Joanne Weis




Joanne Weis




Joanne Weis


Karen Musgrave

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Carolyn Mazloomi


Louisville, Kentucky


Karen Musgrave


Karen Musgrave (KM): It's August 20, 2001, at 2:55 in the afternoon. I'm conducting an interview with Joanne Weis for Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories project in Louisville, Kentucky. Joanne, tell me about the pieces that you brought today.

Joanne Weis (JW): Well, what I've got with me today are three individual pieces that are really part of series so it's a single whole that's hanging in three separate pieces. When I first agreed to talk with you today what I did was I went back and selected these pieces to bring as my touchstone, I think you called it. These pieces are important to me as a bridge between the kind of textile work and quilting I have done prior to this point and from this point forward. This series is a bridge. So, if you want, I can take a few minutes and tell you how they bridge from what I had been doing up to what I'm doing right now. I have always been a working mom/wife outside of the home with a career etcetera. But have always worked with and loved textiles and always wanted to use textiles as a vehicle for creativity. Probably I'd say in the early to mid-eighties, when my children were relatively small and I was working full time and running between t-ball games and this's and that's, I also had to justify taking time to make art. [clears throat.] So, what I actually did cause then the other compulsion I had, or the other feeling I had, was you also need to volunteer some in your community, especially in your church. What I started doing at that point was volunteering so I could always justify at least once a year sitting down and making a large textile piece to give to the church. Also, I'm a social worker by profession so I never had a lot of income, and the church would at least buy the materials, so it was a nice way for me to actually meet a lot of needs--it was a win, win, win all the way around. The creativity and the latitude that I had to be able make art for our church was really special and it did it in fact afford me some opportunities to do some training in the liturgical art. Most of what I did there were very large pieces that had a theme, but I think I also at that point defined part of why I do art even to this point. I felt very strongly that what I was doing with the art for church for liturgy was making the liturgical space a beautiful space. As a social worker I see a lot of the underbelly of whatever and I feel that if people can move from that into a spiritual space and add that into their daily life that that's what it's all about so part of what I saw as being something that I could contribute to that niche was to create a beautiful space. I also tried to create some beauty without really being strong on the message. There wasn't a lot of preaching or a homily. I just wanted to create beauty. Probably this series of three I did in 1996 because all the sudden I had this idea in my mind--it was inside of me. I did it for no reason other than it was in me. That was first time I'd ever done that. My children were now older. The money that used to go to pediatricians and dentists could now go to this's and that's. This is what I choose to do. This is a real--these three are a really a bridge piece because these are the first things that I did that were done simply because they were in me. Now the link to what I've been doing happened as a result of some activity at the church where I was doing my art. We decided as a congregation to do an art exhibit, so I was asked to do some art to exhibit. So not only was it the first thing I'd ever done because it was simply in me, but it was to exhibit at the same time. I had just coincidently been playing with some dyes. Somebody needed some silk. I went down to get a little bit of silk. It was on sale. I ended up with a bolt. You know how that goes. I didn't like the little Deka Dyes that I had. I discovered that a place in California, Dharma, sold dyes. So of course, you get a lifetime of supplies. So now I've got a lifetime of dyes and a bolt of silk so what do I do. I teach myself how to die silk. Really, really enjoyed it so I went out and got a couple of books and a couple ideas and a couple of things and I had never done anything like this before. At the same time as I was going through that transition I, my son my son at the university had started to find some traces of my husband's family in some of the old archives of Louisville [Kentucky.]. I had done some family history and what I was discovering. My husband's name is Weis W-E-I-S. My maiden name is McCarten- M-C-C-A-R-T-E-N. I could get a little bit of information on that but to begin to find the women in the family who lost their names was where I really, really got into doing some searching and some research and some research and some--just a lot of digging. What I--what these three pieces are is homage to the women in our family histories. All of the women came from either Germany or Ireland. This one is my image of what might have been put into the German grandmothers. The series name is "My Mothers Great and Grand." So, what I was able to do and again this was all self-taught it was like, 'How do you this? How do you do that?' So, I would go get a book on it and figure it out and I'd do it. But what I did learn was that a lot of women from Germany came of course by sea. A lot of what they did was they brought pieces from the homeland that were beautiful pieces. They would bring--the German immigrants probably more than many of the other European immigrants- vases and lace and paintings and pictures for their walls even on that first immigration trip. So, this is sort of coming from the mountains over the sea to America with something that's beautiful. This one is the Irish grandmothers. I could picture the Irish cliffs the flowers the sea. The lace in there is just something I could always associate with lace and that was a piece of my grandmother's. So, you've got the Irish and the German and I just felt the need to do a third one because the European history or the immigration history of my children is either Irish or German. I just went to the roots. Basically, we are all offshoots of the first agricultural peoples Neanderthals so this one is Neanderthal woman. Just with the symbolism with the rocks, with feathers, with the sun. This is a bridge piece. This is the very first piece that I did. This is self-taught as everything else is that's gone along. It was the beginning of a lot that has become the signature characteristics of my work. The dyed silks. The textures. I do things a lot more quilterly now. This has a couple of layers and some batting around the edges. Doing a lot of the same thing now but with more texture to it. That's how I've gotten to the point that I'm at. I've been doing this type of thing now since'96. With a little bit more time that I've gotten with my kids being grown. My son's bedroom I now have a studio cause he's moved out and he can't move back home I don't care what. So this is kind of--this is the beginning "My Mothers Great and Grand."

