Today's Quilt Historians
Women at Work
New Pathways into Quilt History written by Kimberly Wulfert,
Professional Curator, Quilt Historian,
Certified Appraiser of Quilts and Other Textiles,
Quilt Repair and Restoration Teacher, Lecturer, Author,
Director of Fiberarts Connection of So. CA, a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit
The text is provided by each interviewee and is unabridged and unedited.
1) How do
you prefer to be described as, within the field of textile
history? If you have a business, please tell us about that.
"Quilt Historian , Quilt and Textile Appraiser, Originator
and Director of the Fiber Arts Connection."
2) When and where did you begin your serious interest in the
history of quilts, textiles or garments?
"I have a degree in
Archaeology, and I have always been interested in history's
mysteries. In the early 1980s, a boss gave me a gift certificate
for a small quilt supply store in San Pedro. I still remember
that day; as I walked in the door, right in front of me was a
book rack, and on the center of the rack was the book by Barbara
Brackman, Clues in the Calico. I bought that book without ever
seeing anything else in that shop, and I was "addicted"
overnight. When I began to study quilt history and to do my own
research, suddenly history had a context for me. About the same
time, I cofounded a small quilt history study group, Repiecers
of the Past, with my friend Kathy Reeves, in Long Beach, CA. I
remember how fun those days were with all the unique quilts we
saw and all the interesting people we met at the meetings."
3) What “known”
individual (or group) influenced you most and why?
"It was Barbara
Brackman because she was and is so knowledgeable about antique
quilts, fabric and history at a time when few people were
writing and talking about the subject."
4) Who became your personal mentor as you began your
"Pat Nichols had a major impact on me. She was doing verbal
appraisals at a quilt show out in Orange Co., and I went up to
her, though I had no quilt ,and talked to her about becoming a
quilt appraiser. It was after that conversation that I ended up
connecting up with American Quilter's Society (AQS).
"I became a certified appraiser through them in 1993. I met
Beverly Dunivent at the same time and she and I became appraisal
partners, assisting each other in many ways."
5) What aspect of study were you most passionate about at
first? How has this changed over time and why?
"Beverly and I decided to write a paper on the kit quilts
that we had encountered in Paducah. They fascinated us and we
decided to learn more about the industry. I was particularly
fascinated because most of the kit quilt industries were begun
by and run by women, at a time when women still did not have the
vote. We decided to submit a paper on the topic to AQSG's annual
journal, Uncoverings and it was published in 1994.
"Judy Matheson's husband did most of the photography for it and
people were willing to send their quilts to us for
photographing. Before we knew it, we had enough for a book as
well as the paper."
6) What is your current “Pet project.”
"One is to update, finish and publish the kit quilt book.
"I have two other things - two children's books: Tenshoes and
the Skittyfoot and That Dog, Liver!"
7) What aspect of your research or contribution to textile
studies has satisfied you the most?
"My work with my nonprofit, Fiberarts Connection of So. CA that
I started in 2003 has been my other extremely satisfying
contribution. I have loved seeing the physically/developmentally
challenged fiber artists I work with grow out of the isolation
that often accompanies any form of disability, and go on to
create successful careers, win awards, get published, and become
far more proactive about their own art. Many of their stories
have touched my heart deeply, and seeing them grow and develop a
sense of belonging, a sense of pride and confidence is so
rewarding. When women were still fighting doctors and the
general public to get things like fibromyalgia and even
arthritis recognized as real physical challenges, I was
acknowledging and validating the women for these things and
giving them a healing way to visualize them for the public in
8) Within this arena, what would you like to do, but haven’t
"I want to transcribe and submit two oral interviews I have
done of two quilters I know to the Alliance of American Quilts
oral history project called QUILTER'S-SOS. There are other
quilters I know too who are getting up in age, or who are very
ill, and I want to make sure their stories are captured.
"We are in process of transitioning Fiberarts Connection.
Previously our organization focused on getting venues for
traveling exhibits and providing assistance with professional
development for the physically challenged fiber artist. Today we
are reaching out to assist other nonprofits and good causes
through the assistance of our physically challenged artists, and
also we are including children in more of our events. Instead of
traveling exhibits, we will focus on one or two live venues a
" I want to keep this
nonprofit very organic to meet emerging needs as we identify
9) Any further comments are invited.
"These days I am finally working with dyes, which have long
been one of my favorite experiences. I want to research natural
dyes more, as well as the history of dyes."
10) Please describe (in a list) the contributions you have
made via books, presentations, exhibits, contests, articles,
fabric lines, research papers and the like.
1981 - present - Numerous articles on quilt history and
related quilt articles published in various quilt publications
1994 - Published in Uncoverings, American Quilt Study Group
annual research paper journal
1994 - Coauthored book, Quilted by Numbers: History of the Kit
Quilt Cottage Industry. Book currently being under revision
1990 - Present - Professional Quilt Show Judge- at quilt
shows within California, including Pacific International,
National Quilt Association and many others
2008 - Assisted Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) with
formation of SAQA University online (Wikipedia format). Ongoing
articles written for the University.
2005 - Former committee member, Arts and Disabilities Network
2003 - Founder & Director, Fiberarts Connection of Southern
California, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3)
www.fiberartsconnection.blogspot.com Professional fiber art and
mixed media exhibit curator for this organization and others.
1994 - Cofounder, Repiecers of the Past (Quilt History Study
1993- Certified Quilt Appraiser, American Quilter's Society (AQS)
- Member, Professional Association of Appraisers of Quilted
1883 - Former Newsletter Editor, South Bay Quilt Guild
1882 - Former Community Services Coordinator, South Bay Quilt
1882 - Former Historian, South Bay Quilt Guild
1975 - 1983 - Assisted my former husband, Spencer MacCallum, an
Anthropologist, Philosopher and supporter of the arts with
promoting and developing Juan Quezada and the Potters of Mata
Ortiz, Mexico. It was through this experience that I really
learned the business end of art, and was able to translate it
into workable material that I could later use in the quilt
Quilts from Orphan Blocks
Mama Never Told You about Quilts
Art 101 -
Studying contemporary quilt artists from the book, Masters:
Art Quilters and teaching lessons on Yahoo Fiberarts
Thank you very much,
Anne, for sharing your self with us and for the insights we gain because of your efforts in this field. Continued success to you.
Women (and Men) at Work
© 2006 - 2016 Kimberly Wulfert, PhD. Absolutely no copies, reprints, use
of photos or text are permitted for commercial or online use. One personal copy for study purposes is permitted.
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