Paulette Lancaster

Photos

AQSG-007_Paulette_Lancaster_1.jpg
AQSG-007_Paulette_Lancaster_2.jpg

Title

Paulette Lancaster

Identifier

AQSG-007

Interviewee

Paulette Lancaster

Interviewer

Linda Moore

Interview Date

10/4/02

Interview sponsor

The Nat'l Quilting Assn

Location

Rockford, Illinois

Transcriber

Joanne Gasperik

Transcription

[note: throughout the entire interview talking could be heard in the background.]

Linda Moore (LM): [tape begins midsentence.] …fourth two thousand and two. It is 2:12 p.m. and I'm conducting an interview with Paulette Lancaster for the Save Our Quilts, no, Quilts Save Our Stories. [Quilters' S.O.S.- Save Our Stories.] [chipmunk briefly invades the tape.] And tell me a little bit about this quilt that you brought today.

Paulette Lancaster (PL): This quilt, I made this quilt partly for my own pleasure and partly as a project to teach in our shop. I love autumn; autumn is my favorite time of the year, and this particular quilt is 'Jack o' Lanterns' and 'Hole in the Barn Doors' with very, typical fall colors in oranges, reds, purples, greens. In October '99 there was a quilt on the cover of Fons and Porters magazine that had Jack o' Lanterns and it was done by Sarah Nephew. And I really liked that quilt. So, I'm looking how she constructed it. I decided her pumpkin pattern was way too complicated. And I wanted something much simpler, so I re-constructed the pattern and came up with my own Jack o' Lantern. Then I tried to put it together and worked on using little fusible web on the stem, which I normally don't do. I took it in and used it as a class to teach at Quilt Makers in Fishers, Indiana. I'm an independent teacher, contracted for different classes and stuff. I teach, work at different stores and various--

LM: Are you connected with the store where you--

PL: Other than an independent teacher, no. I have worked in a quilt shop. I have worked in Quilt Quarters in Carmel, Indiana, which is owned by Kaye England for about three years. I really enjoyed it, but you know you live on; things happen in life, you go on.

LM: When did you make this quilt?

PL: I made it in the fall of 2000.

LM: And have you, and how many classes have you taught using this--this entire format--the same format?

PL: Yes, same format. I've taught it twice. What I have discovered is that it is such a seasonal quilt, that everyone comes in the shop and asks for patterns. I like to teach during the day. And with the changing dynamics of our workforce and women in the workforce, more people are interested in taking classes in the evening. So, lots of interest but not many signed up to take it, because of the time that I placed it. The time period was off. I want it during the day, and everybody was interested in the night. So, I have kind to think maybe what I need to do is to fix this up and sell as patterns because the lady who owns the shop, she said, 'Paulette, if you had patterns, I could have sold a ton.'

LM: Have you done, have you done that sort of thing before? Design and sell patterns?

PL: That's my next step. I've had another quilt that I did for classes that was a very much a thirties appliqué, redone in my, in my vision and I had people sign up for that class, but more people asking for patterns, so I've just about decided it's time that I start looking into the design part of quilting.

LM: And tell me about how you or where you found your fabrics for this?

PL: A lot of them are, are what was current at the time in 2000. There are some very traditional fabrics in here and then there are some very modern novelty prints. There is little spiders and there is some solids and the thing I really like, I thought that brought it together is that the border that goes around it is a reproduction of a William Morris print from the 1800's, 1880's, I think. And it's just perfect shades of browns and greens that I needed to, to finish off my quilt [Linda interjects something inaudible.].

LM: I notice that it's, has machine quilting. Is that your choice or do you--?

PL: I am not a machine quilter. I machine piece. And I love strip piecing and I like to use that. I am a hand quilter. I think in another life I and machines had a run-in, because I get nervous when I have to sit down at them. But I'm being better as far as piecing. This needed to be done quickly. I wanted it now, you know? [laughs.] So, I had a lady who is a machine quilter and I asked her to quilt it for me. And at the time I basically asked her to do a meandering quilting in it, which she did. She took a little artistic license and did some spider webs and outlined pumpkins and did a couple other things which I thought added attraction to the quilt. So, I hired it out to have it machine quilted.

