Nino Chargeishvili




Nino Chargeishvili




Nino Chargeishvili


Karen Musgrave

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Iris Karp


Tbilisi, Georgia


Karen Musgrave


Note: Keti Aspindzelashvili was the translator for this interview. The interview took place in the kitchen of the Georgian Textile Group's studio at the end of a workshop by Karen, so voices and laughter are heard in the background during the entire interview.

Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave, and I am doing a Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories interview with my Nino Chargaishvili. We are in Tbilisi, Georgia and it is November 3, 2007, at 3:05 in the afternoon. Nino thank you for allowing me to interview you. Please tell me about the quilt you brought today.

Nino Chargaishvili (NC): Thanks to Karen I learned how to quilt. I am a painter who uses paint and for two years now I have focused only on quilts. It's very warm technique. It's very deep. Fabrics lead me to composition and colors, and it gives some kind of deepness and warmth that cannot be achieved with paint. And quilts have its own independent life; some interior life and survives apart. When I exhibit with things that have their own places on my walls, I feel as if that room is empty. [the noise of cars driving by are heard.] I'm teaching high school and during a term with my pupils for their last term before they get their diploma, they have decided to use quilts. They have made some wonderful quilts. The theme was the TV and movies as I am teaching at the State University of Cinema and Theater. The main theme was Mexico. I even used the technique that we were using today [bleach resist.] in the quilts with my pupils who were working toward their diploma. The final works were very deep and colorful. During the festival of works, they exhibited their works. They also had the same works at the International Festival of Cinema that took place here in Georgia. And one of my pupils is now working on developing in quilting techniques. And she had an exhibition in Sighnaghi [eastern Georgia.] which was only two days ago. The people were so amazed by this technique and that is all thanks to you. At the moment I am teaching again, and I remember every detail of appliqué that you taught and all the different kind of things that you taught here.

KM: So, tell me about this quilt.

NC: Well, this is a whole world which is represented by this village from part of a tree here. [points to part of the quilt.] Our home is the world, and our home is the tree. Without this unity it is impossible to breathe, to live. This was the idea. This is the idea, and it came from here. [pointing to her heart.]

KM: Do you sketch out your quilts before you put them together?
NC: First I select the background using pieces of fabric then on the background I hand stitched some smaller details.

KM: Did you plan it ahead of time or did you just let it happen?

NC: I had a small sketch before I started but of course I changed things according to the colors and fabrics I used. The main thing was the black fabric [made with bleach.] it provided my inspiration and beginning place.

KM: I actually think this piece right here was once mine which I think is so exciting.

NC: [laughs.] It is so interesting to me because every piece of fabric has some memory attached to it. You can forget something but when you see the fabrics, the memories come alive.

KM: And for me to see the Georgian quilts since I sent the materials when I look at it, I remember quilts that I made using--

NC: There is some deep connection.

KM: I feel very connected to the quilts that are here in a very real way. [KA translates and NC nods.] What is your favorite part of making a quilt? The designing? The quilting?

NC: The starting and then after the background is made and you begin quilting then you have other ideas to do even more. It's just to? paint' twice on one of the same surface. And that's why it gives double pleasure.

KM: Very good. Is this typical of your style of quilt making?

NC: No, this is not typical of my style. It is just one example that I had in this technique. I mostly don't do such ends.

KM: Raw edge. Do you appliqué then?

NC: I do it all by machine. I wonder what you think about this because this was just one example, and I was not sure that I choose the correct quilt to use.

KM: Oh, this is wonderful. Lamazia. [? beautiful' in Georgian.]

NC: I loved the idea that all of this would be applied to the background only with stitching and now I am thinking that maybe if I had turned it under it would be better. Maybe I should have done it that way.

KM: I like the texture that this gives. I like texture. It's very beautiful. How do you use this quilt?

NC: It has its place on a wall in my house.

KM: Where?

NC: In the room that the entire family sits to watch television.

KM: Very nice. What does your family think of your quilt making?

NC: They like.

KM: Do you think this looks Georgian?

NC: Because of the ornaments it looks more Oriental or Mexican than Georgian. I would have to say that it doesn't look very Georgian.

KM: I would have to agree but it's very beautiful. And everything does not have to look Georgian.

NC: When I think about Georgian things, I never think about bright, strong colors.

KM: So, using bright strong colors is new?

NC: The fabrics give it the possibility of using such bright, strong colors. Georgians are so much in to natural. When you don't have the possibility of the evolution of color or dyeing or painting, you can't create in that way.

KM: Tell me more about your students' work.

NC: They have years to work on this technique? Quilting. Right now, they are working on getting a collection of Georgian traditional ornaments and used appliqué because it is possible to do the old ornaments in that technique. They use reverse appliqué to make some compositions from traditional old examples of clothes. And now I am thinking to teach them about this technique.

KM: Bleach resist?

NC: Yes, for simple things like cushions for them. [noise from the street is heard as someone opens the door to leave.] And now it is the time of the Festival of Cinema here in Tbilisi and it is the same as the diploma works maybe next time in this period, we will have an exhibition of their quilts. Our quilt group is going to take part in that exhibition also. So, my students and our quilt group will have something together.

KM: So, what other ideas do you have for quilts?

NC: Now I am working on a quilt that was inspired by Egypt. [? thank you,'? you're welcome,' is heard whispered in the background.]

KM: I saw one of your still lifes at the exhibition. It was very interesting.
NC: That still life gave me the idea that I need to do more in that direction.

KM: So you want to do more still lifes?

NC: Yes, still lifes are very interesting.

KM: Again, your work is very colorful. Very nice

NC: I am very interested in what you think about my work.

KM: I liked it a lot. I did. It was very interesting. It was very painting like.

NC: For me this is a new work for me.

KM: So, tell me about your feelings about the quilt group that you belong to.

[someone comes over to KM and whispers. KM: Just a minute.]

NC: Even before the quilt group, we were very close friends but here I found new friends, more friends. It took me time to come to the group but when I started it was--I met new people and I was very happy. It was pleasure to me. I found a new world. The relations are so much more interesting than everything else. I am so thankful.

KM: Tell me about your contribution to the "Put a Roof Over Our Head" quilt. [this quilt won first place in this contest of The Alliance for American Quilts.]

NC: In the sketch and preparation, my part was more than realized in the technical part. Of course, things were changed when Keti [Kasrashvili GEO-001.] and Ira [Lavrinenko GEO-003.] got involved. [everyone laughs.] [the quilt was made by the three of them.]

KM: Of course.

NC: It is very interesting when you are not working alone but in a group of people. I am teaching to my students the same thing. When you work two or three persons together every person is leading and moving the quilt to her own direction.

KM: Do you like working with groups?

NC: Very much. The result is different. Very different.

KM: Is there anything that you would like to share?

NC: That is all I have to say.

KM: Thank you very much. We will conclude our interview at 3:30.


“Nino Chargeishvili,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 24, 2024,