Sandy Bonsib

Photos

QSOS_090_a.jpg
QSOS_090_b.jpg

Title

Sandy Bonsib

Identifier

QSOS-090

Interviewee

Sandy Bonsib

Interviewer

Kaye Jones

Interview Date

11/4/00

Interview sponsor

Moda

Location

Houston, Texas

Transcriber

Heather Gibson

Transcription

Kaye Jones (KJ): This is Kaye Jones. Today's date is November 4, 2000. It is 11:10 in the morning and I am conducting an interview with Sandy Bonsib for the Quilters' [S.O.S.-] Save Our Stories project in Houston, Texas. Sandy, tell us about this quilt.

Sandy Bonsib (SB): This is a folk-art quilt. It was inspired by a class that I took from Roberta Horton. I was experimenting with raw-edge appliqué. I've played around with a lot of different techniques in this quilt. I love nine-patch blocks, so I ended up putting in a number of them but using them really more like a border and putting them on point. I used rectangles for the bottom, horizontally and rectangles for the top, vertically. I used triangles to create a tree on the side, and then I used a variety of appliqué in the middle. The story behind the appliqué is the large duck--of course, this is folk art. Folk artists were not professionally trained. They didn't know how to make things correctly proportioned. Sometimes their proportions were awkward. This is meant to be a folk-art quilt. One of the neat things about folk art is that because the proportions aren't expected to be realistic, you can play actually with them. So, in this quilt I made the duck bigger. The reason I made the duck bigger is because he's really the feature of the quilt. He's about as big as the barn. Obviously in real life ducks are not this big. This quilt is titled, "Miracles Can Happen." We have a small farm in the Seattle, Washington area and we have ducks. One day a few years ago a mother duck laid some eggs. It was early in the spring, early March. At night we put our ducks in a different part of the barn than where her nest happened to be. Some nights she would go with her buddies. Other nights she would lay on the eggs. We let her decide what she was going to do. We knew the eggs were never going to hatch because it was early March, and it was cool. While Seattle's not cold in March, it's definitely chilly at night. One day when my daughter went out after school to feed our goats, she saw a little baby duck skitter over its mother's back. We couldn't believe the ducks were actually born, that the babies actually survived those cool nights without being covered. My daughter named the first baby duck "Miracle." Miracle ended up with brothers and sisters as well, but we never forgot Miracle and I wanted to commemorate that story in a quilt.

KJ: Are you planning to use this quilt, Sandy?

SB: I use it in one sense. I use it when I teach. I use it as a creative example of folk art and a creative way of putting together a folk-art quilt. In general, it's a wall hanging. I'll use it to put it up on a wall and just add to the décor of a room.

KJ: Tell me, Sandy, how you got interested in quilting in the first place.

SB: My grandmother quilted but I never actually saw her do so. When my father was born his mother was forty-two. When I was born my father was thirty. So, by the time I was old enough to remember my grandmother she was an elderly lady who had given up quilting and was now crocheting. I can remember her doing that. I knew she made quilts and I'd seen some of her quilts. No one else, at least no one on my mother's side of the family, quilted that I was ever aware of. I'm sure, as you know, all women rich or poor sewed many years ago. I'm sure that there were women in my mother's family that did that, but by the time I was growing up in the 1950s, I didn't see any of that and was not told about any of that. How I actually decided that I wanted to do and needed to do handwork, which started out with things like cross-stitch…I don't remember. I've done all kinds of things like macramé and decoupage. When I started playing with fabric and quilts, I stopped doing all the rest. My sisters do not do anything that has anything to do with a creative hobby. They don't pick up any handwork, and I am never without it. I've been that way since I was a teenager. No one taught me how. I don't remember how I got started and I don't remember the first kit I ever bought, but I know that I've never been without one. I truly think that certain people in the family get that urge, that quilting gene, and other people it just skips. Perhaps that's why I didn't hear about quilters in my mother's family. Perhaps they were people who really didn't enjoy sewing and when they were able to give it up for whatever reason they did so. In my father's family they continue to do it. I've been fortunate enough to get some quilts from my father's family. It's been wonderful to have them and feel that tie to tradition.

KJ: You said that you teach--that you'll use this quilt for teaching. Can you tell us about some other quilt-related activities- teaching, travel, those sorts of things?

