Jocelyn Gilbert Breeland

Photos

DC20002_020_a.jpg

Title

Jocelyn Gilbert Breeland

Identifier

DC20002-020

Interviewee

Jocelyn Gilbert Breeland

Interviewer

Evelyn Salinger

Interview Date

11/15/2005

Interview sponsor

Nancy O'Bryant Puentes

Location

Washington, D.C.

Transcriber

Evelyn Salinger

Transcription

Evelyn Salinger (ES): Today is November 15th, 2005. [background noise throughout the interview is a meeting at the Calvary Episcopal Church Hall adjacent to our interviewing room.]

We are interviewing Jocelyn Gilbert Breeland during a Daughters of Dorcas meeting in Washington, D.C. Her number is 20002.020. The interviewer is Evelyn Salinger. Hi, Jocelyn.

Jocelyn Breeland (JB): Hi, Evelyn.

ES: Nice of you to come today to be interviewed. Think it is going to be fun?

JB: Yeah.

ES: Me, too. I would like to start out with the piece you've brought to look at. Would you describe this for us?

JB: The quilt is called 'Nine.' And you can see there are nine approximately squares here, right?

ES: Uh-hum.

JB: I made this in an art quilt class.

ES: Art quilt class.

JB: Yes. And the assignment was to make fabric by making strips and sewing them together and to use light, dark and medium. And once that was done, I put some color in the middle and then did a Half Log Cabin structure to put them all together.

ES: Oh, I see now, there are four little parts put together to make a one.

JB: In each of the nine so-called squares. And I like it because, I love the colors. These are my colors—fall colors. And I deliberately didn't fuss over anything. So, the size of the strips or how they were cut or if when I machine quilted it, if it created a pucker, well, then you've got some nice texture on top of the quilt, right there where it puckered. And I really like it.

ES: It is very nice. Do you hang it some place?

JB: It hangs in my office, my home office. Do you know, I started out as a person who didn't believe that quilts belonged anywhere except on beds?

ES: [laughs.]

JB: So, this is important to me because it is the first non-bed quilt that I made that I liked. And it sort of led me to a lot of different things to do in quilting.

ES: You seem to enjoy the colors.

JB: Oh, yeah.

ES: All the variations of the browns--

JB: Right. Although I'm terrible at color theory. I can't make heads or tails of it. I have to put fabric together, see how it looks, and if it looks nice, it goes.

ES: And when did you do this?

JB: I did this, I believe, last summer? Two thousand and four, yeah.

ES: And did you do this as part of a class, you said?

JB: Yeah.

ES: Where was that?

JB: That was at Quilt Patch in Fairfax. Judy House taught the class. And you know, to create something sort of abstract like this, I actually never thought of the idea, let's put it that way. [laughs.] But she was really able to draw each of us out and allow us to--not just make something beautiful, but--you know, create an expression of something.

ES: Uh-hum. Very nice. Good. How long have you been quilting?

JB: I've been quilting for more than fifteen years. I started in nineteen eighty-nine. I was pregnant with my first daughter, and I wanted to make her a quilt. I've always been into needle crafts. I knitted for a long time, I did cross-stitch, oh boy, I pretty much cross-stitched the whole house. [laughter.] In fact, the quilt that I made for my daughter is twelve cross-stitch panels that I then sewed into a quilt. I tied it, I didn't quilt it. The kind of amazing thing is that about two years later, my family moved to Morocco and there somebody told me about a woman who was teaching quilt classes.

ES: Oh, my.

JB: So, if you can imagine, a non-descript building in the middle of North Africa and inside is that little French woman who's teaching quilting and she's got--you know, she has imported bolts and bolts of cotton fabric. It's the kind you would never see on the local market. It was really wild. And at that point, I was just completely into it, and I haven't stopped quilting, since.

ES: What was her clientele? Mostly native people there--or foreigners?

JB: Probably mostly foreigners. There was something, I can't remember the details, but the tax laws were crazy there, so it's kind of a--She has not normalized her tax status in order to be able to operate a business venture out of this building. So, it was kind of a black marketplace that we went to. [hearty laugh.]

ES: Uh-hum. What did she teach you—the basics?

JB: She taught us the basics. The first thing we did was an appliqué project. We appliquéd a Sunbonnet Sue. Then we learned to quilt it. And she actually, then afterward, had us put trim around the edge and we made a pillowcase out of it, so. It was kind of cute. And then we could sort of go on from there.

ES: You purchased the fabrics right there or did you use some Moroccan fabrics?

JB: Moroccan fabric, what's sold, mostly, is not one hundred per cent cotton, or if it is, it's not appropriate for--the right weight for use in quilting. I regret that when I was in Senegal, I was not yet a quilter, [laughs.] because the fabric there is just--it's unbelievable. You can go to the fabric market and just as far as your eye can see, there are stacks of fabric.

ES: I see. Are those made from batik, or I don't know what they'd be.

JB: Mostly batik. That's the most popular thing. They called it Wax Lagos. Although, I'm sure not all of it came from Lagos. And in fact, a lot of it probably came from Senegal.

ES: Uh-hum.

JB: And then they have another type of fabric which they use in the big boubous, the flowing robes, which is called bassin. And that is kind of like damask. But I think it's a tighter weave and it's a bit thinner, so it's not--it's very pliable and yet it's got enough stuff to hold its shape. Yeah. It has patterns woven into it.

ES: Um. That's fun to make quilts out of things like that.

JB: Well, I am making it. I was in Senegal in nineteen eighty-five--

ES: I'd like to know why you were there.

JB: The first mention of my career as a drug smuggler. [laughter.] I went there because I was working for the State Department. So, I went to work in the Embassy. And met someone who was working in the Embassy, and we eventually got married. And so that and many other reasons, Senegal always has had a special place in my heart.

ES: Uh-hum.

JB: Our twentieth anniversary is next year so I'm making a Double Wedding Ring Quilt for our bed, and it is all African fabric.

ES: Oh, my. Your husband is Senegalese, or no?

JB: He's American. From South Carolina.

ES: [laughs.] Very nice. So, how long were you in Africa in these jaunts?

JB: I was in Senegal for a year and a half. We were two years in Morocco. In between, we spent two years in Athens. Also, a fascinating place.

ES: Do you feel that you are in provincial land here, now by comparison? [laughs.]

JB: Not in a way. I've been among people who had such a different appreciation for America, that I can see what they like about it, but just because every other country on the planet is not the United States, they know a lot more about us than anybody here knows about any other country. So, it's not that same feel of people who are curious, actively curious about what's going on in the rest of the world, I think.

ES: Uh-hum. Good. Where did you originally come from?

JB: I was born in D.C. at Walter Reed and my dad was in the Army at the time. And we moved to Columbus, Ohio, where both of my parents had gone to college, and I stayed there until I went to California to go to college.

ES: Where'd you go?

JB: I went to Stanford. It's a very beautiful place.

ES: What did you major in?

JB: International Relations. See that ties right in--

ES: Aha. So that's how you got the job, then. Was it right after school?

JB: I moved here, back to D.C. after I graduated in eighty-one and then I spent two or three years here working and trying to pass both of the exams to get into the Foreign Service.

ES: Are you still in the Foreign Service? Do you still do some of that?

JB: I'm not in the Foreign Service. I do, however, teach writing to Foreign Service Officers and Specialists at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center.

ES: Ah. How much time does that take of your time?

JB: Luckily, not too much. [laughter.] I believe that yesterday I taught my last class for the year. There's not a lot over the holidays.

ES: Uh-hum.

JB: It's regular enough that it lets me do other things. I have teen-age daughters. They keep me running and you know, all I want to do all day is quilt and sew my fabrics. [laughs.]

ES: How much time do you spend quilting in a week or whatever?

JB: In a week, gosh, probably between five and ten hours, doing all different kinds of things, because of course, I have a hundred projects going at once. So, I've got on a large conference table, I'm drawing the pattern for a quilt. And I've got over in this corner, I've separated out the fabrics I'm going to use for yet another quilt. And, of course, I'm working on the Double Wedding Ring and the Watermelon Quilt and [laughs.] so I have lots--

ES: You have to make a choice. [laughs.]

JB: Right.

ES: Whatever cries out the most. What was your earliest contact with quilters or quilts? What are your memories there?

JB: You know I don't actually remember having any quilts at home. Just kind of strange. We always had blankets. My mom sewed. She's a great seamstress but she didn't do any quilting. My mother's mother did do some quilting and she did, I think when I was a teen-ager, make a quilt for me. Sent it to me. One side was all a variety of polyester double-knits. [inaudible.] It's a unique heirloom, let's put it that way. [laughs.]

ES: She probably used what she had. Was she a seamstress? Had she been sewing a lot of clothing using polyesters?

