Elvia Hernandez




Elvia Hernandez




Elvia Hernandez


Karen Musgrave

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

The Salser Family Foundation


Boonville, California


Kim Greene


Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave. I'm doing the Quilters' S.O.S.- Save Our Stories interview with Elvia Hernandez. It is March 8, 2007. It is 12:28 in the afternoon and I'm in Boonville, California. Thank you for agreeing to do an interview with me.

Elvia Hernandez (EH): Gracias.

KM: Please tell me about the quilt that you brought today.

EH: A woman from China.

KM: From China?

EH: China. [laughs.]

KM: A Chinese woman.

EH: She is in a garden. That is her house right there and she is out in the garden. A neighbor. [laughs.]

KM: Why did you decide to do a Chinese woman?

EH: That is the first thing that came to my mind.

KM: Why is that?

EH: I like the way they dress.

KM: So you know something about the Chinese culture?

EH: No.

KM: But you like the way that they dress. Did you make the fan? How did you do this?

EH: I just used material and just found.

KM: Is this paint? Yeah, so you painted it. You painted the fan? How many quilts have you made?

EH: Three. A dog with puppies.

KM: Which one is this one?

EH: The first.

KM: This was your first quilt?

EH: Yeah.

KM: When did you make this?

EH: More than a year ago.

KM: Is that when you started, more than a year ago?

EH: Sì.

KM: You joined. Why did you join the class?

EH: I thought it was interesting and I wanted to try.

KM: Who did you hear it from?

EH: Molly.

KM: So Molly came and made you come? [laughs.]

EH: [laughs.] Yes, she encouraged us to go out and do it and try it.

KM: How do you like the group?

EH: I like it. [laughs.]

KM: Why do you like it?

EH: Because there is other people.

KM: Do you like making quilts?

EH: Sì.

KM: What is your favorite part of making a quilt?

EH: When I am figuring out the material and trying to form what I am going to do.

KM: Did you draw this out ahead of time, or did you just lay it out and let the fabric speak to you?

EH: Sì. I just was looking at the material and said I would like this material for this.

KM: And laid it out?

KM: Did you draw her face?

EH: Sì. Paint.

KM: Did you embroider?

EH: Sì.

KM: Is that embroidery?

EH: By hand.

KM: By hand, so.

Yolanda Ibarra (YI): Did you braid it?

KM: It kind of looks braided.

EH: No.

KM: Do you have a sewing machine at home?

EH: No.

KM: You come to class to sew?

EH: Sì.

KM: Do you have plans for more quilts?

EH: Making a blanket.

KM: How big is it?

EH: Big enough for my bed.

KM: Oh, it is very big.

EH: Sì.

KM: Very large. Are you making her like this or is she a preprinted fabric?

EH: She is going to get it.

KM: Oh, very good, very good. Fabric on the border, I am just looking on the back.

YI: She sewed before.

KM: You sewed before?

EH: Sì.

KM: Yeah, what kind of things did you sew before?

EH: I made dresses and all that stuff. Shirts, and I went to school for that.

KM: Oh you went to school for that.

EH: Sì.

KM: Very good. So do you like clothing or quilts better?

EH: She likes more making quilts.

KM: Why do you like making quilts more?

EH: More interesting.

KM: So this is the one you are working on now? Wow. Oh wow. So you drew her face? So you can draw?

EH: Sì.

KM: So you painted this on?

EH: Sì.

KM: So you painted her face on and her hands? So you are almost finished. What are your plans for this quilt?

EH: I don't know yet.

YI: You don't know yet or are you going to keep it?

EH: I don't know. [laughs.]

KM: She doesn't know if she is going to keep it or sell it. Have you sold a quilt?

EH: No.

KM: Are your quilts for sale?

EH: Sì.

KM: So you have quilts for sale?

EH: Two for sale.

KM: Two for sale. Is there one underneath for sale?

EH: Sì.

KM: Is the one underneath going to be in the book?

EH: Yeah the one underneath.

KM: The one under the Virgin Mary is the one in the book. What do you think about the book?

EH: Interesting. A book. I never imaged it, you know when we started class that this was going to go this far.

KM: How often do you come to class?

YI: I was just asking why she doesn't go to class, but Molly let her borrow the sewing machine.

KM: You borrowed the sewing machine and did it, you did a great job. So are you going to put toil over the bottom?