SB: It's actually been an interesting journey. When I started making quilts in the early 70s, I did as quilters probably have always done, I used leftover pieces of clothing. When I first got married, I couldn't afford to buy my own clothes, so I started making them. I had leftovers, so my first quilt is squares sewn together, just squares with no pattern. I tied it. The batting shifted. It's lumpy. I put a sheet on the back. That wasn't a good idea, either. I did everything wrong, but I loved working with the cloth, so I didn't give up. I ended up going to graduate school and starting to teach, so that didn't allow me much time for quilting for a number of years. When my children were born, I really wanted to get back to quilting. I needed a creative outlet, I discovered, when they were about one and three. I didn't want to go back to work. I felt it was important to stay home with them. That was my choice. I started taking classes, but 'disposable income' was just not a term in our vocabulary. I quickly learned that the cost of a class was at least doubled by the time you bought fabric and whatever else you might need for the class. I didn't realize that at first. I persisted because I really needed to do something for me. It was in those years in the early '80s that I was introduced to some of the more current and contemporary ways of quilting. By that time rotary cutting had come into being. I knew that I could actually make a quilt in a reasonable period of time and expect to be able to use it. That was very enticing. I wanted to make quilts, of course, for my children. I did take classes. I did make some quilts, but they were mostly tops. In those days you didn't have a basic class where you learned a variety of techniques. You took a class where you learned to make a Log Cabin quilt and then you took another class where you learned how to make an Irish Chain. That was the way it went. Many classes didn't discuss the quilting or the finishing because they just assumed you got that somewhere else. I never understood where you were supposed to get that. By the time my kids were eight and ten my husband, who is a very nice man, suggested that perhaps I should get a job to support my hobby. I went into In the Beginning Fabrics which is a large quilt shop in the Seattle area. It's not near my home. We have a small farm on Cougar Mountain, which is about twenty miles away but it's all interstate, so the commute is fairly quick. There was a "part-time help wanted" sign on the counter. The rest, as they say, is history. I started working a couple of days a week at In the Beginning. After the first year I started teaching. Before my children were born, I was a Special Ed teacher. Teaching is my profession and quilts are my passion. Over time now, it's been about seven or eight years, I teach a lot more than I work, although I still occasionally work on the floor. I love talking to quilters and that's the time I can do that. I've been very fortunate that That Patchwork Place asked me maybe four or five years ago if I would be interested in doing a book on folk art. I had no clue if I would like writing a book. I went back east to look at folk art museums because the teacher in me said if you're going to write about folk art and make folk art quilts, you'd better know what you're talking about. I wrote the book. I would've paid more attention in English class if I ever thought I was going to write a book. I made the quilts and actually loved the entire process. Making the quilts for a book was a great excuse for making quilts and not dinner. [laughs.] Somehow it really legitimatized quilting- we don't need it but we think we do. We need to legitimatize what we do in the eyes of our family who sometimes don't take us very seriously. I loved writing the book. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately did a second book and I've just finished a third and I'm now almost finished with the fourth. It has been great fun but a totally unexpected journey. I am a planner, and this was not a plan. This was an evolution. I know Georgia Bonesteel once said--I was watching one of her TV shows and I've actually been on one of her shows--she said, 'Quilts are like magic carpets, you never know where they're going to take you.' I truly think that's true. I teach many classes including a basic class, and I tell my students, 'You never do know. All quilt teachers that you will take classes from, whether they teach locally or nationally or internationally, sat in your chair once.' We all started at square one. We weren't born with the ability to quilt. You truly never do know where this journey's going to take you. Sometimes it's in wonderfully unexpected places like Houston teaching at the quilt festival. If you had told me five years ago, I would do this I would do this I would've said, 'No, not in a million years.'

KJ: And here you are. You mentioned your books you've written for That Patchwork Place. Were all your books under that publishing company?

SB: Yes. That Patchwork Place is not far from where I live. They've done an excellent job. It's been really fun to work with them, so I've really appreciated having them nearby. One nice thing is that I can run things back and forth easily. I don't have to rely on the mail and that's worked well. They've done a great job and it really has been a lot of fun to get to know people personally there as well as have them publish my books.

KJ: Are all of them on folk art?

