Aurora: An American Experience in Quilt, Community, and Craft tells the story about a group of people who had a dream of creating a perfect communal Christian society. It's a book that finds their story not just through letters and records but also through their craftsmanship. Jane Kirkpatrick patches together aspects of colony life including that of work, faith and craft to create a whole quilt of community, each piece supporting the others.
Historical fiction writer, Kirkpatrick, originally became interested in Aurora after seeing a quilt made by Emma Geisey in the Mary Bywater Cross book, "Quilts of the Oregon Trail: Treasures in the Trunk". Although not a quilter herself just reading the single page about Emma inspired Kirkpatrick to write a series of books about her. In preparation Kirkpatrick did intense research on the Aurora Community and Emma's extended family.
Not only did her research make her fictional series very close to the truth but it also prepared Kirkpatrick for the writing of this non-fiction book about Aurora.
This was a community that manufactured almost everything they needed. We discover when women made their quilts they were following a tradition of creating beauty in everyday objects. No matter what craft colonists were involved in they went beyond function. Finishing touches on furniture, tools and other everyday items added that little artistic touch so typical of this colony. In this context it is fascinating to view and read about Aurora's quilts, from the exquisite to utilitarian.