JB: She really learned, I mean it was a thing, it was just a necessity. Her mother, a typical woman in the rural South, she did everything: gardening, putting up vegetables, making quilts, some beautiful, crocheted bedspreads and things for the house, that kind of thing. And she had at least six or seven sisters, some of them lived in the area. So, she quilted a lot. And she also taught, I guess what you'd call Home Ec at a school that her husband founded. So, she taught lots of girls to do that sort of thing. She made some really beautiful quilts. I've got beautiful floral arrangements on some of them and ruched roses and all that kind of business.

ES: Do you still have some of those?

JB: Yeah.

ES: Good.

JB: We no longer have my favorite. Sadly, it was a Double Nine Patch. White and blue. So, very traditional. And I now know that the fabric, that unusual blue that I hadn't seen anywhere, probably means that it was from the 19th century--at least the fabric that she used. She died in 1945. This probably was made well before she died. She made a lot of quilts that are clearly utility quilts, using clothing and grain sacks, feed sacks. 'This has got to be a shirt and this—whoa--that's kind of busy.' And I think I have three tops like that plus I have a Sunbonnet Sue top and Dresden Plate top that she did.

ES: Do you display them, or take them out occasionally or are you planning to quilt them?

JB: I do take them out occasionally, but I plan to quilt them. The ones I've mentioned so far need some repair. The first bed size quilt I quilted was one of her tops. And it's sort of a Nine Patch, but in many cases, she did not have enough of one fabric to make all four or five pieces in that one, so it's got lots of substitutions. [laughs.] I did it because I thought I could learn to perfect my quilting stitch doing it. I wouldn't recommend anybody look too closely at it. But, when I got it done, my youngest daughter took it immediately and pretty much would not let it go. I mean, she slept under it forever.

ES: Good.

JB: Yeah. So that's fine. She now sleeps under a stack of quilts. You know, I think she really got the connection that lots of quilters feel about what they put into it then goes to the person who uses it or owns it. It's very sort of strong connection.

ES: To clarify for myself: [deletion.] This was your great-grandmother who did that sort of thing. Your grandmother did the one with the polyester for [you as a.] teenager, and your mother did not do that much quilting.

JB: But I think my mother also quilted. [laughs.]

ES: Okay.

JB: But as far as I can go back on that line, everybody quilted. And as far as I can tell, if you didn't make it you didn't--

ES: You didn't stay warm,

JB: Yeah. You were cold. [laughs.]

ES: But you were aware of the heritage. At some point you were made aware of this heritage.

JB: Yeah. Yeah, I was an adult when I found out how much they had done and it really took some trips to, not just the grandma's house where I always visited, but some of the other of family residences. One where they used to all gather on a Sunday afternoon and put out the frame and sit around and quilt. Even my mother remembers going with her mother on trips like that.

ES: Uh-hum. So, when did you decide to become a quilter?

JB: I did one for each of my daughters when they were born. And I kind of made some stabs at quilting, but I was not very happy with a lot of it. For one thing, I was trying to piece on the machine. Not my favorite thing. It's still not my favorite thing. It's a necessity sometimes, but it's not fun. So, nothing was really flat, or square, or anything, but I was trying, but then I'm going to guess sometime in the last seven/eight years, I just decided I was going to get serious about learning how to do it so that I liked the results.

I started taking classes at shops everywhere. More classes on perfecting quilting stitches, how to piece curves, how to do foundation piecing, anything I didn't know how to do, so that I could get--the creation in mind, so I could get it into fabric. And then, it was seven years ago that I stopped working full time, so that made it possible for me to do a lot more. I did lots of traditional appliqué and pieced quilts. Every baby born in our family got a quilt. I made a quilt for my sister when she turned forty. But since last year, when I took these art quilt classes, it's like there is a whole other area of possibilities, so you know how you have twenty quilts in your mind: I'm going to make the Double Wedding Ring, I'm going to make a Nine Patch, you know x, y or z that I'm going to make very traditional quilts. The things that I've thought of that are art quilts--it's kind of all over. It's consuming--the ideas I have. [laughs.]

ES: Do you get these ideas yourself, or are they spurred on by a class at this point?