EH: I like it that way better.

KM: I do too, I do too.

YI: Dulls the color.

KM: Yeah, toil dulls the color, but you like the tulle?

EH: Sì. I like the tulle.

KM: You like the underneath.

EH: I like it.

KM: You like the tulle, but you didn't put it over the Virgin Mary.

EH: For the color.

KM: I think that this is very good and the fact that it's. Now are you going to quilt the Virgin Mary at all?

EH: No.

KM: Are you going to leave it like this?

EH: Yeah.

KM: So she stands out.

EH: I think she looks nice.

KM: Are you going to quilt on here, on the bottom?

EH: Sì.

KM: Are you going to quilt on the flowers like you did up here? So it will be about the same. Are you going to put borders on it or just finish it? Turn it under? Little binding? So big binding. What color is your binding going to be?

EH: I am is still thinking about.

KM: You are still thinking about it.

EH: I want it to look like Brown.

KM: It is in a frame.

EH: Sì.

KM: Good idea. This is wonderful. You are using metallic threads and you don't have any problems using metallic threads with your sewing machine?

EH: Sì. Just the machine.

KM: You like those metallic threads?

EH: Sì.

KM: They are tough to sew with.

YI: You can tell the stitches they come out really small then big.

KM: It is hard to use. It is hard for everybody. Do you consider yourself an artist?

EH: No. [laughs.]

KM: No, you should, yeah you should. What advice would you give someone starting out?

EH: To go ahead and try it because it is interesting and you never know how far you can go.

KM: You like doing people?

EH: Sì.

KM: That is very cool. Do you do anything by hand or just on the machine? Painting on the face and the trims that you used are wonderful too. Where do you sew at home?

EH: In the living room.

KM: Do you have a special place?

EH: No not really.

KM: Not really.

EH: It has been a while since I have sewn on it.

KM: When was the last time you worked on this?

EH: Around six months.

KM: Wow, so it has just been sitting and waiting?

EH: Sì.

KM: Are you going to finish it now?

EH: Sì. Yes she wants to finish it.

KM: I think it's good to get it out and finish it.

YI: It is almost finished.

KM: I know. It is wonderful. It should be in the exhibition. How do you like having your work exhibited?

EH: Yes, she says she likes it, it is really nice.

KM: Have you been able to go to any of the exhibitions? She went to Lauren's. Did people talk to you about your work?

EH: Sì.

KM: What did you tell them?

EH: [laughs.] I don't remember.

KM: How long ago was Lauren's?

YI: It was one of the first ones. [laughs.]

KM: One of the first shows.

YI: Anyhow, I was there too.

KM: Do you remember?

YI: Yeah, I only made one remember.

KM: I know.

EH: I don't remember.

KM: Don't remember. Why do you think the group is important?

EH: I met more people there too. I haven't been here for a long time.

KM: How long have you been there?

EH: Two years. I got married and I came over [to the U.S.].

KM: So what does your family think about your quiltmaking?

EH: Husband likes it a lot.

KM: Her husband likes it a lot?

EH: Sì.

KM: Does he help you at all?

EH: No. [laughs.]

KM: No, no. But he just likes it?

EH: Sì.

[lengthy conversation between YI and EH in Spanish.]

YI: I'm telling her about the girl that you told us about in Georgia [it was actually Kyrgyzstan.] that passed you a note saying 'what would you pick, quilting or your husband.' I remember my mom used to tell us that you are supposed to do everything your husband told you to do when we lived in Mexico. Thee guys said, 'Oh you can't do this, you couldn't do it,' once you got married. I was telling her about that story. It is kind of sad.

KM: It is good for women to be strong. I think it is good for us to have art. I think it is important. So why is quiltmaking important to you? Why do you do this?

EH: Use your imagination and bring this stuff out onto material.

KM: It is very good. I think you definitely an artist and I think it's definitely good that you are going to make more.

EH: [laughs.]

KM: I am going to ask Molly to make sure you finish.

EH: [laughs.]

KM: So other people can see this. Have you been busy?

EH: No. [laughs.]

KM: So why haven't you finished it?

EH: She doesn't have a machine.

KM: So you need a machine. I was wondering about that. Not a fear of finishing, it is just a lack of a machine. This is wonderful. Thank you very much for sharing this with me. I will conclude our interview at 12:46.


“Elvia Hernandez,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 21, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/1536.