SB: No, the first book was on folk art, and it was called "Folk Art Quilts: A Fresh Look." The second book was about photo transfers on fabric, a technique that's become increasingly popular to personalize your quilts. They really appeal to so many people, not just women but men and children as well. My second book is called "Quilting Your Memories." Its subtitle is "Inspirations for Designing with Image Transfers." It involved sixty-seven pieces from quilters all over the United States and Canada, not all my work at all. It's quilts for inspiration, not quilts with patterns. The book has been popular, so last year I submitted a proposal to That Patchwork Place to do a second one. This one is coming out in a few months, February 2000, called "Quilting More Memories." It also had quilts for inspiration, and it also has quilts with patterns. They felt it would be a good idea to include patterns in this particular book. The challenging thing about doing patterns with photo transfers is that everybody's photos are different sizes. I did do ten patterns in this book along with quilts for inspiration, and I updated the information where that was appropriate. The book that I'm really enjoying working on that gets me back to the folk art a bit, is a comprehensive book about flannel quilts. I've done research about the fiber and how it's made, where it comes from. It's just been wonderful fun to make quilts with flannel. Talk about soft. [laughs.]

KJ: You obviously enjoy quilting. What's the best part? What's the most pleasing part to you?

SB: Probably the best part is collecting fabric. I was in a class once and the teacher had a sign on the wall and said, 'If I collected Hummel figures, no one would ask me what I was going to do with them.' I've always kept that in mind. My husband a few years ago got me some of those lawyer's bookcases because where I work is in a room where we put our cats at night. If I just have my fabric on shelves the cats would get hair on it, sleep on it, and all of that. He got me these lawyer's bookcases, which are essentially bookcases with glass fronts, and you pull down the front to protect whatever is inside. Well, that's where my fabric is, and I actually have six of them. Fabric is stacked according to color and value on all of those shelves. It is great fun at least for me and quilting friends that come in to just look at the fabric and look at the color. It's like having paintings on the wall if you will. Will I ever use that fabric in a lifetime? No. Do I stop buying fabric because I won't ever use what I have in a lifetime? No. It is just great fun, I think, I to just see it and be inspired by it and pass it on, perhaps, one day to my daughter or to my quilting friends, whoever gets there first. [laughs.]

KJ: We'll come back to your daughter, but is there some part of quiltmaking that you don't enjoy?

SB: I don't enjoy machine quilting. I suppose I would say if I had to pick one part of it that would be it. I do have someone machine quilt for me. Her name is Becky Kraus, and she does a fabulous job and she machine quilts almost all of my quilts. She does custom work so there are different patterns she quilts in different parts of a quilt. I learned how to machine quilt using my machine many years ago, but I found that while it's not difficult, it's just awkward adjusting all of the fabric, the batting, the backing, the whole bit. I would love to tell you that I hand quilt every quilt that I make because I think hand quilting is wonderful. I just don't have time. I have a family. I have a daughter still at home. My son went to college this fall. I have a husband. I have animals that I love. I'm actually a puppy raiser for guide dogs for the blind. I raise puppies one at a time. We're raising our second puppy now. I teach a lot. I teach locally three or four times a week. Then I travel no more than once a month because I do want to stay home with my family and not look back someday and say, 'Gee, I wish I spent more time at home when my daughter was still there.' I have so much to do that if I'm really going to do what I do well, there are some things I don't have time to do. Hand quilting, while I would love to do it, I just don't have time to. I hope to do it someday. I love playing with the fabric and I love creating the tops. Once I gave myself permission to create--I remember one of the first shows I ever did, and it wasn't as a quilter, one of the first creative things I ever did was actually doing appliqué on sweatshirts, and I remember I got a sign and on the top of the sign above my name it said 'artist.' I felt very uncomfortable with that title because I didn't think of myself as an artist. I see now that that's part of what we as quilters need to do, to think of ourselves as artists if you will and give ourselves permission to be creative. There's nothing wrong with making a quilt according to someone else's pattern. But it's much more special if even in a little way you make it your own, whether it's your choice of fabric, whether it's changing, as in this quilt, the duck to another animal that's meaningful to you. Whatever that means, making it personal to you. I try to give quilters permission to be creative. People tell me they're not creative and it's just not true. It's that they don't think they can be.

KJ: They forgot after kindergarten.

SB: That's right. Well, many of us were told when we were in school that we couldn't draw, and we haven't forgotten that.

KJ: I wanted to go back. You mentioned your daughter. Is she interested in quilting? Do you think she'll be a quilter? How supportive is your family in general about your quilting?

SB: My family in general is very supportive. I found out long ago that once I wrote a book it legitimatized what I did in the eyes of not just my immediate family, but my extended family. All of a sudden, I became a keeper of the keys. I was the person that they started sending quilts to because they thought that now that I'd published a book; I must know how to take care of quilts. Needless to say, that was thrilling. Quilts came my way that I had no clue existed. I found it interesting that I had to publish a book to be considered a legitimate person to get these quilts in the family. As for my daughter--I have a son and a daughter. I don't anticipate that my son will be a quilter although he finds the mechanics of machines and things like that very fascinating. I hope that if he marries someday that my daughter-in-law, if I have one, will be a quilter. I would love that. As a teacher I see many mother-daughter teams, or sisters. I don't have the privilege of having that happen. My mother is not a quilter and lives many miles away from me and my sisters just don't have an interest at all. My mother doesn't either. I would hope that someday my daughter and I would share that interest. She's very creative and she's very artistic. I learned long ago that the way to drive her away would be to force her. She's a very independent, strong-willed young woman. I decided that I was going to be smart about this and involve her in ways that she wouldn't realize she was being involved and I might get her hooked. I did ask her once when I was upgrading my sewing machine if I should trade in the machine that I had, which is an expensive imported machine. I told her, 'You know Kate, if you don't think you'll ever use this then I'll trade it in because it will make the new machine, I'm getting cost less. It's up to you. I'm not putting any pressure on you. I just want to know before I trade this in.' I was really surprised, although she doesn't know I was surprised, when she said, 'No, you'd better keep it.' Now, she's very helpful. She doesn't sew and I don't even ask her to iron. But she really helps when I ask her to do things like, 'What do you think about this border? What do you think about that fabric? Is this fabric too bright? Does this quilt need to be brightened up? How do you like the arrangement?' I involve her a lot like that. I've been very careful in my books when I mention her in the dedication to mention her artistic skills along that line. I think she will end up in an artistic career and for a hobby do something artistic. Will it be quilting? I can only hope so. If it's not, that's her choice. As adults we all get to make that choice. She knows that she's the keeper of the keys so she's going to get the quilts, so she'd better learn how to take care of them. Maybe that will motivate her at some point in time. I didn't get to truly start quilting until my thirties. I did it in my twenties, but it wasn't until I was in my thirties that I was able to take classes and get enough skill to really make the kinds of quilts that have lasted and are being used by my family today. She's only a teenager. She's seventeen right now. She has years.

KJ: I'm going to change subjects pretty radically right now and ask what do you think makes a great quilt?

SB: What makes a great quilt? I imagine there are many, many answers to that. I guess what makes a great quilt to me is one of the reasons I wanted to participate in this project, the story. I read an article in a Country Woman magazine many years ago. The capsule version of the article was that a young woman was driving along some country roads in a different area of the country than where she lived, looking for quilt shops. The way this little area was, there were little signs out for quilts for sale and you just had to find those little signs and turn down lonely little lanes and hope you found some quilts at the end of them. She did and she came to the home of an elderly woman who came to the door. The house was fairly dark inside. The lighting wasn't good. She thought, 'Oh, no, what have I gotten myself into? Am I really going to see any quilts here?' This older woman proceeded to open a cupboard and it was filled with quilts. She took down each quilt and told the story of the quilt to the woman who had come to buy. As she did that, the woman noticed that on the back of many of the quilts there were ribbons. This particular young woman in the story had tried very hard to win ribbons in quilt shows and hadn't won any. She happened to mention to the older woman that she was a quilter. Of course, the older woman immediately said, 'Oh, do you have any quilts that you've made with you? I'd love to see a quilt that you've made.' She did have a quilt. She went out to the car and got it and she explained to the woman how this quilt was in a show, and she thought it would win a ribbon and she'd worked so hard on it, and she couldn't figure out why it didn't. The older woman examined the quilt and noted that things were perfect. The points were perfect, and the stitches were small. She looked at her and said, 'This quilt doesn't have heart.' All the older woman's quilts were quilts about things. She had a baby quilt made from her daughter's clothing, after her young daughter had died. She had a quilt that she made when her son came back from war. Her quilts were made for a reason. Her quilts had her heart and soul and love in them. That somehow came through to the quilt show judges. The younger woman said she'd never made a quilt for that reason. She'd made a quilt to try to win a ribbon. She went home and, of course, didn't forget this. At the end of the story, she was talking about a quilt that she'd made that won a first-place ribbon that she'd made with some of the older woman's fabric that she'd shared with her. It was her quilt that she'd made with a true heart and a soul and a story. I think that those are the quilts that mean the most to me. It's one of the reasons I stop to read the stories that go with quilts, and I hope that people take the time to read them. To me that means so much more than just the fabric and just the stitches.

KJ: Related to that, what do you think makes a great quilter?