JB: Sometimes by class, but often by myself. This year I was one of several dozen quilt artists who participated in a project to make quilts depicting animals and plants that are used in cancer treatment. And I picked a flower that was really beautiful, and then with a number of books open, I've got--I think her name is Cynthia England—and Ruth McDowell. These books open all over the floor around me, I'm creating a pattern and figuring out how to piece the pieces, so they'll look the way that I want. The final results, I loved. And so, then I just went through my entire collection of photographs. That's what I started with for the Flower Quilt. I said, 'Hmm, which of these would be nice to have as quilts?'

ES: Yes.

JB: So, I'm working on a huge quilt now. There's a picture of my daughter hugging a giant Sequoia. [laughs.] We're tree huggers. [laughter.] And she just looks so peaceful there and the light is really interesting, so I'm hoping I can.

ES: Are you able to get a lot of that tree into the scene?

JB: Well, the quilt is about eight feet long.

ES: Whee.

JB: You want to have a big wall if you are going to hang this one. [laughs.] I've got high ceilings in one room in my house where actually I probably could hang it. But part of the magic of that day was that there is really nothing that can prepare you for how big they are. You can see pictures of the car driving through, but it's just nothing like being in the forest where the most enormous things you have ever seen are everywhere. [laughs.] So, I really wanted to have some of that feel come across in the quilt.

ES: Great. [laughter.] That takes a lot of fabric. First of all, are you going to appliqué the trunk--

JB: It's to be pieced.

ES: Pieced with the dark and bright shadows?

JB: Right. What I'm doing now is drawing the individual shapes and you know, I've learned patience from that--hundreds and thousands of pieces in the quilt, and numbering them and making the connecting marks, and all kinds of stuff, but once I get down to the quilting part, even hand quilting it, it's not that bad. I could never do a project like that on the machine.

ES: No.

JB: Ruth McDowell can, but she's a marvel, isn't she? [laughs.]

ES: I'm trying to imagine how you are going to appliqué the one overlaps another and that sort of thing.

JB: I may end up stuffing some of it, if I need to, to get that texture. I like to be able to try with just the pattern on the fabric, and the lights and darks to create the illusion of that texture and the bark on these trees is really coarse, it's really pitted and kind of furrows in them.

I went on Quilt Quest this last weekend. Fourteen quilt shops. And every single one, I looked exclusively for fabric I could put in my tree.

ES: Ah. Very good.

JB: So, I think I'm in. [laughs.]

ES: Oh, boy. A good quarter yard here and a quarter yard there? [laughs.]

JB: Yeah. I'm a scrap quilter, so I like that.

ES: Oh, I think that's great. I should ask you, when did you start your sewing skills? Did you start that in the family?

JB: Well, when I was growing up, my mom was sewing, and her mother, who also sews, was around a lot. She was often sewing at home. And my mother, when my second sister and I were young, would make outfits, all three of us matching outfits. We always looked great and when I got old enough, when I was a teenager, around thirteen or so, I wanted to learn to sew, but I had to wait another year in school to get into Home Ec. So, my mother sent me to the Singer shop, and I took a sewing class there. I learned to sew. And then, you know it was thrifty, of the kind of things I was thinking, to make myself an outfit. I remember one tunic with pants that went to it. Sometimes I would buy things that my parents would consider a luxury. I would make them for myself. So, painter's pants were really big when I was in high school and I—seriously I took some bed sheets and I made myself a pair of pants out of them. [laughs.]

ES: Oh.

JB: I made myself a ski jacket. So, yeah, I sewed a lot, and I sewed maternity clothes, I sewed baby clothes, that kind of thing. I still will, time to time, sew today. My daughter wants a dress for the Spring dance that is made of Sponge Bob fabric. So, they don't sell many of those all ready-made, so I'm going to be happy with that one. [laughs.]

ES: I don't even know what that is.

JB: It's a cartoon. A little yellow sponge.

ES: Oh.

JB: Sponge Bob's her favorite.

ES: Aye, yiye.

JB: Yeah. [laughter.] It's very silly, but she doesn't mind being a unique person.

ES: Good. I was going to ask how all your sewing affects your family. They seem to be pretty supportive of you?

JB: Yeah, they're supportive. I've been able to help out at the last minute with some things sewing, you know, when you can't find the perfect thing on the market, in the store, you just make it. And they both really like quilts. I've made several quilts for them. They've appropriated quilts. And I told them, 'You don't even need to pick quilts.' When they left the house, I would just let them take several with them. They both tried quilting. One likes piecing, the other one likes quilting. Neither of them likes both, particularly. [laughs.] I think when they get older, they'll be able to come back, because they seem to have a natural appreciation of it.

