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
field there are several titles I have found it necessary to use:
Appraiser, Curator, Consultant, Founder and President, Quilt Historian and
last but not least, Quilter."
2) When and
where did you begin your serious interest in the history of quilts,
textiles or garments?
"Serious study began in Vienna, VA in 1972 when I read a
1970 article in Needlewoman and
Needlecraft magazine, about a 1708 English made patchwork quilt with
bed hangings and curtains. These
items are located at Levens Hall, near Windermere, off M6. In 1985 I was privileged to see the curtains, hangings and
quilt up close and wrote about it in the 1985 Lady’s
Circle Patchwork Quilts.
“known” individual or group influenced you most and why?
"My mother, Grace McDowell, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa and her
mother – my grandmother, Elsie McVey, Salem, Iowa influenced my quilt
making that began in my childhood. In
1973 I met Jinny Beyer and we became “quilt buddies”, collecting
quilts and searching out information on early fabrics in order to date our
quilts. Presently Bunnie
Jordan, Vienna, Virginia, and I have become “quilt buddies” in the
study of the history of quilting. We
often work together appraising quilts, giving lectures, workshops and
studying the market.
"Cuesta Benberry was a great influence with regard to my research. She
phoned, asking that I research and report on the subject of how quilters
in the past had organized. Before she hung up she had convinced me that
I should do it. After giving my report at Cuesta’s and Joyce Gross’
symposium, “20th Century Quilts: 1900-1970: Women Make Their Mark” in
1997, the editor of Blanket Statements asked to publish my report. I was
off and enjoying this new experience of research."
became your personal mentor as you began your learning?
"In the beginning I did not know any quilt mentors. Jinny Beyer and Bunnie Jordan were friends with the same interests
in quilting. I think Jinny
and Bunnie would agree that Jonathan Holstein’s and the Orlofsky’s
books, along with articles in Quilter’s
Newsletter Magazine, Nimble Needle Treasures and Quilters’ Journal, were
the learning tools in the beginning, in the early 1970s. It was in the late 70s before I had the opportunity to meet the
editors and authors of these publications.
aspect of study were you most passionate about at first? How has this changed over time and why?
"From the beginning my interest was in answering the
question – where did this needlework, styles and techniques come from? In the early 70s there were few sources other than those mentioned
above. Over time museums
began presenting antique quilt exhibits. The most memorable for me being: “American Pieced Quilts”
curated by Jonathan Holstein and Gail van der Hoof, at the Renwick Gallery
in Washington, D. C. in 1972. Other
changes that aided in our research were the state searches and the
founding of American Quilt Study Group with presentation of papers in
1980. I was able to travel to
the United Kingdom in pursuit of more information about quilting. Recently we have been blessed with well-researched books from
6) What is
your current “pet project”?
"I have several. Quilters Hall of Fame has to be the first. I am now an
Honorary Board Member thus not as involved. It is time for members of
the board to carry the work forward. However, I remain very interested
in all aspects of this project.
Secondly: The Antique and Vintage Fabric Dating Club founded by Bunnie
Jordan and myself is an informal group meeting every other month. We
gather to share quilts from our collections, which in turn advances our
knowledge for dating textiles.
Yes I am still quilting. I have three quilting projects presently – all
by hand. I also like to have a piecing and an appliqué project for when
I need a rest from quilting. "
aspect of your research or contribution to textile studies has satisfied
you the most?
"I saw the Quilters Hall of Fame officially opened to the public in July
2004. Our book on Honorees published at the same time. As year 2010
comes to a close the Quilters Hall of Fame book is in the process of
being published as a hardback and with more pictures and patterns.
"Virginia Quilts - 1607-1899" in which I wrote the Introduction includes
outstanding quilts and the book has been well received."
"I am working on an article regarding my participation following the
publicity of the Smithsonian’s reproduction in China of quilts from
their collection. It was a pleasure to be of assistance in clarifying
facts for quilters as well as attempting to preserve the good name of
the textile arena, what would you like to do, but haven’t done yet?
I look back on many of the things that I have done and what wonderful
memories come to mind. I marvel at how I did it all while at the same
time raising our two children. Life has been good."
Please describe (in a list) the contributions you have made via books,
exhibits, presentations, contests, articles, fabric lines, research papers
and the like.
“Apple Pie Ridge Star Quilts.”
Blanket Statements, Summer 2010.
“Unique and Diverse Strippy Quilts
in the United States.” Blanket Statements, Spring 2007.
Introduction in "Quilts of
Virginia 1607-1899." Virginia Consortium of Quilters PA: Schiffer
Publishing Ltd., 2006.
"New Revelations about The Garden
Quilt." Blanket Statements, Winter 2004
"Carter's Travels: Carter Houck at
Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilts." The Quilters Hall of Fame
Newsletter, Spring 2003
- "The Quilt Journal - coeditor
Jonathan Holstein." The Quilters Hall of Fame Newsletter,
Centuries of Quilts Observed Over Two Decades of Appraising”. Blanket
Statements, American Quilt Study Group Newsletter, Winter, 2002.
Joyce Gross and her Quilters’
Journal”. The Quilters Hall of Fame Newsletter, Spring 2002.
Bonnie Leman: Founder of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine, A Quilt Phenomenon” TheQuilters Hall of Fame
Newsletter, Fall 2001.