LM: How does it feel when you're teaching a class and to see how they reproduce the quilt? They can't obviously be using all your colors again. How does that feel when you see what they've done?

PL: I like seeing how people take an idea or pattern or a quilt and reproduce it. It's been my experience that I'll have people who want to reproduce it as close as possible, to the point that they want the same fabrics. So, you know, and if that fabric is not available then you have to gently persuade them to try to find something else that is similar or gets the same feel that let them create it and be their selves. I give suggestions and then help them if there is any technical part of it they're having trouble with and other than that it's I do a lot of encouraging. I want a new quilter or quilter who wants to try something like this to be not afraid to express herself in color or design and find that hidden side of her that she would have been a little afraid to try a technique, that get her pushed and, 'It's okay, you're doing great.' 'You know it's not wrong.' 'There's nobody that's going to come and yell at you if your points don't meet exactly.' 'You know it's your artwork. It's your creation.' So that's what I try to instill and persuade my students to look at that side of their selves.

LM: That's great. How do you use this? Obviously, a teaching tool, but what else? How about in your home?

PL: Oh, yeah. I like to, I'm a very seasonal decorator. In fact, my children who are now grown men say 'Mother, you tend to decorate the house more than elementary teachers do.' So [laughs.] I get it out and when I, September 1st the fall things come out and I put this out on the couch, and I use it. I like to use my quilts that I make. I've noticed that I'm a person who tends to get what I call recliner size and I don't get much bigger. [Linda laughs.] When I first started quilting on one of the first big pieces I did. You know I started out with small things, small little pieces, small little hangings that grew. And then finally when I got enough confidence in my abilities to try a larger size quilt, I still wasn't quite confident in myself to try what I call a full-size or bed-size quilt. So, I had my eldest son at the time when he was a teenager to sit down in the recliner and stretch full out. I wanted it to be able to come to his chin and drape over his feet at the end and that was enough. That was a, that was a 'watching television and curling up with a book' kind of size that I wanted. I really at the time didn't measure. I just referred to these at the time as my 'Afghan-sized quilts'. [Linda laughs.] Recliner-sized, recliner-sized quilts.

LM: Where do you see this quilt going? Is it going to stay with you or--?

PL: That will be interesting. My eldest son got married two years ago. His wife is a professional and she is getting her degree to go out and start her own [inaudible.] office practice as a psychiatrist. I really don't know. I'm kind of hoping that my quilting and the things that I'm doing now maybe I'll have a granddaughter who will want these. I have told my sons that if anything ever happens to them and I ever find any of these quilts being used, you know like under a car as a pad [Linda chuckles.] I will come back and haunt them. They are to call my quilting friends and ladies who know, who will know how to take care of these.

LM: Have you worked with children?

PL: No, I have not. I have not taught with children, basically I teach ladies.

LM: At what age did you start quilting?

PL: I was sitting here thinking about that the other day. Actual quilting, what true quilting is, I probably started when I was about 38 years old.

LM: And how did you, how did you get interested in that?

PL: I've always liked, I've always been a person who liked to use my hands in crafts. So, you know I've crocheted, I've done macramé, I've painted in oils, worked with various fabric art, And I had a friend give me a bag of scraps that she found at a Good-Will sale. And in going through these scraps apparently this was from an older woman who had the original patterns from Ruby McKim in there for the Bear's paw patched block and the French star block. And the little lady who had sat and cut out all these pieces had done it for the bear paw that she had forgotten to add seam allowances. So, all these little patches were really too small to work with. And I assumed she got frustrated and just threw them in the sack and wanted to get rid of them. But I took them, because this is when I was beginning to really think about, you know I was a young house wife, decorating my home and decided what kind of style of person was I and I liked 'country'. And I liked this thing that quilting was becoming and it's more noticeable. So, I took these little pieces out and looked at this little pattern and pieced some of these little bear paw blocks. That's how I had done it and I was making them into pillows. I met a lady who lived two streets over from me and she was a quilter, and she came in and she saw them. She says, 'Paulette why aren't these quilted?' and I said, 'Because I don't know how.' [laughs.] So, she gave me a little personal instruction and then after that I started taking classes. So, I thought I would learn the correct way to quilt.

LM: And how did you find those classes?

PL: It was kind of serendipity. When I moved to where I live now one of the neighbors, new neighbors came over to say hi. I had made a little wall hanging of appliquéd hearts which was a very popular thing to do in the early eighties. And she said, 'Oh you're a quilter too?' And I said, 'Sort of.' [laughs.] And she said, 'We have a guild. You must come to it.' So going to the guild, getting involved in the guild there in Indianapolis, then you find out where the classes are being taught. And I just started taking classes of things that I liked, that would teach me a new, a new technique.

LM: Did you then incorporate that technique into quilts?

PL: I'd say on the most part I have liked what I've done. I have taken some things thinking I could do this better. I have noticed over the years that if I do pick up a pattern or do pick up printed directions, I can not follow it to the letter. There is always something I find that I think I can improve or I'm not really happy with the colors they suggest, and I make it my own, I really rework anything that I pick up to make it mine.

LM: And you mentioned you went to a guild. Do you belong to more than one guild?

PL: At one time I did. I belonged to the Indianapolis guild where I live and did that and then later, I grew up in Missouri, so when I went home to visit family, I learned that there was a Missouri guild and I thought 'I'm going to belong to them too.' because the little cities and town that were coming in the newsletters, I was familiar with from my hometown area. So even though I was not attending any of their meetings or that I was still getting their newsletter and it's like a little piece of home. So, at one point I was doing Missouri guild and the Indianapolis guild, and I also was one of the charter members in the Indiana State Guild.

LM: Do you do any other like daytime quilting with a Bee group or anything like that?

PL: Yeah--

LM: Quilt with others?

PL: Yes. I belong to a group of ladies. We're called 'Out on a whim, W.O.W.' and we--I love this group in that it's very--I'm looking for the word, we've got skills of all types, we've got interests of all types. We've got ladies who like the traditional, to the hand quilting, to everything. And we've got those who are very art quilt, in that they're dying their own fabrics and you know using beads and embellishments. So, the thing that I like is everybody is willing to listen to the other, everyone is willing to share and it's a wonderful group in that we have all different likes, but we mesh well.

LM: Do you have quilters in your family?

PL: Yes. My grandmother was a quilter. I think one of my first quilting memories was wanting to know what 'that frame thing against the ceiling' was in my grandmother's home. It turned out that during the wintertime, is when she quilted and my grandfather would put together a frame that he would attach to pulleys and she could pull it up against the ceiling to get it out of the way of the family room, you know the main living room. When she had her friends, her ladies over, they would lower it down and set it on the edge of the kitchen chairs. I unfortunately didn't get to really see her do quilting, because most of the time when we visited was at holidays or during the summer. So, I really never got to see her actually quilting. When I got older and got interested in quilting, I went to my mother who is not a quilter and asked her, 'Where are grandmother's quilts?' and she said, 'Hon, they got used up.' They were used, the quilts were used. When I was a teenager, my grandmother was still piecing very simplistic one-patch quilts and hand tying them because her eyesight wasn't where she could hand quilt anymore. But she could still machine piece on her old treadle machine. And so, she was still treadling and tying. I was in high school. I had a job at a pizza place, and I took the $18, there was woman who was having her make quilts for her contract and she was paying her $18 a quilt. This is in the early 70's. So, I took my $18 and I went down, and I said, 'grandma I want to buy one of your quilts from you.' So, I have a one-patch yellow and tan-colored, now these are very, very 60's yellows and very 60's tans one-patch put together and that's the one quilt that I have of her, that for a while. A year or so ago I went to visit my aunt, my mother's younger sister, and Aunt Naoma is not a quilter either, but she's a wonderful seamstress. And she pulled out of a cedar chest an embroidered piece of religious blocks that my grandmother had made and put together. And it does have some hand quilting on it. And she gave it to me. So, I'm blessed that she was able to move it on to me and that I got it. [Linda interjects something inaudible.] My grandmother was also a pastor's wife. So, she was very active and a lot of the quilts she made went in missionary barrels. A lot of the embroidered pillowcases and sheets, things that she made, because I do remember watching her embroider, those went into missionary barrels. And I am lucky enough to have a pair of pillow slips that she embroidered and crocheted. So, I do have some of those.

