Jeanne Wright (JW). Today is October 13, 2011. It’s 2:35 in the afternoon and I’m conducting an interview with Kathy Kenny at her home in Cumberland Foreside, Maine. This is the Alliance for American Quilts’ Quilter’s S.O.S. — Save Our Stories project. Kathy, thank you for having me in here for this interview.
Kathy Kenny (KK): You’re welcome. I’m delighted you are here.
JW: This is going to be fun. Tell me about the quilt that you have hanging here today.
KK: It’s a genealogy quilt of my side of the family, also my husband’s side. We were military for a number of years until he retired. Just before he retired I decided that it was time to record all the history of the family. So I started on this quilt. As you can see, it kind of grew and grew and grew. But I’m very pleased with the end result and everything on there has a meaning. It was a joy to make and it is also a good reference, hopefully, for future generations.
JW: You have different types of things on the quilt. What do you have there?
KK: I have photographs of the ancestors, photographs of my husband and myself, our children. Then I have appliquéd pieces that refer to the occupations or interests of all of the ancestors.
JW: That’s a fascinating part of it, the appliqué around there. Tell me about some of the little pieces on there such as the apples.
KK: When I was doing research of my side of the family, I discovered that all the way back to the 1700’s my family was involved in planting apple orchards and grafting apples for new species and introducing apples in the 1800’s to different New England towns. So when I heard that, I mean I’ve always had an affection for apples and apple orchards anyway, when I discovered that then I figured that’s really got to be a main part of the quilt. That was the idea behind the appliqué part of it. I wanted to include the apples and then as I got the apples on there I started to think, well other members of our families were involved in other things so that I would start thinking of what would emphasize their interests or their employment and would put something on there like a train or maybe a bundle of money or the chairs. I have a wicker chair on there that growing up my grandmother and grandfather had given to them on their wedding day, two wicker chairs. They had a beautiful closed in glass porch where these chairs spent their lives. Every time anybody went to visit, that’s where they congregated was on the porch with the wicker chairs.
JW: Where was that?
KK: In Woodland, Baileyville, Maine. That has a strong memory now because every time I see those chairs, of course I think of my grandparents and all the other family visiting and friends visiting.
JW: So that’s one of your first memories maybe of your grandparents then, because you can remember through the chairs?
KK: First memory how?
JW: Of your grandparents, your earliest memory.
KK: No, the first memory was food. [both laugh.] So they, of course back then everybody always cooked from scratch. That was one of the things if you went to visit or you stayed there they made sure you had a snack or meals or family gatherings that included certain things, mostly which was certain foods.
JW: The work that you have around this, the border, is that any particular name or is that something you came up with?
KK: That pattern is called Maine Woods.
JW: M-A-I-N-E? [spelling it.]
KK: M-A-I-N-E Woods. And where I’m from in Washington Country [large area of rural Maine.] is a lot of woods because it’s known for their hunting and their fishing. When I saw the pattern, it was shown in the book with different parts of the block shaded differently. So when I looked at it I thought that’s not quite how I want it so I changed the colors as light, mediums and darks around to portray what’s on this quilt. It’s still the pattern; it’s just the light, medium and darks are positioned differently.
JW: There are a couple of other things that are inside the outer border. There are newspaper clippings, but there is a map up there. What’s the map about?
KK: The map is a reproduction of an area of where the United States and Canada and the [Atlantic.] ocean meet. It shows Deer Isle in New Brunswick and then part of St. Andrews in New Brunswick and then part of Maine. Some of my ancestors came from Scotland and settled in that area during the [American.] Revolution.
JW: During the revolution.
KK: They came before the revolution but then it was very interesting because the family had eight sons. Four of the sons stayed in the United States and the other four decided they were going to be loyal to England so they moved to Canada but wanted to stay in touch with the family so that’s why they settled on Deer Isle.
JW: There is a picture of a gentleman down on the right side and it looks like there is a book mentioned beside there. Who was he now?