KM: Tell me about the tassels.

JW: The tassels. I think as I--when this type of work is hung especially as you look at something that's stuck white, it just needed something a little bit more celebratory. I didn't want it to be quite as blah and bland as a piece of white against white- it called for celebration so it's tassels, it's bells, it's beads, it's cords, it's color.

KM: Where do you have the piece?

JW: I hang this--I keep this in my studio. The thing that's interesting there are two parts two answers to that question. As I started making art along this line, there are pieces that I wanted to make. The theme that I had developed early on of creating work that's beautiful. I still feel compelled to do that. Not necessarily doing messages or I have a hard time doing--I mean I can respect and appreciate work that's dedicated let's say to breast cancer but that's not what moves me. I'm much more looking for something that I can visually convey but it has to be important enough to me to break through the din of daily living. So not only is it something beautiful but I want it to be something that means something to me. The thing that became interesting is that my stuff started to sell. [laugh.] As I was making it, it was selling. I was doing this to put it in galleries and I had my own show. Half of the pieces sold and I'm beginning to get commissions. So, this is all fine, so I don't have a lot of my art around the home. For example, my husband and I went to Ireland last year and I did do a show that was just images of Ireland. And they were all special images and I thought of bringing one today cause there's one that's real special. I went to Alaska earlier in the summer. Right now, I'm beginning to work up a series of art and I've already finished one and I'm designing the subsequent parts to a series on totems. I'm just using some of that northwestern and Alaskan Indian symbolism but trying to do it in silk. So, I don't have a lot of work around the house. These three are in my studio because they're early. They mean something to me. Technically I'm not sure they're as good as I would want to pass on. I packed them up last night to bring them here and the other side of the story is my studio is so empty without them. I mean they're part of the life of my studio. It's almost like something is missing. I've been in and out two three times just you know since last night because I keep a couple of things in there. My husband is doing a project and I had to run in and out and get some glue and stuff that he needed, and the room is empty. It's missing a life because these women are part of the soul I guess of my studio.

KM: Do you have quilting in your family? Do people in your family quilt?

JW: No. No. I have one quilt that we keep in the family room or in the spare bedroom that I think was in my grandmother's family, but I only think that. I remember it hanging around. I grew up in New England and we always had this particular quilt hanging around the beach house and I think we used it out in the yard. It's still in good condition. My husband is from Kentucky and as a wedding gift he got--he gave me a quilt from eastern Kentucky. Those are only two quilts I have. It's just not something that's part of my family or even part of my husband's Kentucky family. They're not quilters. So, neither of my New England Irish family or his Kentucky family even the family that has been here for a couple centuries, they're not quilters.

KM: How does quilting impact your family now?

JW: [3 second pause.] I think. [5 second pause.] That's an interesting question because I haven't really thought about it in the sense of how this quilting impacts my family. In terms of quilt as domestic and warmth and bed covering and whatever, I think just about my children, my husband, myself around the house we use quilts as bed covering. Not necessarily made us art quilts but we use quilts as bed covering. In terms of the type of quilting that I do which would be more your wall display or your art quilt, this is something that is very much a part of what my family wants in their home. My--the extended family have all asked for and picked up and commissioned me. I think gradually the family as a whole and that includes the extended family not just my immediate family but each of my children and my own home will have quilt art pieces. So, I think there is an appreciation for quilts both as a domestic warmth. Nobody in my family would think having just a blanket. It's a quilt.

KM: So how did you come to be a member of Prism?

JW: Again, I'm a neophyte to this- to the textile pieces, to doing--to using textile as my art medium. Probably another piece of me is that I've always been artistic. My dad was very artistic but didn't do textiles and I learned early on perspective and drawing and whatever. When I started doing [phone ringing.] textile as art in '96, [phone ringing.] '97, I began [phone ringing.] looking for people with like thinking because it was so new to me and I was totally self-taught, so I did link up with a group of other textile artists in town, not Prism. I knew a couple of people-Juanita [Yeager, interview number KY-003.] for example and I knew Marti [Plager, interview number KY-002.] from in town and around the community. Juanita just happens to go to the same church I go to so it was that kind of connection. One day the three of us decided to go to Lexington [Kentucky.], Marti, Juanita and I. That was when I learned about Prism because there is a group in Lexington-Arturo Sandoval and the University of Kentucky and all the textile art there so Marti, Juanita and I just decided one Sunday--this was about a year ago to go to Lexington. In the course of that trip as we got to really talking, they knew I did this, and I knew what they did but really hadn't gotten our heads together. They invited me to join this very close group [laughs.] that they had. I was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to mix with the women of the caliber of Marti and Juanita and the others. Kathy [Loomis, interview number KY-006.] I think you've spoken with. The thing that's real interesting is the majority of them are like me where this is not something we can do or have the capacity to do nonstop. It's something that fits into and fits in beautifully to the rest of our lives that are attached to careers and family as they are to the art but still to be able to have this vehicle and to link with a group like Prism has just really been great because I didn't think I wasn't sure I was a quilter. I would not have necessarily described myself as a quilter. Simply because most of what I do is wall hanging and usually rigidly fixed so for some reason I didn't see that as being quilts. You know where your talking about wearable art the other part of me that I've forgotten or the other part that led up to this. Again, being the working mom/wife with the limited financial resource etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, with my daughter she and I had had a ball making her clothing that was just creative and myself also. So, she and I had our log cabin jackets that I made and her appliqu├ęd vests and her embroidered sweatshirts and so that has also been part of that whole wearable art piece. It's always been something that's been back then. There were times when I made my clothes because that's what you did. You made your clothes. But then to bring the embellishment and the extension of art to include as something that you wear, and not just your children but also you, was another dimension that led to this. I think with all of that and as I broaden my definition of what is a quilt or what is quilting or how do you use quilting, I just fit right in with Prism. Being self-taught, I am just hungry for anybody to show me, that I can learn from. There is so much rich teaching that they can do. I think from what I've learned they can also learn from me so that's just a real nice exchange of thinking. When I'm with the Prism group, I still sit back, and they use words that I don't understand. What are you talking about? It makes sense. I can't think of the word right now, but it has more to do with how they do borders and edges and that kind of thing. That may be a little bit out of the scope of that I'm doing but as soon as they explain to me what that particular word means in quilt language and how that converts then I know that I've been there, done that. I just may not have called it the same thing.

KM: So, what are your plans for the future?