Almy Randolph & Nimble Needle Treasures”, TheQuilters Hall of Fame
Newsletter, Spring 2000
Centuries of Quilts Observed Over Two Decades” and “Timeline of
Early Textile History up to 1700”. Personal Property Journal, American Society of Appraisers, Winter
is the Value of My Quilt,” Baltimore Appliqué Society Newsletter;
Traditional Quilter, July 1998
Evolution of Organized Quilting”. Blanket Statements,
American Quilt Study Group Newsletter, Fall 1997.
Quilts – 1750 to 1950” Personal Property Journal, American Society of Appraisers, Fall
Appraisals: A Pleasure
and a Privilege”. Virginia Quilt Museum Newsletter, Winter 1995.
is the Correct Price for a Quilt?” (with Bunnie Jordan), Patchwork Quilts
magazine, October 1994
Unlimited”, Patchwork Quilt
Tsushin (Japan), August 1990.
Patchwork Pillowcases and Shams”, Quilting
Today, October/November 1990, p.52
Smithsonian Collection”, August 1988, p. 12; July/August 1977, p. 12
and June 1977, p. 12.
International CQC Tour Goes Downunder”, April 1987, p. 6.
Postage Stamp Promotion”, July/August 1978, p. 17
Quilts”, March 1978, p. 17
Quilt to Ceret, France”, October 1977
Meeting Place” – Introduction of Jinny Beyer, September 1977, p.
Tac Tics”, January 1977, p. 29
Meeting Place” – Introduction of Hazel Carter, September 1976, p.
Quilts, 1987, publication resulting from Virginia quilt search.
Touring in England: Oldest
English-Made Patchwork”, Lady’s
Circle Patchwork Quilts November 1985, p. 62
Conference Speaker”, The Professional Quilter, September 1984, p. 6
Quilting resource book published by the Smithsonian Institution,
Resource book accompanied exhibit “Quintessential Quilts,”
Quilting, 1977 and 1975. “How-to”
manuals, self published.
Quilt Presentation”, Nimble Needles Treasures, 1975, p 33
Dating Club, a research and study group meeting in Virginia since 1995. It is an informal group having no officers but
organized by Ms Carter and Bunnie Jordan.
Quilt Search of quilts made between 1750 and 1980 resulted in three quilt
shows and the publication Virginia
Study Tours to:
East Coast of United States – 1987
New Zealand, Australia, and Hawaii – 1986
England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – 1985
Quilters Hall of Fame, founded in 1979, honors individuals of outstanding
achievements in the
quilt world. Carter has
served as President of the Board of Directors since 1992, w
the Hall of Fame became an independent organization.
Quilting Congress, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, was founded
by Ms Carter
in 1978 to promote quilting as an art form. The four-day conventions of the Congress
featured lectures, workshops, quilt shows and a merchant mall. Attendees came
from all points of the globe.
Unlimited is a non profit organization with its membership being in
Northern Virginia. Founded in December 1972 the membership has
continued to grow throughout the years and in 2002 its membership is over 1,200.
the Tide: British Quilts From
American Collections – honoring Shiela Betterton andEvidences of Friendship: The Quilt Block Collection of Cuesta Benberry. Marion Public Library and Museum, Marion,
Porcella: Pieced Clothing and
Art Quilts. Marion Public Library and Museum, Marion, Indiana, 1998.
Crow: A Retrospective. Marion
Public Library and Museum, Marion, Indiana, 1997.
Quilts from the Joyce Gross Collection. Marion Public Library and
Museum, Marion, Indiana, 1996
Bresenhan: A Texas Quilter
Collects. Marion Public Library and Museum, Marion, Indiana, 1995
Salute to Sally Garoutte and Hoosier Quilts. Marion Public
Library and Museum, Marion, Indiana, 1994
Art of Michael James and Helping Hands. Marion Public Library and Museum, Marion, Indiana,
Decades of Quilting: Twentieth Century. Carlyle
House, Alexandria, Virginia, 1990. Grant
from Mobil Foundation. Exhibit was in conjunction with the Continental
Patchwork Pillowcases and Shams. Dacatur
House, Washington, D.C., 1988.
Quilts Exhibitions. Carlyle
House, Alexandria; Sheraton Hotel, Vienna andWoodlawn Plantation, Mount Vernon, all in
Virginia, 1987. Grant from Mobil Foundation aided these exhibits. Exhibit was in conjunction with the Continental Quilting Congress.
’83. Carlyle House,
Alexandria, Virginia, 1983. Aided by a Mobil Foundation grant. Exhibit
was in conjunction with the Continental Quilting Congress
Quilts. His Lordships
Kindness, Clinton, Maryland, 1998
Decatur House, Washington, D.C., 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991.
Quilts, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service,
Washington, D.C., 1979.
Quilt Exhibition, Athenaeum, Alexandria, Virginia, 1975.
Unlimited Bicentennial Exhibit, Athenaeum, Alexandria, Virginia, 1975.
Thank you Hazel – you are a walking memory book of
who’s who in quilt history. And this list should include you! Best of luck on the book about the Quilter’s Hall of Fame
Honorees. It’s a book who’s time has come. I can’t wait to hear what your research on the “special group
of quilts” is about. It’s fitting that you should be the one to
recently appraise one of them. And last, but not least, it’s great news
that Virginia is re-energizing their quilt search. I would think their
quilts have quite a bit of history to share with us. You are one busy lady and you have done a great deal on behalf of
the study of quilt history and historians. How nice too, that you enjoy
every minute of it – please, keep it up!