I’ve been wanting to visit the American Gothic house in Iowa for quite a while and I found out recently that they had a quilt exhibit going on there so I decided now was a perfect time! This past weekend we made the 2 hour drive north to Eldon, Iowa to see the house and the wonderful visitor center that goes along with the property.
It really is an adorable house. I can see why Grant Wood was smitten and wanted to use it in a painting. I don’t know why more people don’t put fancy church windows in their houses. ?
The visitor center is in front of the house and tells about Grant Wood’s life, the town of Eldon and the history of the house. I love the story about the little old lady who lived in the house. She looked out one day and Grant was sketching her house so she called her daughter and asked her to come help clean the house from top to bottom. They even changed the curtains in the fancy window. Then they sat down on the front porch and waited for him to return. He didn’t come back. I guess he had enough sketches to do his painting. In fact, he actually never had the people pose in front of the house but added them in separately. One was his dentist and one was his sister. And he painted in different curtains!
The visitor center maintains a pretty, native wildflower garden in front of the house which adds to the charm of the place.
So now, about the quilt exhibit. It’s called: “American Gothic in Stitches: Quilts inspired by the famous painting.” It’s going in now through October 18th and it’s sponsored by APQS, the Ottumwa Area Arts Council and the American Gothic House Center. There was also a local quilt contest involved but I believe the submission deadline was the end of June.
There are several American Gothic quilt interpretations which are fun to look at.
This American Gothic quilt is by Lynn Czaban and Bonnie Keller and is called “Ms. MacDonald and the Old Goat Farm”. They did an amazing job of re-creating the painting with colorful fabrics. I love the flowers they put on the clothes!
I think I like this version better than the original painting.
This quilt is by Pam Holland and is called “American Gothic Revisited”. I took a close up photo of a portion of the quilt so you can see the intricate stitching that really makes this quilt amazing. All the details are there and it is awesome!
I highly recommend this little piece of Iowa if you are traveling through or anywhere close. Eldon is just south of Ottumwa.
And before you leave, don’t forget to have your own photo taken in front of the house. The visitor center has costumes in all sizes for you to use and then they pose you in “the special spot” and will take your picture for you with your own camera. Just make sure you bring a willing friend!