rural roots…roots that started in Adams County but spread quickly across the land. Parron’s deep research and Donna Sue’s love of the subject provide a unique chapter in America’s art history. Happily, a country road is no longer the same.”

Doug Weaver, publisher, Kansas City Star Books

“Barn quilts are a perfect fit with our area; they are an excellent companion to the other ag-tourism opportunities in Green County. This has been a great project because it ties the entire county together with an artistic rural theme, promotes county-wide pride, and gets our visitors to all the communities for a true adventure in exploring the roads less traveled along the way.”

Noreen Rueckert, Green County, WI Tourism

“The barn quilt project is one of the most successful and satisfying projects we’ve ever been involved with and we’re excited that this book documents the spread of this creative idea across our nation and beyond.”

Harold and Sue Peyton, Sac County, Iowa

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