JW: Keep on keeping on. The show that I did this year was the first time I've ever done that. It's the first time I've been approached to produce and create thirteen pieces for a show. [laughs.] I was like, 'Thirteen pieces!' I'm used to playing and doing one or two at a time. So, the fact that I could do that and to begin to challenge myself too really reach has been great. I've started taking classes at the university. I'm taking just a class a semester in the textile art department. Not so much in techniques--in the fiber art department there is a class or curriculum that has been set up that is simply workshop. It's studio. It's critique. I'm doing it for credit but I'm not doing it towards a degree. I'm just considering it post baccalaureate. It's just wonderful being with the people that can challenge you. Again, pick up techniques, learn new medium, new ways of doing things, new ways of thinking, new ideas, begin to think in terms of design that's a little bit more outside of the scope of what you may think of. So, between the classes and the capacity that I know I have, and producing what I did for a show, I'm continuing to create. I'm in an interesting place. I'm in an absolutely wonderful place. The position--the job that I have I absolutely love it, but we also have a situation where in a year and a half I very easily could be asked to vacate my job. Without going into the politics of it, it's--our people that have elected--the constituency here has elected to merge city government and county government, and I work for county so all the sudden my job may be dissolved, and I am ready for that. I am ready let me tell you. I would love to this full time. If I didn't like my job right now, I'd be able to stay at home and just do this. The idea of doing work for the people's homes is beautiful for me. I think I've got a fair pricing range, so I'd probably do it professionally which is something that I don't do right now. It just happens and happens. I did register as a business this past year. You know, did the tax thing and whatever. I showed loss, of course.

KM: Do you have a business name?

JW: I call myself Joanne Weis Fiber Artist. That's the kind of thing you learn when you get in the circles like Prism and whatever. There are a number of them who advise don't come up with a gimmicky name because if someone needs to look you up, they won't remember the gimmicky name, but they will remember your name. That was just a--that was a piece of advice I could identify with rather than coming up with something. I don't have a business card [laughs.] but I do have enough of sense of business that I get mail. I get junk mail- Joanne Weis Fiber Artist. So that's where I am in terms of business. I would be ready to do it full time.

KM: So how many hours a week do you work?

JW: I don't know how many hours a week that I work. Of course, that will vary week to week, so I probably average two if not three nights a week in my studio and that's from maybe seven to about ten. Generally, if I can carve time out especially, Sunday afternoon there's usually quiet time on the weekend, I'll do it. If I'm working on something or I have a deadline, or if something in my brain really needs to get out, I can be in my studio five nights until midnight and through the weekend. I'm probably averaging ten to fifteen hours a week working on this type of thing. Some of it may be dyeing for example. I've just been in the process of trying to get a range of colors, so I've been dyeing a lot of silks. A lot of times I start with color more than I will a design. And that in itself is a tedious time-consuming thing but I'd rather do that and get the colors that I want than not.

KM: And you only dye only silk?

JW: Yes. I'm pretty much, at least at this point, committed to silk. The pieces at the library are interesting because they are almost studies. It's a series of studies that I did over maybe a month this summer. I wanted to look at some relatively--I'm not sure what the right word is. Not fast, not necessarily easy, but effective without being really time-consuming techniques. I also wanted to do some experimentation with dyeing. So, I got four different kinds of silk- the habotai, the noil, the shantung, and some organza and ribbon, I always throw ribbon and cords into the dye batch. So, I had four different types of silk, and I got two colors- a red and a green. And dyed each of those four kinds of silk in red and in green but four variations of the chemicals that we use: just water; water and salt; water and soda ash; water, soda ash and salt. And the variations are amazing. So here I had all of these variations that were just two colors that looked like I had a full palate. Some of it came yellow, some of it came orange, some of it came maroon but they were just two colors just with the different formulas, the same times, the same temperature, the same everything but just a different sequence of chemicals and the four different kinds of silk. And so now I had all this fabric and I wanted to do something with it [laughs.] so I decided to play, and I did the series of five that's been at the library. They're just little pieces. And they're based on jazz titles. If you have a chance to look at them, you'll see all these different reds and greens and blues and yellows but it's really two colors. So, I have enough variety right now and I feel confident with silk. So that's pretty much what I do. Buy it by the bolt and dye it. Just dye it ahead of time so I get a range of colors then if I want to fit in a particular color for a particular piece. I'll either die it specifically for what I'm doing or manipulate something I already have dyed.