LM: How many do you think she made?

PL: I don't know. [laughs.] I think she must have made a lot. Later on, I got to see my aunt Bernice, who is my mom's older sister. At one time before my grandmother died, she was living near Aunt Bernice, and they were still quilting together. So, I had to ask her. I said 'Aunt Bernice I don't know a lot about grandma's history. What patterns did she like? Did she like quilting? Did she like hand quilting? And so, it was the basic 30's pattern. She did the Blazing Stars. She did the Dresden Plates. She did the wedding rings. Of course I've never seen any of those and I wish I would have, but--

LM: Do you remember if she bought her fabric or if she used [inaudible.]

PL: I don't know. That's one thing I need to go ask my mom. In talking to my mother, the other day about it, she says, 'Oh, mother gave us a quilt when your father and I were married.' 'Mom' I said, 'What was it?' and she says, 'Well it was kind of a sunflowery thing.' So, the more I got her to explain to me what it looked like, I think it was a Dresden Plate. On the basic thirty's green, you know, multicolored. And of course, I was asking her was there borders? Was there sashing? She didn't know exactly what that meant, so I had to explain it to her. So, my goal some day is to get her to sit down to kind of draw out and draft out that quilt. And I would kind of like to reproduce it from mom's memory as much as I could.

LM: I can see that having an impact on you, of your grandmother and the aunt's quilting, do you think your quilting has an impact on your family?

PL: Ohhh, ya. I have two sons, I have an all male household, so they've had to go to quilt shows.

And they've had to come to see mom's things. And they hear me talk about it and they've seen my collection and they know mom's sewing room and I have talked to my sons to tell them about what they will do with my quilts later on. And I am hoping that I'll have granddaughters some day that I can pass these down to. So, my sons are very aware of my quilting. I've also used my quilting as a means of supplying the habit in that I have done hand commission to work for other women. I teach and I also am now a quilt appraiser.

LM: What do you find most pleasing about quilt making?

PL: Touching it. I think I'm a very tactile person and i think just touching fabric and enjoying working with it and the feel. And the other part of it I really, really love is color. I just really love a lot of color. The design part of it I enjoy. I think probably the part that to me is work is trying to be patient enough to get that hand in fast enough to get that quilt made. You know, quilting, I will do, the quilting, that gets to be a little drudgery. It's like, I want it done yesterday, but it takes time to hand quilt.

LM: That's what I was going to ask you, is there any part of the quilting that you find--

PL: It's probably that--

LM: Not pleasing?

PL: It is that I want it quicker than I can actually produce it [laughs.], you know? And that I think some day I might learn how to machine quilt, but at the same time part of me really doesn't want to do machine quilting. I don't mind using the machine as a tool to strip piece and make the, make the designs to get the quilt in. But I feel a real connection in doing the hand quilting. I really think I enjoy that most. In my commission work I had a lot of older women bring to me tops that they had done when they were younger or that their mother had done. And so, I did a lot of thirties tops that I finished for people. To me it just seemed to call out that it needed to be hand quilted and not machine done.

LM: Did you have any concern about quilting on other quilts?

PL: Yeah. I looked at them. I talked to the person who would bring me the quilt. And I would try to be absolutely sure that it was, the fabric was in condition enough that it could take quilting. And that if I thought it was something that maybe wouldn't stand up to the quilting that I would tell the best way to keep this is just to have it--

LM: How did you decide on the kind of filler that is right to use?

