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Discovering Beauty on the Road

While driving through New York State’s rural country roads recently, enjoying the landscape, rolling hills, creeks and farmland, I began to notice these giant patterned squares adorning some of the barns along my route. It was something I don’t recall noticing in my travels, but once I saw one of them, I began noticing more and more of them. The graphics were all minimal in style, using basic shapes repeated in some form or fashion and reminded me of modern works of art, like those of Kenneth Noland or Rothko.

The juxtaposition of these huge graphical works against the rural landscape of plowed fields, forests and old barns really creates a new visual field of vision. As it turns out, these works of art have a long heritage dating back to the 1800s and were revived more recently by a woman named Donna Sue Groves, from Adams County, Ohio. She began the revival because she wanted to honor her mother by hanging a decorated square on her barn, but instead turned it into a community-wide project where these quilt patterns could be displayed along several barns, creating a driving trail encouraging visitors to view them throughout the countryside. The idea took off and you can find these Barn Quilt trails all over the country.

So remember to always keep your eyes on the road, but every now and then, take a look around and enjoy what you find.