SB: I guess that depends on how you define a great quilter. To me, quilters are the nicest group of people you'll ever want to know. To me, a great quilter is probably a person, who makes quilts and is a wonderful person as well, sharing and giving and all of those wonderful traditions. I'm sure judges evaluate great quilters in terms of their skill level. Obviously, there is a certain skill level that's important in making a quilt, but boy I think the variety is endless. I think it's really hard to compare all quilters to each other because you have traditional quilters, you have art quilters, and you have everything in between. I really don't think there's one answer to that.

KJ: I think you've answered this to some degree, but maybe you want to expand on it a bit. Why is quilting important in your life?

SB: I think it's just because I love playing with fabric, looking at fabric, playing with color. I can't tell you exactly why. I think I was born that way. As I said, I think I'm the only one in my family that does it. I have been fortunate to not have to quilt in times of trial and grieving and that kind of thing. Perhaps as I get older and my family ages, I will have a need to do that. Many quilters tell me that quilting and hand stitching is very soothing, and I can completely understand why. I know that when I am stressed about something one of the best things I can do is to just sit down and start sewing. Not creating in the sense of thinking about it, just sewing with those extra strips that I have to make something with my hands.

KJ: You've explained about why quilting is important to you. Do you think quilting is important in American life for American women? If so, how?

SB: Oh, definitely. It's our tradition. We've always made quilts. It's really an unbroken line even though the popularity of quilting has ebbed and flowed. It's interesting that the classes that I teach, my basic class which is obviously for students who have never taken a quilting class before, is always full with a waiting list. It has been that way consistently for eight years. I really think that many women, many of whom work outside of the home are, I think, hungry for hearth and home. Not just being there, but for those feelings. Those are the people that I tend to see in my classes. They are women who work, often have families. They are very organized. They get stuff done because they are certainly used to allotting time for things. In fact, they often get as much or more done as women who come at other times of the week, other times of the day, who are at home during the day. It's easy to think when you're at home, 'I'll do it soon.' The women who are at work know they have to set aside a time for it and they do. I think it's tremendously important to women. I think there's a reason why, as Carrie has said, we have a forty percent increase in the number of quilters in the last few years. I don't think it's an accident. I think that's women searching for their roots. This is a way that they can do it. They can look at fabric. They can feel that tie to tradition. They can do something very special for their families or for someone else that they care about. At the same time, they can do something with their hands. It's a very important thing; I think, to many of us, something quite special and unique. They have many opportunities to learn because of the wonderful quilt shops that have come into being where they can take classes.

KJ: Do you have any particularly strong feelings about how quilts should be used or preserved?

SB: I'm not a quilt historian so I can't say exactly how to preserve them. I ask people who are quilt historians when I have questions like that. Of course, I think that they should be preserved. I certainly hope that my quilts long outlast me, and I would love for them to last a few hundred years. They are textiles. Will they? Who knows? One of the things we learn when we look at antique quilts if you actually look at them with a critical eye, learn about how our grandmothers did things. When they ran out of fabric, they had to substitute another one in. If they ran out of a red, they had to substitute another red. They quilted with fabrics that were leftover pieces of dresses, leftover sleeves, whatever they had. They cut pieces up and used them as economically as they could. They had to mismatch patterns. They had to mismatch plaids and stripes. They didn't have enough fabric to do otherwise. They had to substitute colors. One thing that we've learned in looking at those quilts is how charming they are and what a personality they have. In the early '80s quilt shops came into being and rotary cutting came into being. You saw people that could very quickly cut and piece a quilt, especially if you only used two or three or four different fabrics. There's nothing wrong with making a quilt with two or three or four fabrics, but very quickly I think we came to see that a quilt like that tended to be rather boring. You just needed to look at one fabric and you knew which red or green or blue was in the entire quilt. When you saw those quilts displayed it was very easy to take a glance and walk on. We started to figure out that what was so wonderful about these antique quilts was their charm. How are we going to get it back? You and I can go into a quilt shop and if the fabric is still there, we can purchase the same red fabric we just ran out of. Our grandmothers couldn't. One of the things that I really talk about a lot in some of my classes is teaching people how to be random, how to play with fabric, how to put things together that you wouldn't necessarily think would make a good combination, but in the quilt, once you get all the blocks done, it looks great. You don't always know that when you're making the block. I love scrap quilts. I like to put fifteen different reds in a quilt rather than one red fifteen times. I let the students know that this is not only okay, it's desirable. It's what makes a quilt have its own personality.

KJ: You spoke earlier about learning to quilt. I didn't ask you a question then that I'd like to ask now. Was there some one teacher or someone book that was a great influence on you? Is that still true or has there been a later influence that has been important to you?

