From Fibers to Fieldwork: A Multifaceted Approach to Re-examining Amish Quilts


From Uncoverings 2006, Volume 27 of the Research Papers of the American Quilt Study Group


By: Nomura, Noa; Smucker, Janneken

Nao Nomura, a native of Tokyo, Japan, is the Collections Manager at the In­ternational Quilt Study Center (IQSC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and serves as Technical Analyst for the IQSC's cataloging project. She holds a BA in American Studies from Keisen University in Tokyo and an MA in Textile History, with an emphasis on Quilt Studies and Museum Studies, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Nomura has long been interested in studying American culture and history through textiles and quilts, and in 2001 she came to the United States to pursue her academic interests. She recently curated the IQSC exhibition Indigo Gives America the Blues (2003) and presented her re­search on exotic animal motifs used in American quilts at the IQSC symposium Wild by Design. Her scholarly work also includes the use of technical analysis in investigating undocumented quilts.

Janneken Smucker is a PhD student in the History of American Civilization program at the University of Delaware. She holds an MA in Textile History/Quilt Studies with a minor in Museum Studies from the University of Nebraska-Lin­coln. She is the co-author of Amish Crib Quilts from the Midwest: 1he Sara Miller Collection (2002) and curator of the International Quilt Study Center's traveling exhibit At the Crossing: Midwestern Amish Crib Quilts and the Intersection of Cultures. She continues to investigate the cultural significance of quilts and other forms of material culture as part of her doctoral studies. In part, her research is a result of generous funding from the Robert and Ardis James Foundation, which Smucker received to conduct research on Amish quilts in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania.