Angela Grijalba




Angela Grijalba




Angela Grijalba


Karen Musgrave

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

The Salser Family Foundation


Boonville, California


Kim Greene


Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave. I'm doing a Quilters' S.O.S. – Save our Stories interview with Angela.

Angela Grijalba (AG): Grijalba

KM: Grijalba. It is March 7, 2007 and I am in Boonville, California. Angela, thank you so much for agreeing to let me interview you. Tell me about the quilt that you brought today.

AG: It is based on my family when we were in Costa Rica. I just thought the water was so clear, that is why I put the turtles, because you could just see them when they are swimming. I just remember when I used to be there with our parents it was so nice and warm, you could just get in the water and it would never be cold. I don't know. Now I'm helping with the turtles too.

KM: What do the turtles represent?

AG: That is my dad.

KM: A large turtle in the middle of the quilt. Where did you get this turtle fabric.

AG: I got it actually from some shirts that my baby had.

KM: Some cut up shirts that your baby had. Great.

AG: These little ones are me, my two brothers and my mom. That is my dad. We would always be together and we would always go to the beach and have little picnics there and be swimming.

KM: There are some palm trees?

AG: Yeah, because there were a lot of trees there and you could get the tamarind fruit. Some brown thing you could eat, and they would be kind of sour and be kind of good.

KM: When did you make this quilt?

AG: I made it last year. It was kind of hard and it took me a long while because my baby was small and I didn't have much time to do things and to go to school and getting my homework done, so.

KM: You made it while you had your baby?

AG: Yes.

KM: What do you do with this quilt?

AG: Well, I don't know if I'm going to keep it or if Molly is going to sell it. That is my first one.

KM: Do you want to sell it?

AG: I partially do and partially don't because it is the first one and it is like a memory, but I don't know.

KM: Can't decide? Do you plan to make more quilts?

AG: I do want to. I want to make one about my mom when she was crossing the border, but now the baby is getting older it is grabbing everything and it is kind of harder now.

KM: Eventually. Where do your mom and dad live now?

AG: They are in Fort Bragg and I go visit them once in a while.

KM: Are you from Costa Rica?

AG: No, my dad is.

KM: Your dad is from Costa Rica.

AG: My mom is from Mexico and I was born in Fort Bragg.

KM: How did your parents meet?

AG: I think they met here in Fort Bragg when one of my uncles was getting married. So they came here to the wedding and I think that is where they met.

KM: Has he been back to Costa Rica?

AG: Yeah, he is kind of sick right now, he has Parkinson's, so he has been there to visit his mom because she is kind of old too and she wanted to see him.

KM: Parkinson's disease is tough. My grandfather died of Parkinson's disease, so I know what you are going through. It is sad. Is that why your dad is so big? Is your dad really important?

AG: Yeah.

KM: So he is the big turtle in the sea?

AG: Yep.

KM: So what is your dad like?

AG: When he says that when he has that disease, he can't really stand a lot of noise, so he gets angry a lot. He is just not the same way he used to be. He would always go with us everywhere, but does not enjoy it as much anymore. It is kind of hard.

KM: Very hard. Do you know what caused the Parkinson's disease?

AG: They said it was when he was trying to kill the grass in Mexico or Costa Rica, something like that. That it sprayed all over his back and that is what caused it. So it was the pesticide.

KM: That is too bad. I am sorry to hear it. Why is quilting important to you?

AG: It is really creative and you get to do a lot of things. It is hard to get everything nice and neat and it takes time to learn it. To get it all perfect. Everyone gets to see it.

KM: You like the group?

AG: Yeah.

KM: You like the group a lot? How long have you been coming to the group?

AG: Since last year.

KM: You come to the group and see what they are doing. It is nice that everyone's work looks so different and you have your own style. Do you think your other quilts will look pretty much like this, or not?

AG: Probably yeah, because I haven't done much and eventually when I will start doing more I will get better at it.

KM: What other ideas do you have for quilts?

AG: Well the one I said about the one of my mom crossing the border. I was thinking of doing a big one, because she actually had to do a lot of walking and she said that they didn't bring any food because they have to be running and walking a long way and they actually came up to a tree with oranges and they were so hunger that they didn't even peel them, they just ate them like that and she got sick. I want to do one about that.

KM: That is good. So what else?

AG: I don't know, probably one about my dad.

KM: I think that would be good.

AG: And my two brothers. Right now both of them are in the gangs in Fort Bragg. Last month, some gangsters in Fort Bragg actually tried to kill four other gangsters in a drive by. In Santa Rosa my cousin's cousin was driving and some gangster shot him and they say he might be paralyzed from the waist down.

KM: He got shot?

AG: Yeah. And I really like my brothers and I always try to tell them to like stop doing that, but they say once you get into it, you can never stop.

KM: I hope that is not true.

AG: Well it is.

KM: Why do you think there is a gang problem?

AG: Probably, because schools don't try to have a lot of sports for kids and parents are always at work and they don't have time for kids and stuff like that.

KM: How old is your son?

AG: He is a year and three months.

KM: You walk well. You are doing well. Did you know how to sew before you made the quilts?

AG: No.

KM: This is your first time?

AG: Yes.

KM: Do you have a sewing machine?

AG: No.

KM: So you have to use the sewing machines at the class.

AG: My dad has three and I was watching, and my house is really small, so I can't bring stuff to my house, but I want to get one.

KM: They are kind of fun. Do you do anything by hand? Have you tried hand work?

AG: I did crocheting. I made a scarf for my mom.

KM: Very nice. Do you like to crochet?

AG: Yeah.

KM: So between crocheting and quilting, which do you like better?

AG: Probably quilting.

KM: Why do you like quilting better?

AG: Because, I don't know, you can get more ideas into a quilt than crocheting.

KM: I think I agree with you. You can express more in quilting than you can in crocheting. Do you think this quilt reflects your culture?

AG: A little if I had my grandma here from Mexico.

KM: So your grandma has to be here, so your grandma is important too?

AG: Yeah. She is very important to my life too.

KM: So there will be another quilt, all about grandma and family.

AG: Yeah.

KM: That will be really, really good. What do you think makes a great quilt?

AG: Just having your own ideas and having loved ones helping you with it. Being with them.

KM: Who helped you with this quilt?

AG: My mom.

KM: That is good. Does she quilt?

AG: No. She just told me like things to do and how it looks.

KM: I like the water fabric, it is very nice. Are blues your favorite color?

AG: I like pink and brown.

KM: I like pink and brown too. There is a whole time in American quilt history where pink and brown was very popular. There was a lot of brown fabric. What advice would you give to someone starting out? You have made your first quilt, so what would you tell somebody if they were to make a quilt?

AG: Probably start with your family.

KM: Start with your family?

AG: Yeah, because it is actually kind of easier instead of trying to think of something to deal with.

KM: What do you think of the group?

AG: They are nice.

KM: Have they exhibited your quilt? Did your quilt go to any exhibits?

AG: I don't think so.

KM: Do you want to exhibit?

AG: Um.

KM: They have lots of exhibits. Would you like to be a part of it?

AG: Probably.

KM: I think it's great that the group gets out and gets their work shown and more awareness. It is great for the women. They have some fabulous stuff.

AG: They are getting really good.

KM: What do you like about the group?

AG: They help each other out. They say how it looks and they are not like get you mental about it.

KM: That is good. There is a lot of work over there. I am surprised at how many quilts there are.

AG: There are a lot.

KM: You like to make yours small, because yours is a small quilt.

AG: Because it was a beginning.

KM: That is good. Are you happy?

AG: Yeah.

KM: I am looking at the back. I always like to look at the back of quilts. Do you like to look at the back of quilts?

AG: No.

KM: You don't. Do you like to machine quilt? Machine stitching.

AG: Not really.

KM: Why not?

AG: Because it looks so funky.

KM: I don't think it looks funky at all, I think it looks great. It takes practice. Everything takes practice, but you did well. You did really well. What does your dad think of the quilting? Did he see this quilt?

AG: I think he did, but I don't remember what he said.

KM: How about your mom? I can ask you about the film, now that we are going to be part of the film. Do you know about the film?

AG: No.

KM: They are making a film about the group, to help educate other people about what the group is doing and how they are doing it and so forth. There is going to be a film, and a book. Do you know about the book.

AG: Yes the pictures.

KM: The pictures of the quilts and the stories. What do you think of that?

AG: It is very nice.

KM: Do you know how many women are in the group?

AG: Not exactly.

KM: I think it is about fifty now. Do you consider yourself an artist?

AG: No.

KM: No.

AG: No.

KM: Do you think a few more quilts and then you will consider yourself an artist?

AG: I don't think so.

KM: No never, oh, I disagree with you.

AG: I wouldn't consider myself as an artist, I just like being creative.

KM: That is good. Did you draw your trees first? Did you draw out your design or did you just go with the fabrics?

AG: I mostly went with the fabrics.

KM: So you let the fabrics be your inspiration?

AG: Yeah.

KM: That is good. Do you think you will make a pink and brown quilt?

AG: I don't know.

KM: Have you ever thought about making a quilt that you would sleep under?

AG: No.

KM: Would you ever consider it?

AG: Might be too big, but probably.

KM: You can then have your pink and brown. I am going to conclude this interview and then we will pretend. So thank you. [Lee Serrie was going in and out getting ready to film so the interview was going to have to start over.]


“Angela Grijalba,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed June 23, 2024,