KK: His name is George W. Boutwell. He, at one time, was the Governor of Massachusetts. But he also was the Secretary of Treasury under Grant, President Grant. He’s, I have a book that was published, an autobiography, and it was just fascinating. I was so excited when I found the book because it’s so right-on about what was happening during his lifetime. He touches on everything from slavery to the Civil War to monument dedications and all sorts of everything, including his childhood and how he learned to become a lawyer.
JW: His childhood was where?
KK: It was in Massachusetts, Lunenburg, Massachusetts.
JW: Are there any other, you have family trees on that, are there any other things you’d like to mention right now?
KK: I think that it’s absolutely wonderful that in today’s world we can use photos and print them on fabrics because before, if I was doing this quilt in the fifties or even in the early sixties that method would not have been available to me at all. I think because it is available now and you can print actual photos and put them on fabric that it’s going to be a wonderful thing for future generations to be able to see what people actually looked like.
JW: What method do you use?
KK: For photocopying them? When it first came out it was very hard to do it. You had to treat the fabric and let it dry and then wash it and everything else. Now they have perfected it so you just go to the store and buy your little sheet, put it in the computer and away you go. So that’s what I use now is the store-bought.
JW: Now why did you choose this quilt today?
KK: I guess because with Save Our Stories, it’s, to me, that’s my story. I think it is extremely important for people to record their history, their family history, what stories they have, because history repeats itself, I think, and also I think when people are looking at things like this quilt they are noticing and learning about things they are not really conscious of and didn’t realize happened. So it was kind of a way to solidify my ancestry but to also have something that would carry on beyond me. I mean, women were for a long time doing things that were not permanent or concrete. They cooked meals and once the meal was done that was it; it vanished. They cleaned the house and once it was clean, that’s it, it would vanish. But if you make a quilt, a lot of quilts survive. So I’m hoping that someday this will survive and somebody will be glad of it.
JW: Do you have anyone in your family who helped with this? Did they do little parts and pieces?
KK: Different relatives supplied photos and information.
JW: What do you think that someone looking at this quilt might conclude about you, the quilter?
KK: Oh heavens. I don’t know. [laughs.] I don’t how to answer that. Well, when I show this quilt, people usually comment a lot on the color scheme. Usually, when I do quilts, I’ve always not followed a pattern totally. I usually have to twist it a little bit. So when people see that, it usually makes an impression on them because they always say, oh I wouldn’t think of doing that with it, or, I didn’t realize that you could do that.
JW: What are your plans for this quilt?
KK: I’m going to keep it, put it on my bed and eventually it’ll go to my son.
JW: So this is a quilt you are going to use.
JW: Tell me about your interest in quiltmaking. When did that start?
KK: Well I’ve been sewing all of my life. My mother and my grandmothers taught me how to sew at a really early age but I didn’t start quilting until the seventies [during the Bi-Centennial of the American Revolution. I used to belong to a re-enacting group called the Bedford Minutemen in Bedford, Massachusetts.] Everybody was doing things by hand then. I decided that I would like to do a quilt. I had a friend and neighbor that was a Mormon and she said, ‘Oh I can show you how to do that. It’s easy.’ So one afternoon we got together and that was it. She created a quilter.
JW: That was in the seventies.
KK: In the seventies, yeah.
JW: Do you think that the things you like to do, the methods that you like to do have changed a lot?
KK: For me personally?
JW: Yes, for you.
KK: I don’t think so. Everything I do, even today, is all by hand. I used to even quilt by hand but I have arthritis now so I can’t quilt by hand, but I still piece by hand and appliqué by hand. I know how to use a sewing machine. I’ve used a sewing machine. I used to make my own clothes and things like that. But when my children were little I started going, like everybody else does, to ball games and things like that. I would sit there at the ball games and my hands felt not busy and I had to do something, so I started doing it by hand and enjoyed it so much that I just continued through to today. I can probably sew, maybe not as fast as a machine, but pretty quickly.
JW: So you always hand sew?
KK: Mm-mm. Yup, yup.
JW: What’s your first quilt memory?
KK: My first quilt memory is a picture that is on this quilt. In the upper right hand corner is a picture of me as a child, small, small, probably four or five years old, sitting in my bed with a quilt on it of Sunbonnet Sue that my grandmother had made. So that’s my first quilt memory.
JW: Are there other quiltmakers in your family?
KK: I have found that my grandmother made quilts, my maternal grandmother. But other than that I don’t know anybody that had.
JW: Did you ever see her quilting?
KK: I remember her sewing and crocheting, but, because I was so young, I don’t know what she was sewing, if she was sewing on a quilt or not. So not clearly, no.
JW: How has quiltmaking impacted your family, your immediate family? What do they think of all this?
KK: First of all, they are very, very patient with me. They don’t mind cooking their own meals once in a while when they need to. They don’t mind if the dining room table has become a layout table [laughs.] for a while. And I think they enjoy the fact that people recognize the quilting and quilts because if you mention to anybody and they ask what you do and you say, ‘Oh, I’m a quilter,’ it almost causes complete silence because they have no concept of quilting except, ‘Oh, my grandmother made a quilt for me,’ or ‘My mother has a quilt that she made when she was small.’ Then when you start talking to them about the creation of quilting, about what you have to go through to create that quilt and then talk about the history of the quilt, why this pattern came into being, or why this quilt looks like it does with these color fabrics or this size, people become fascinated. [Added: My son also helps by creating and maintaining a website for me and is conscious of the work and beauty he sees in quilts all around the country when he travels and always gives me a report with photos to inspire me.]
JW: How many hours a week do you quilt?
KK: I don’t know. That’s hard to say. I kind of get bored easy so I work on something for a while. I have not done as much quilting lately as I normally do because I’ve been giving my historic quilt lectures. So that’s taken up a lot of time because I’m always repairing or researching quilts to use for those specific lectures.
JW: What type of lectures do you do?
KK: I do lectures now on historic quilts. I try to make the public aware of the history behind certain types of quilts. When I give my lectures, I have six or seven different kinds and each one pertains to a certain quilt era in history. I’ll talk about things like with the feed sacks. Everybody talks about feed sacks and fancy work from the thirties and forties. Everybody only thinks of Sunbonnet Sue. So I try to show them and tell them about other aspects of that timeframe. Everything from the Nebraska prairies to Monopoly games so they get a different concept of history. What has been surprising is every time I have given a lecture there has been a least a couple of men in the audience who have been dragged there by their wives and don’t think they are going to enjoy it at all. To a person they come up afterwards and say how much they enjoyed it. They didn’t realize that quilting involved so much. So I think that’s a great thing to know, that the public is becoming aware of the richness of quilts and the purpose of them.
JW: You’re also a teacher?
KK: Quilt teacher. I’ve taught quilting, yes. Don’t do so much of that now but I used to probably six or seven years ago. Every once in a while I’ll still teach a class or a workshop. And now I do the challenge for my local quilt guild every year, so that’s always fun to show how to do something
JW: And your local quilt guild is who?
KK: Calico Quilters of Yarmouth, Maine.
JW: Now, you’ve been a curator?
KK: I have in Massachusetts. I worked with a gal who had an antique quilt and fabric business. It was such a wonderful experience because I learned so much. Through that business, I was her assistant for a number of years, and through that business we would curate shows, quilts shows, in different places in areas in Massachusetts. One of the most delightful ones was in the town of Townsend, Massachusetts. They have the Reed Homestead that is part of the historical society there. It’s right by the river and every fall they open it up for tours and a heritage day. One of the things that we did all the time was have a quilt show there. Of course it would draw from all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It was so much fun to do that. We would also help people, friends, that were giving exhibits at the American Textile Museum. [when it was located in Andover, Massachusetts.]
JW: Do you collect quilts?
KK: I do collect quilts.
JW: What kind and how many? [both laugh.]
KK: I guess I favor 1800’s quilts. I’ve lately, because one of my lectures is on the twenties to forties quilts, I’ve lately been collecting a few of those that have been special but mostly my favorites are the1800’s and through the 1800’s, either the 1850’s to the 1860’s for the red and green appliqués or the Crazy Quilts. I love the Crazy Quilts because I appreciate the stitching so much and the stories they have to tell are fascinating. As to how many I have, I don’t want to know. [laughs.] I don’t count them.
JW: I see bookcases full of them here.
KK: Well when I give my lectures I usually have between twenty-five and thirty vintage quilts and like I said, I give six or seven lectures, so, and then I have my own quilts that I haven’t counted either. Somebody can do that later when I’m gone. [both laugh.]
JW: Now you were a quilt shop owner?
KK: I was. I was.
JW: What was the best part about that?
KK: The customers. I enjoyed that most. The quilt shop was in North Pole, Alaska and the clientele was a little bit different because you had the towns where people lived, quilters lived, but you also had the bush where people lived, which meant that these quilters were out in the bush for months at a time and might only get into town once a year. When they came into town it was like Christmas to them because they hadn’t seen all of these and would be very receptive to the newest thing in the quilt world or the new fabrics or tools or gadgets. But I think the customers were the best because I thoroughly enjoyed quilting and the quilting world and to share that with other people was great.
JW: You have vintage quilts here and I understand you repair them?
KK: Again, I don’t do that so much now because of my arthritis but I used to do that a lot.
JW: Have you ever used quilts to get through a difficult time?
KK: I have. Yup.
JW: Do you want to share that?
KK: [comments later rephrased to the following by Interviewee: Most traumatic events or difficult times take a long time to deal with and stress is almost always involved and quilting helps you get through all of that. It is something you can do and not have to think about until you are ready to deal with it. And, of course, being able to create something positive, instead of having something negative happen, is a wonderful thing.]
JW: Well how about an amusing experience that has occurred while you were making a quilt or been out on your lectures or what have you?
KK: Amusing? Well, I’ll tell you a story about my quilting shop I had in Alaska. It was a very small shop. I had a friend who was a local beautician and was a quilt fanatic, had just discovered it because she took my classes and was just in awe of quilting and wanted to quilt everything. The minute she got out of work she would come over to my quilt store and hand me over her paycheck and say, ‘Okay, I’m going [laughs.] to pick some things up.’ And I helped her and she also helped me with different quilts we were making. We would lay it out in the store on like a design wall and before we knew it we would twenty or thirty people there looking at the quilt and wanting to know, ‘Oh can I get this kind of fabric?’ or ‘Can you show me how to do this?’ It was so much fun because it brought the social life into it, so much so that one of the customers, one evening while we were looking at, I mean the store was still open, and we were looking at the quilt and talking about it and one of the customers wanted to purchase something so I said, ‘Sure, go ahead and put it on the counter and then I’ll come and ring it up.’ So she did that and she said, ‘How much do I owe you?’ I told her and she wrote out a check. Then we got to talking again about stuff and I didn’t think anything more about it. She finally said, ‘Well, I’m going home. I’ll see you tomorrow.’ So I said, ‘Okay.’ So she left and all the other women are still there looking at all the quilts. Then I get a phone call and I answer the phone call and it’s Susie and she said, ‘Um, I think I have something that belongs to you.’ I said, ‘What’s that?’ and she said, ‘The check I paid you. You put it in my bag and I’ve got it [laughs.] here in my bag and I’ve got it here at home.’ [laughs.] I thought, ‘Oh no.’ But she was so sweet about it. She dropped it off the next day.
JW: Now you mentioned a design wall. Do you use a design wall now?
KK: I do. I think it’s critical to quilting. When you use a design wall you get a whole total perspective on what you are working on, rather than looking at it on a table. If you are on a table you are too close to it. You can’t see how the colors are blending. You can’t see how the pattern itself is looking. You can’t see if there’s any mistakes. But if you put it on a design wall all of that will stand right out, so I think design walls are critical. I encourage everybody to use one.