KM: So why silk?

JW: Why silk?

KM: MmmHmm.

JW: I love the feel of. I love it. It's easy to dye. It's predictable. The color range that I get with silk is so richer and deeper than what I can get with the same techniques. These are relatively easy. And I don't do any of this over the stove stirring but I've played with--some of this--this is not all silk. There's some cotton batiste in here. Some Swiss batiste so it's good quality batiste. That's very expensive. Okay. There's some damask in here and that was a sample that I got from somebody's drapery book but that can be really expensive. So, I find that the good quality white silks are affordable, available, luxurious. I feel confident. It's a little more manageable for me now. The colors that I get are much more powerful that I get with cottons or wools or some of the other I've played with. I just love the feel of it and the ability to be able to mess it and manage it. And it takes a lot of techniques really well. On this one, just even the gutta with this specific Irish choker or tork. It's thin enough and predictable enough that when you're doing something using resists. You know that the resist is getting all the way through whereas on some of your cottons or wools you may not be sure because the weave can be a lot less predictable, so I use silks almost exclusively. I've gotten a little bit more into machine embroidery. I do a lot of machine work in addition to the hand work. I don't use silk threads. I use mostly rayon threads, but I still look for the sheen that you get. I like that shininess, the sheen. I don't use a lot of metallic threads because I think if you're not careful they can look a little bit tacky. So, I use mostly rayon threads, silk textiles. I use usually Procion dyes and even use Procion as paints, like thicken it or do something with the fabric to make it not run so I can actually paint on it. The other thing I'm beginning to do now, as with some pieces at the library, is use beads. I don't do beading per say because that's too careful. I'm not a meticulous careful person, most of my lines aren't straight. I think that's why I stretch my pieces because then I don't' have to worry about making the lines straight. The stretcher will always do the straightening for me. But I want them to be straight. I mean on a jacket you could have something that can be not quite straight, but the seam better be straight so it's the same kind of thing. I want the edges to be straight. So, I use the beads for light reflection. The texture. The color. I started using beading even originally. There are some pearls and such in the middle of those flowers but what I've gotten into more of is using beading as a light reflector textural detail rather than a beading effect.

KM: You have a lot of silk ribbon embroidery.

JW: Yes. Yes. What I--on this a lot of what I did here and continue to do is to make my own ribbon. I'll strip--in fact a lot of the nicer backgrounds I've been doing now I'll take dyed silk and just rip it in strips then do off loom weaving of those strips. [dogs backing in the background.] And then use pieces of those strips as actual ribbon. I'll buy ribbon but usually that is still the relatively narrow silk ribbon. To get the wider I'll just do the stripping. What I've actually figured out is how to put wire into silk ribbon--into the silk strips so that I've actually got wired ribbon that I can then stand out. I did a whole series of landscapes where I went absolutely bananas with flowers and weeds and herbs and grasses and all of that and most of it was just a combination of either silk ribbon or silk fabric and wire and machine work. If you figure out how to do it once and you keep your basket of mistakes handy, you have some neat techniques that you keep coming up with. [phone rings in the background.] It all starts with the same silk then when I do it will vary piece to piece. [phone continues to ring in the background.]

KM: Do you still do a lot of weaving--

JW: Yes. Yes. Yes.

KM: All three pieces have weaving in them.

JW: I love that. I love that as a technique- the off-loom weaving. Some of it--generally now it's a little more fixed than this might be. Here I hadn't quite discovered all I had to do was rip it. This is all folded and sewn and everything like that. If you rip and then weave you aren't going to get any raveling. So, a lot of times what I'm doing now is just doing the off-loom weaving of the strips putting it down on a surface where I can adhere it and then begin to cut that off and rearrange the strips. Then begin to use that as a background and begin to quilt on that. I've got a couple of underwater pieces where I think I've done to a real nice effect here where I've kind of got that look of water but then you begin to cut the pieced work off and swirl it around, so you've got the water actually moving but all you've done is cut your fabric up. You've made a new fabric and then you've reworked the fabric that you've made then begin using that as the background on which you work.