PL: Oh. Always, always cotton. I try to keep it as close to the period as possible, so you know cotton batting, cotton thread. I hand baste on the floor. As much as what would it be to the period time as possible.

LM: Did you have to use reproduction or try to find any pieces for repair or replacement in doing these older quilts?

PL: No, I was lucky in that I did not. I did not have to do that.

LM: Tell me a little bit about your wearable art.

PL: I don't have a lot. I like to, what I have done is I have taken men's vests and reworked them and put appliqué and buttons and sequins and sort of the crazy quilt side of that in a vest part I like in wearable art. I hadn't really explored a lot, but I have done some vests.

LM: And have you entered your things in contests?

PL: Yes, I have. I have been in several state contests and guild shows. Won a State Fair ribbon on a Crazy Quilt in '99. So that's--

LM: State Fair. So, you have, is there an active participation in your organization or is it just you?

PL: There are a lot of women who go to our guild who do make quilts and put them in the State Fair. And in my bee in particular there are several ladies who really like to do that every year, make a quilt or project and put it into the State Fair.

LM: Is your guild involved in doing exhibits?

PL: The guild is active in that every other year it has a member's show. It turns out to be quite a little event.

LM: Do you have guest speakers that come?

PL: Yes, we have guest lecturers who come just about every month. We try to make it as varied as possible. We have traditionalists, people who work with traditional methods as much as we've had art quilters.

LM: What do you think makes a great quilt?

PL: I would think impact. I'm kind of a divided person. There is a part of me that just loves the traditional stuff. So, I really look at the construction and the work and the expertise that goes into the art of quilting. But then there is the art side of who just really likes taking the traditional and reworking it into something that you wouldn't have thought about using on a quilt. So, you know it depends on if I'm in my traditional mode or if I'm in my art quilt mode, which way I'm going that day.

LM: What do you think makes a quilt artistically powerful?

PL: I would have to say, I'd have to say technique as much as color, as use of the design. And also, if it's a quilt that makes you think about a message or, particularly if it's a quilt that has a message, whether it was able to get across that message or just one of those kinds of quilts when you walk up. I think of it like fireworks. When you walk up and just go 'Oh' [sighs.], you know, that is a good quilt to me. One that can make me exclaim out loud, that's a good quilt to me.

LM: Have you attended quilt shows out of town?

PL: Yes.

LM: And what do you see there when you go through a quilt show? How do you respond to what you see on the wall?

PL: The times that I have attended quilt shows out of my hometown, out of my state, I've been to shows where they've been very regionalized. To me they remind me of the very traditional aspects of quilting. Then I've been to shows where they really challenge you, that there is a really Avant-guard trend-setting methods of quilting going on that is interesting to look at for instruction and for ideas. So, I've seen a little bit of both, the traditional, real traditional homey to what it was supposed to be a quilt on the bed to the really artistic hanging on the wall kind of things. And I have appreciation for both of them. But I think the show that I probably would have enjoyed the most would have been the one that gave me new ideas or saw a typical technique worked in a little bit different manner.

LM: How many times has that happened to you, where you've seen the quilt and have gone 'Oh! Go do that.'?

PL: I have usually, it's happened a lot into the fact that I don't go and reproduce the quilt as is as much as I take the technique or the use of the fabric and work it into something that I am working on at the time.

LM: How do great quilters learn the art of quilting, especially designing the pattern and choosing the fabrics and colors?

PL: I think it's a method of two things. I think its part of what is just inside a person and then it's also part of just learning the basic techniques. I kind of relate it to cooking. When I was a new wife, it was like, how do mother-in-laws and moms make these beautiful dishes that just taste wonderful and its kind of was a learning process. You got to learn the basic recipe, and then from the basic recipe you start adding your own thing and then you got to know the basics. And then I think you also have to have a little bit of that inside artistic person to want to break the mold and do a little something different and be willing to try something different.

LM: You checked here that you are an appraiser.