JW: What do you use for a design wall?
KK: I have, in the past, had an actual wall where I could put a flannel sheet up or something. Now I have a portable, it’s like a portable wall that folds up and it’s flannel covered. It’s made actually from foam insulation panels that you get at the home repair shops. It works wonderful because it’s lightweight. It folds. Also you can pin to it and it won’t break down.
JW: What kind of room do you have? Can you tell me about your studio, the place you create your quilts?
KK: I’ve had, because we were military we moved around a lot so I’ve had all different kinds of areas to quilt. The majority of the time it was on my dining room table. Other times I’ve had a huge basement, finished room, that I quilted in. Right now we are living in a condo and I have what would be a closed-in glass porch that I use for my quilt room. It’s probably fifteen [feet.] by twenty [feet.] maybe, twelve by twenty.
JW: It’s very pleasant.
KK: So, it’s very pleasant but it’s also very crowded, so I use that plus I still use my dining room table.
JW: Do you have any UFO’s? [unfinished objects.]
KK: I do have a few and someday I hope they will get finished. Some of them probably won’t ever get finished because there is something about a couple of them that I haven’t cared for and I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. Now it’s to the stage that I don’t care for the color of the fabric and the kinds of fabrics that I used, so I will probably donate it as a raffle quilt or a Linus [donation.] quilt or something.
JW: So you will finish them but they just won’t be yours anymore?
KK: Some of them I will finish and they will be mine but the majority of them will not, just because my tastes have changed.
JW: What do you think makes a great quilt?
KK: I think a great quilt is probably, because of the impact when somebody first looks at it. So it could be the design but I think the majority of the time it is the color theme because people react very strongly to color. When you are looking at a great quilt, I think it has to say something to you personally.
JW: What about a quiltmaker? What makes a great quiltmaker?
KK: I would say that a great quiltmaker is probably a person who can look at what’s in their head and convey it to fabric. That’s a hard thing for some people to do. I think a great quiltmaker also needs to know the all the basics in order to understand what the fabric will do, how it reacts, what she can do with it. I think a great quiltmaker also has to be able to reach her audience by having them realize what she is trying to convey to them in that quilt.
JW: Do you think this is a learned thing, or is it just natural?
KK: I think there is some natural ability to it but I think it most definitely can be learned by anybody, provided they have the right beginning quilt teachers. I think that’s a very important thing that at lot of beginning quilters don’t look into enough.
JW: So you are saying everybody should have some classes to start with? Is that it?
KK: Well I don’t think they necessarily have to have classes but they need to have somebody that they can talk to or ask about how to do it this way and if they have classes I think they shouldn’t just sign up for a class. They should make sure that the way that teacher who teaches has produced good results from other students. My philosophy is that if you are teaching somebody how to quilt, or teaching anything, you need to teach them well enough that they can go and teach somebody else how to do it. If all you’re teaching them is to say, sew this triangle to this square, they can go home and do that but they don’t understand why they are doing that or what will happen if they do it this way rather than that way or if they used this fabric instead of that fabric. So I think the teacher needs to convey that to them so they understand the basics of quilting. Once they have the basics, I think they can do anything.
JW: What, to you, makes a quilt artistically powerful?
KK: Color, is the most, is the biggest impact I think.
JW: Do you have any problem picking out your colors? I know some do.
KK: Well, first of all, I guess the whole world will now know I am colorblind.
KK: But I don’t have any problem picking out colors because I know what I like together and what I don’t like together. I can, I think because I’m colorblind that the values and the shading stand out more so I can see the contrast a little bit better.
JW: Do you have anyone help to pick colors?
KK: Once in a while I’ll have my husband come to the store with me because I’m looking for a certain color to match a certain thing or to enhance a certain area. I’ll say, okay, I want an orangey, pumpkin with a little bit of red in it. So he’ll come and help me do that part.