SB: I don't remember since I started in the early '80s if I used a book or took a class. I don't think so. Since I'd sewn my own clothes, I think I just assumed I could make a quilt. I was only sewing squares together, so how hard could this be? I ended up putting three layers of batting in that first quilt because I wanted it to be really puffy. You should have seen me crawling around on the floor inside the quilt adjusting the batting. [laugher.] I learned a lot. Once I started taking classes I took classes from a number of teachers. I found that you learn something from every teacher you take classes from. That's one of the wonderful things about taking classes from different people. You get to learn what works for you. I always try to try things that teachers teach me. If I don't like the way, they do things then I can discard it and not use it. Sometimes I do like it and it becomes a part of my style and my way. I think that's very important. We all have our own ways of doing things and that's how we discover those ways. I have taken a number of classes from Roberta Horton. In fact, in my folk-art book I give her a lot of credit for teaching me so many things. As far as I'm concerned, she's the most knowledgeable quilter I know. She does her homework. When she studies something, she looks at quilts, she discovers rules, rules that are unwritten. Then she tries to teach quilts in that tradition, whether it's American scrap quilts or Japanese quilts, or Amish quilts. She's very good at that. She has taught me a lot and helped me a lot as I have come along this journey. I think it's very helpful to have someone who is more or less a mentor like that. We're all wonderful like that in helping other people. It's part of our tradition. It really helps to have somebody who takes a personal interest who you can call, or in these days email, and say, 'How do I do this?' Truly, I've had many wonderful teachers. I really have. I've been very fortunate. I think we have wonderful quilt teachers available these days. Again, they all have different things to teach us. My advice is to take lots of classes, not just one, and learn. There's so much to learn. If you don't enjoy one part of it, you'll enjoy another. Just keep doing it. You can always do things the way I do. Have someone else do the parts you don't like, like the machine quilting.

KJ: I had wondered if I'd seen Roberta Horton's influence in this quilt.

SB: This was the center part that was started in a class with her. I put it away for a while and revived it. The only part, I think, that I had started composing in her class was the very center.

KJ: We have covered a lot of territory. You've told us many things and I've asked many questions. Is there something I didn't ask or a topic you would like to talk about or embrace that we haven't touched on?

SB: Not that I can think of. You'll have to give me a clue. What might I like to touch upon that I haven't?

KJ: I wasn't thinking particularly of any subject. Sometimes there's something you would like to talk about, and it's simply not included in the list of questions that we talk about.

SB: Just thinking quickly about what I could add, what I really try to stress to my students is quilting is supposed to be fun. I think making quilts should be fun. I love folk art so you can see why I am not really interested in the perfection of making quilts. It's not that I would disagree with someone who is and say that's not appropriate. Not at all. We're all different. I think it's very important, especially as we introduce newcomers to quilting, that we make them realize that things don't have to be perfect, and they can make wonderful quilts without having them be perfect. If I were to make a perfect quilt, I can tell you I would fail. I have never made a perfect quilt. I have never made a quilt that I have not looked at and said, 'If I were making this quilt again, I would put this fabric here and do that there.' Yet my quilts have been published in books and articles and different things. I think we are too hard on ourselves. Sometimes we think we don't want to start unless we can do it perfectly. Perfection as you know is really an illusion and I try to convince my students of that and let them know it's much better, particularly when doing photo transfer, that you put those photos together in a quilt to make a very special and unique quilt for someone than if they are in a shoebox at home. That's where many of my photos would be. I'm a little behind on the photo albums. Letting go of the perfection is an important concept that we need to be sure to teach beginners, so they feel comfortable to experiment, to play and to learn. We all learn better when people find positive things about what we do. I really look for the positive in what everybody does. Even if you don't do perfect piecework maybe you do a great job with color. So you deserve credit for what you know and, as you know, no matter what you're doing, whether it's quilting or anything else if the positives are reinforced it makes you comfortable to learn more. If the negatives are reinforced you often feel like you are a failure and think, 'I knew I couldn't do this.' I try to be very careful not to do that. I think it's wonderful that so many people are coming into quilting, and I hope it continues for whatever the reason. I hope I can be a part of encouraging that as so many other teachers and other quilters are.

KJ: I'd like to thank Sandy Bonsib for allowing me to interview her today as part of the 2000 Quilters' [S.O.S.-] Save Our Stories project. Our interview concluded at 11:50, November 4, 2000.

SB: Thank you.

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Citation

“Sandy Bonsib,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 27, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/1278.