PL: Yes, yes.

LM: When do you do that and how did you become an appraiser?

PL: When I started learning how to quilt, I wanted, first of all I felt like I was short-changed and that I didn't have those family quilts like everybody else did. And I wanted to acquire some of those. So, I began to learn methods but also quilt history, you know. What made a quilt from this time period? What was the differences in going on? And when I first began quilting, the quilts that talked to me were the turn of the century quilts that were the deep indigos and the deep reds and the blacks, and the ones to me that looked very graphic. So, once I began to learn all I could about that time period then you normally, you start trickling down into learning what came next. What came next? So, every time I learned a new technique I was also wanting to know 'why this technique' and why these colors and what was going on. So, the history to me was as much as interesting as the quilt, the art of the quilt itself. So, I started reading and researching on my own. When something would come up that I wanted to know about I'd start reading as much as I could about it and do it. Later after I had been quilting for several years and I did a lot of antiquing with my friends. We'd go out looking for quilts at the antique shops. It was good to know to be able to walk up to a quilt and say, 'Okay I know this time period from this,' and it felt very good to be able to start recognizing designs, time periods and things and then having people go 'why do you know it's from that?' And then to be able to sit there and explain to them. So, I got interested and then when I heard that there was an appraiser group out there and that this could be done, I wanted to do that, because I love seeing what's out there. I love, I'm surprised every time I do an appraisal. The quilt, who made it, how it came in the family, all that. It all fascinates me as much as the art.

LM: When they bring quilts to you for appraisal, is there a [inaudible.] that comes along with it too, or do you speak to them first before they bring it to you? Do you say 'bring any pictures' or anything like that along? Or is that not considered important to your appraisal?

PL: When I started appraising, I put together some information, started leaving it at the quilt shops, antique shops and this kind of stuff. Took some courses on appraising and ethic courses and get the basics down. And then it's basically it's word of mouth. People start picking up your brochures and it's also educating the public. You're still, I'm still educating people that 'these are important', that 'these still have value as far as family history' and that 'that needs to be saved'. So, you know it's just getting word of mouth out there and also to make yourself known that you do this and that it is important to have the quilts appraised, whether it's an antique quilt or whether it's something that's made two years ago. It still needs to have that done; because I've had people call me who have lost family quilts in fires. And they want, the insurance company wants an appraisal for them and it's like, I am sorry I can not ethically do that. I have to see the quilt now as it is today, touch it, look at it. And that's why it's so important to have quilts appraised.

LM: And the appraisal is for replacement value?

PL: No. There are several kinds of appraisals. Most everybody gets insurance replacement. There is appraisals for fair market value, if they tend to take these and have them sold. What they might consider would be a good price to ask for. There are also donation appraisals. If a quilt is going to be used as a donation you don't, it's kind of a working out how much money you might be able to make off this quilt. So, there are several different kinds of appraisals.

LM: Speaking of donations etcetera. Have you ever worked on a fund-raiser quilt?

PL: Yes, I have. Two years ago, my little beelet decided to raise some money for our guild and so we sort of opted on our own and we made an Amish version. [says quietly to herself.] There are nine of us in the group, ten of us in the group and we came together and pooled fabric and pooled the time and we put together a really pretty Amish quilt that we then sold raffle tickets to and in that giving all the proceeds to the guild and then of course the person who got the quilt. And of course, it all so special in that it was a millennium quilt. We had a special little saying on the back and noted that it was this time period. We had fun doing it.

LM: Have you ever won a raffle quilt?

PL: [says quietly.] Won a raffle quilt? No, I have not.

LM: Why is quilting important to your life?

PL: I think when I quilt, I feel a connection to my grandmother. I think quilting is tangible, is a tangible timeline between our foremothers. I think if we're doing something that our mothers did, our grandmothers did, they may have had to do it for different reasons, but the more I find of history, the more I find out the reasons we have now, the same reasons they had then. Either it was for personal use, or it was for a show or a contest or it was to show off expertise in their hand skills. I think it's all the same, but it's a connection to our foremothers.