JW: Okay. Now to get back to your lectures, what type of lectures do you really like to do? What do you think is the most helpful for people?
KK: Well, in my lectures, first of all, they are all historic quilt lectures and I try and relate it to what happened to history in the United States so people can discern that this particular pattern or this particular quilt didn’t just happen. There was a reason that this was made out of silk or there was a reason this was all red, green and white color. Or there’s a reason that this is all embroidered. When I give those lectures and tell people about the history during that timeframe, I always try to have a quilt that will emphasize what I am talking about. For instance, in the thirties and the forties talk, I talk about why the state fairs were so important to people because it was during the depression and they could enter their quilt and win prize money. So the money was very important during the depression. Plus the exposure to seeing other quilt patterns, because at the time they didn’t have a lot of quilt books. So when I show that, I always show a couple of quilts that were state fair winners so they can see an actual piece of history rather than just hearing about it.
JW: So it’s important, the history of American life, is an important thing that comes out of quilting.
KK: I think it is. In today’s world if you ask a man on the street who the President of the United State is or who the vice president is and they don’t know, I think that’s a shame. I think that’s a disgrace. I think people should know their history and should realize what a great country we have today. My little part of combining the quilts and the history, every time I give a lecture I get note cards and emails and stuff saying how I have made history fun and how they’ve understood now why this happened and why their grandmother made Sunbonnet Sue quilts. So for me that’s a pleasure for me to help people understand the history of our country, in a fun way. And quilts do that, I think.
JW: Now, is that why quiltmaking is important in your life?
KK: I think quiltmaking is important in my life because I am quite creative and that’s a perfect outlet because I can take whatever pictures are in my head and convey it to cloth. If I can do that, then I think I have succeeded. It’s not always easy to take that picture and make it into cloth and make it look like what you are seeing in your head. But I like color. I love working with the fabrics. I like trying and experimenting with different fabrics so in addition to my antique quilts that I like, I also do art quilts which involves using everything from yarn, to beads to all sorts of things. By doing both of them I think you get a taste of what quilting was like and what quilting can be in the future.
JW: You’ve talked about history and how this can help through history. What about specifically for women’s history? Where do you note where it intersects with women’s history?
KK: Well, it’s like I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of things that women have done through history that are not concrete. Once they complete this task it’s over with and nobody realizes it. I mean, you could have said, ‘Oh, well my aunt was a nurse during World War I and she worked for the Red Cross.’ But you don’t really understand what that entails until you hear a little bit about what the Red Cross did during World War I and then see a quilt that was made during World War I using the Red Cross pattern.
JW: How do you think quilts should be used? You’ve mentioned history. How else?
KK: I think as a learning tool. I think as a creative expression. They should be used for that. I think they should be used to provide love and comfort to people. I think they should provide an education to people because most people, when they think quilts they think, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s what’s on the back of my sofa and I cover up with it.’ But when they start to learn how that quilt on the back of the sofa was created, then they have a deeper appreciation. So then when they cover up while they are watching a football game, it kind of goes through their head, ‘Oh my grandmother made this,’ because she was sitting on the front porch listening to my grandfather talk about football or something.
JW: So how do you think that quilts reflect your community or your region? Do you think they are specific to communities sometimes?
KK: Well, from studying antique quilts and, again, looking at the historic end of it, there are different quilt styles in different regions. For instance, in Maine, or in New England, they are noted for four-poster quilts. If you find them anywhere outside of New England and trace that quilt back, chances are it was made by somebody from New England who moved to the Midwest. For instance, the Pennsylvania Dutch are noted for their strong colors and their very, very simple abstract patterns, but they are absolutely gorgeous quilts and their stitching is wonderful. So I think regions reflect what was available for fabrics at the time, what styles were happening during that timeframe when that quilt was made. [deleted small portion by Interviewee.]