ES: Very good. Have you entered shows with any of your quilts and things?

JB: I have not. I'm a chicken.

ES: It doesn't have to be a juried show.

JB: Well, I've had them in shows that are not juried shows. Three years running I've had something in the Sumner Quilt show. And the cancer quilts are going to be in a show this Sunday--

ES: Oh, where's that?

JB: At the Torpedo Factory. [in Alexandria, VA.]

ES: What time, in the afternoon?

JB: Seven in the evening. After the place closes. But the public is invited to this. And that will probably be the first time I've spent enough time in the same room with one of my quilts on display. So, it may be a little nerve-wracking.

ES: Did you make an entire quilt with this flower that you did? I thought it was a piece to go in with other flowers.

JB: Oh, no. Imagine a flower that's kind of got a daisy-like shape. It is four feet wide and 3 feet high. [laughs.]

ES: Okay. Sort of Georgia O'Keefe.

JB: Yeah. [laughter.] That's what I was looking for. Georgia O'Keefe, exactly.

ES: I've been thinking of doing something like that myself.

JB: The beauty of it is that, you know, to get this shading, to get the movement, and then pieces, you have to have them on different pieces. And if you make it life size, the pieces are really, really small. And if you make it enormous, the pieces are really big, and they are a lot easier to deal with.

ES: That's so nice. Will you bring it here to show it sometime?

JB: I cannot. I have given it away and this show on Sunday is the only chance to see it publicly, because it is going to hang in the Oncology Ward at Walter Reed so that the patients there will have something nice to look at as they wait and get chemo.

ES: That's really nice. Is yours along with the others?

JB: Yes, there are, I think, a total of thirty-seven quilts--lots of different styles, certainly many more accomplished quilt artists than myself. Ruth McDowell has made one. And it's just as lovely as everything else she's ever made. And Sue Benner made a great one. But they're all different--or they've got a certain amount of humor, something about the artists and their view of things that you need to know. It should be something for everyone.

ES: Sounds very nice. Good. We'll have to take a trip to Walter Reed if we don't get to the Torpedo Factory.

JB: At least, don't get sick.

ES: Right. Besides collecting your family quilts, do you collect other quilts of other people?

JB: I kind of started. This is really as if I am not in trouble already with the number of tops that I have not quilted. [laughs.] Now I'm out buying quilts. I have bought several tops on E-bay.

ES: Oh.

JB: It's amazing, but I love it. And my prize piece is a turn-of-the-century quilt that's got the indigo blues, it's got mourning cloth, it's got all kinds of things in it. The pattern is Sugar Loaf, so it's a lot of triangles. And it was hand pieced originally, but it looks like somebody came in at a later date and tried to finish it but using contemporary unattractive fabric. So, I'm removing that and replacing it. So now I'm collecting nineteenth century fabric. Some of which I have also bought on the Internet. And that sort of opened up a new area. I'm completely fascinated by the fabric, how it was made, who used it, all of that.

ES: Some of this fabric, was it satin or taffeta, rather than cotton?

JB: I haven't got any of those. The quilt that I am restoring is all cotton, but I bought last weekend a quilt from, I think, the forties. Whole cloth and it's satin. It's unbelievable. [laughs.]

ES: Is it hand quilted?

JB: It's hand quilted. It's a sort of a peach color and the quilting is in brown. And it was thirty or thirty-five dollars. It's not expensive. You really can if you want to start something. You can't buy a perfect early nineteenth century specimen for thirty-five dollars, but there are still things around that you can use and what I understand is that people are taking garments, for example, of that period and selling pieces of them to be used by quilters or others who need these little pieces.

ES: Wow. Do you have any thoughts about machine work versus hand work on any of this?

JB: Yes. I hate my machine. But I need my machine. [laughter.] One of things that first attracted me to quilting was that very calming activity of hand piecing. And it's portable, so anywhere, like having my blankie, you know, I can just start to piece and leave whatever craziness is going on. And the same with hand quilting. Yes, it does take a while, but it's really fun to do. I like doing that. Sometimes, I have to make pieced quilts on the machine, and I made one for my sister, a queen size quilt, a very complex pattern—I forget what it was called. It's a cross between a star and Jacob's Ladder. So, there are triangles and squares and—that's the day you want to do strip piecing. You do it as simply as you can. And so, I survived that. And then I just hand quilted it. I machine quilted this one [referring to 'Nine.'] and it was four or five and I had to turn it in, so I didn't have the time to hand do it. I know I can't do everything I want to do if I don't get better at machine quilting. And be able to do it better. And some people—the artistry that some people can do with their machines. So, it's work, it's stressful for me.