LM: In what ways do your quilts reflect your community or region? Do they?

PL: I don't know if my quilts could ever reflect my region. I am, right now I am in a region that I consider very traditional. Some of my quilts I use traditional parts of it, and some, I really like the arts so I don't know if would consider my quilts to reflect my region or not.

LM: What do you think about the importance of quilts in American life?

PL: I think they had a lot to do with it, much more than most people realize, because in doing my history research on quilting, quilting has been around since the Egyptian days. What makes American quilting American, uniquely American is the patchwork. It was the taking and the saving of every little thing that our foremothers couldn't make or couldn't have, and the reuse and the reuse and the recycling and then their own creativity of taking those little pieces and still making them very pleasing and that's uniquely American.

LM: What kind of special meaning do you think it has for women's history, women's history in America?

PL: I am beginning to think that quilts are probably going to be one of the most significant documentations of women's history, because women spoke through their quilts. They spoke artistically, they spoke politically. They reflected what was happening in their lives whether it was grieving over a dead member of the family. In the time of the 1850's when everybody was moving west, it was connection back home to those new wives who were starting out. So, I think there is a lot of connection in there. And I think a lot of our history will be found in the quilts. And that's why I think it's so important that we research these quilts, and we get the information and we study as much as we can about them and document them as much as we can, because these are basically our touchstones for women's history.

LM: How do you feel about the conflict that sometimes comes up about quilt as art or craft? Quilting.

PL: I'm very, very--as I learn more about quilting, improve my own skills I don't consider quilting a craft. I consider it an art. And I think every woman is expressing herself through her quilting--

LM: Then kind of following, how do you think quilts can be used?

PL: They've been used, they are being used and they have been used many, many ways.

They've been used as fun-raisers, as political conscience and awareness, group issues. I think we've still finding new ways to use a quilt to express a thought or to raise money for a need.

LM: How do you think quilts can be preserved for the future?

PL: From the appraiser side of it, that's what I'm learning, how to preserve them and keep them as long as we can. Cloth isn't something that's going to stay around for a long time, unfortunately. So, if we can find methods that can preserve them as much as we can, I think through documentation and photos and pictures. In the quilts themselves we learn more and more about acid-free boxes, acid-free tissues, how to store a quilt properly and how to keep it in as good a condition as long as possible. I think that knowledge is growing all the time.

LM: And what should we be telling the new quilt makers about – should they be thinking about when they're designing and choosing their materials for producing a quilt, that [inaudible.]?

PL: I think new quilters now are really lucky, even as I grow into my experience in that. The forerunners now are preparing us for that, so there is more technology that has come through batting. More technology that has come through the uses of the threads we're using now. So, I think in a way we're making the manufacturers keep up with us in that. Like when I went to pick up batting, what might have been there was polyester, now we want to keep, there's questions coming up. I think there's technology out there that's trying to preserve this as much as possible, because we women are wanting it.

LM: What's happened to the quilts that you've made for friends and family?

PL: I have to say personally I haven't made too many little things. I've given away a few smaller articles that I have made. I am a quilt collector, so sometimes I've given away quilts that I have collected, that I liked, to my sisters or my mother. I find right now I have a hard time giving away a quilt, because to me so much of myself goes into this. It's like giving away one of my children. And whoever's going to get it is going to have to love it awful hard. [laughs.] It's very hard to let it go too. So, I haven't given away a lot yet.

LM: What's the favorite quilt that you've made?

PL: Oh, that's hard to say. [laughs.] The one's that I've made, I like them all. I don't think I could pick a favorite.

LM: Okay. Well, I'd like to thank Paulette Lancaster for allowing me to interview her today as part of the Quilters S.O.S. Save our Stories. Our interview concluded at 2:49 p.m. on October 4, 2002. We're doing this for AQSG [American Quilt Study Group.] in Rockford, Illinois. Thank you.


Citation

“Paulette Lancaster,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 24, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/1430.