JW: One thing I found interesting was about the Mill Girls. Tell me how that affects quilting.
KK: I was going through genealogy and discovered that one my ancestors was the physician for the Amoskeag Textile Mill in Manchester, Massachusetts, I mean Manchester, New Hampshire. At the time I was living in Lowell, Massachusetts, which was also the start of the textile museums and mills. When I learned that, I started researching more about the mill girls and to me it was just fascinating because in the 1830’s these girls came off the New England farms, went to the cities and started working fourteen-hour days and eight hours on Saturdays in the mills. It was a wonderful thing for them because they got their own paycheck. They could better their life. They could help their family better their life. They were exposed to all kinds of cultural things. But they also were instrumental in producing all those prints and fabrics. Those, by having the industrial revolution in the textile mills, those prints and fabrics became affordable to everybody so they could make quilts and their own dresses and still afford to do that. So I think the mill girls had a huge, tremendous impact on the quilting world. If it wasn’t for those mill girls enduring all the hardships in their work world, we wouldn’t have that, those fabrics, available at the prices they wanted. They would not have been available to the common, everyday person.
JW: Do you have any tips or advice for beginners?
KK: Get a good teacher. Make sure your teacher knows the basics and will teach you how fabric reacts, what you can do with a needle and also is not just somebody that will teach you how to sew this piece to that piece, that will help you think outside the box a little.
JW: What do you particularly like about quilting? What is the best part?
KK: The color and the creation.
JW: What is the part you don’t like?
KK: The borders. [laughs.] Well not the borders so much as the bindings. I hate to put the binding on the quilt. For me the joy of it is getting the idea out of my head into the fabric. Once that top is completed, my interest is gone. The rest of it is a chore to do. I used to, I appreciate and love the quilting process of it, but, and I think that makes the quilt come alive when it is quilted, but that’s not my main interest. My main interest is the creation of what’s in my head and using those colors that I am seeing in my head. So once the top’s done, my interest goes. I am onto the next quilt.
JW: What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today?
KK: Age. I think that quiltmakers today need, and I think there is a movement that’s starting a little bit to engage the younger generation. If you go to a quilt meeting or a quilt show and you look at the people that are attending, they are all middle-age or older. You very, very seldom see the younger people there. I can understand that because they have a life and they’re busy. So they don’t want to spend as much time as we did or our grandmothers did creating a quilt. But they need to be educated to let them know that there are methods today to create quilts that won’t be time-consuming. They still can produce quilts, whether it’s using fusibles or, you know, huge, simple patterns, quick, fast on the machine. Something. But I think the education of the younger generation needs to be a priority in the quilting world today.
JW: Is there anything else that you would like to add to this interview?
KK: I think this is a marvelous thing to have happen because, again, it saves all these stories and all these quilts and hopefully future generations are going to enjoy it. I know the present generation is going to enjoy it when they read all those. Thank you very much for interviewing me.
JW: Oh, you’re welcome. It’s my pleasure, most certainly. Kathy, I’d like to thank you for allowing me to interview you today as part of the Quilter’s S.O.S. – Save our Stories project. This is October 13th and we’ve concluded at about 3:20 [p.m.]. Thank you very much.
KK: You’re welcome.
End of interview.
Interviewee: Kathy Kenny
Interviewer: Jeanne Wright
Transcriber: Jeanne Wright
Project Name: The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution QSOS
Location: Cumberland Foreside, Maine
Time: 2:35 p.m.
Quilters’ S.O.S. – Save Our Stories (QSOS) creates, through recorded interviews, a broadly accessible body of information concerning quiltmaking, both present-day and in living memory. Our downloadable QSOS Guidebook has everything you need to conduct your own QSOS interviews. Our archive for the original audio recordings and photographs is the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
QSOS volunteers from across the country conduct and transcribe these interviews. We appreciate their generosity of time and dedication to the project. We are always looking for guilds, organizations and individuals to undertake their own QSOS projects and join us. Find out how you can get involved with QSOS