ES: Yeah.

JB: I also don't, even in my hand quilting, I don't usually mark hand quilting lines. It's really boring and I don't like to do it. [laughs.] I just eyeball it and create something. I'll have a general idea and just get started. I'm not like some quilters who are very concerned about having a lot of right angles at the corners of their quilts. I could spend hours and hours and hours getting all those things perfect, but I don't care. [laughs.] And so often, the person who sees it doesn't notice, so why not spend the time on fun stuff.

ES: The eye is very forgiving. [JB laughs heartily.] It doesn't matter.

JB: Right, yeah. I can't believe it.

ES: Have you any stories or experiences along your quest for quilts, besides the ones you've already told us, that come to mind?

JB: Well, I made this quilt right after I joined Daughters of Dorcas. It was one of the first ones I was working on and—

ES: When was that, by the way?

JB: That was in December of two thousandish. I have a book at home that has my quilts and pictures in it and if I got that I would know. I made a small quilt for my mom. A wall quilt. And it had pictures of all her ancestors. She has--actually I have the originals, now--of a lot of those pictures. But she lived with my sister and did not have a lot of room, and so just to have something there that had pictures of her parents and grandparents, et cetera. So, I did a photo transfer quilt for her. She really liked it and mentioned it to my youngest sister who called me Christmas day and said, 'I want one, I want a quilt.' So, I told her I'd make her a quilt for her birthday, which is February 5th. She said she wanted a quilt—she's an arts teacher of a variety of different arts and so she wanted a quilt that represented the different arts.

I found pictures that I could adapt using an image of a ballerina's feet, for dance, you know the palette was covered in paint, a stack of books, and all kinds of stuff. So, I appliquéd those and then I put some sashing in and quilted it, and I got the whole thing done in six weeks. That is amazing.

ES: Uh-hum.

JB: So, I learned that I can do it if I have to and that I never, never want to do it again. [laughter.] Quilting that fast is just impossible.

ES: It consumes you, night and day.

JB: Yeah. Really, I had to wear a brace on my arm because of the--you know. But she raved about it. Everybody she knows raved about it. I made her promise not to show it to real quilters. [laughter.] But my husband, when I would show him a finished quilt, 'That's okay.' He is very supportive of my quilting. He's not overly excited about quilts. But every time I would show him and it's a pattern that I've got or saw, or whatever, and he would say, 'You should make your own quilts. I'm waiting for you to start doing stuff that you make yourself.' So that was the first one that I made myself, even though I had some help getting those pictures right, so.

ES: Very good. What would you advise new quilters?

JB: Learn as many skills as you can. And experiment with quilts in as many different styles and purposes as you can. Find what you love and just go with it. There really is something out there for every quilter. And now that we have such easy access to, not only the fabulous cottons, but we've got reproductions from different eras, we've got fabric from other countries, and art quilts are using plastic in quilts. It is really limitless what you can do.

ES: Good. How has quilting had meaning for the American woman through the ages?

JB: I think the meaning of quilting has changed a bit. My impression from what I've read of history is that early on it was really a necessity. If you wanted to be warm, you had to make your quilt. And also, almost an eligibility announcement that young women showed off their needlework skills and if they were good at it they were deemed appropriate or worthy, I guess, to be the woman of the house. And even though to me that sounds kind of unromantic, it's obvious from the older quilts that I have seen, that a lot of these women really took pride in it and made it as beautiful as they could, and they went to an incredible amount of labor. I never cease to wonder at how you can raise the children, and keep the kitchen garden, and all these things and still they're just cranking out [laughs.] needlework like this. It's unbelievable. And now, I think quilting really is—it's a form of expression, but it can express so many more things, now. You see aesthetically beautiful quilts; you see quilts that make powerful social or political statements. There are still people who, if they don't make it, they won't have a quilt. I mean, some places where you still find those folks of necessity doing it. It's a connection to the past. I can almost feel my great grandmother when I touch her quilt. So, that's--

ES: Good. If there's nothing more that we can think of at this point, I think I would say this is the end of our interview. It has been very interesting. Thank you so much.

JB: Yes. I've enjoyed it, too.


Citation

“Jocelyn Gilbert Breeland,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed February 24, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/1586.