KM: What kind of batting do you use?

JW: Cotton. I really like the 100% cotton batting. Usually not too thick but enough to give depth to what it is that I'm doing. On some of the pieces the effect of lightly quilted silk, even if you do nothing but a grid work, even straight machine--I do mostly machine. I do some hand embroidery but most of my quilting is going to be machine quilting. Even something as simple as a geometrically square grid will give shadow and depth if you just put a light batting behind the silk that I think you can't get with anything else and then just lightly embroider on top of that.

KM: So, what size are your pieces generally?

JW: Probably the largest side I would have would be 36-38 inches. The smallest are what you would see at the library. Eleven or twelve would be about the smallest that I would do. Generally, there--I do work in series. I like working in a series. The five that are down at the library--the five down there that are just jazz. I'm just trying to get the feel and the movement of jazz. Those are the most abstract because that was more of a study in technique and color. Generally, what I'm doing is depicting a scene or a person. I'm actually getting to doing people. The series that I'm getting ready to do right now on totems will be a series, probably animals, northwestern animals. I've already done an eagle and I'm researching salmon. So, I'll do a series of totems until I get that out of my system.

KM: So how long does it generally take you to get a series out of your system.

JW: Probably four five or six pieces. I've proven to myself I can do a piece a month. [laughs.] I will have a couple nights a week and a couple of days in my studio on the weekend in a given month, so I do that work around my life. And my husband is great. My husband is absolutely great. He retired a couple years ago. He was able to retire young because of the job that had through the years. He was going to take a couple of months and he was going to get another job. He's discovered his job taking care of me is what he really likes doing [laughs.] so I've got a house husband. I know. I know. I come home and the supper is ready, and the dishes are done. If I had a deadline, I could really without pushing myself do a piece a week. I think I might even go for a same standard size in this totem series and they're 12 by 18. I think I'm going to experiment keeping myself within a size because I want to focus on design right now. I want to sharpen my design skills. So rather than playing with different sizes--the discipline of using size as the standard and then letting myself get free with design is the other thing that I want to accomplish with this totem. There's a great deal of again spiritual history that--most of the work I do I'll research. And I'll research really carefully. One of the commission pieces I did recently I never really thought of doing until I researched it. And I said, 'Okay I'll do it,' and it was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. A woman just has always loved the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and I'm thinking, 'Why?' But when you really research it and I have to research things because it has to be something more than something frivolous that I'm doing. If I'm taking time away from other precious activities or I'm dedicating my time, which is valuable, to doing this work it's more than something frivolous. I researched the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and it is amazing what you discover when you begin doing that. I did something on the gardens of Charleston, South Carolina last year but to research the gardens and find out or the tall grass prairies or the pine barrens in New Jersey. For different reasons I choose those particular places and then researched them. You really begin to find there's just so much in anything that you could home in on. The thing with the totems that is really so appealing to me is that it's a lot of the mythology and the stories that go with the different animals that were part of the northwestern, our northwestern cultures have--go back to a lot of the same themes that are part of any spirituality and have to do with looking for something bigger than you and more powerful than you to guide you and give you lessons and to protect you and then to get into some of the stories and some of the similarities is what I'm researching.

KM: Have you ever used quilting to get through a difficult time?

JW: Yes. In fact, the second piece that I did after this, and technically it is not good at all, but it will never leave my studio, was the one I did when my mother died. I just needed to do it. I did it. I just did it. Like I say technically it's not good, there are a lot of things wrong with it, but it is what I did to work through my mother's death. Last year my mother-in-law passed away. In the course--her death was very different than my mother's. Basically, what happened with my mother-in-law was it was her time to die, and her family just sat with her for the entire week. There was a turn in her condition. She wasn't ill but she it was almost like--it was--without even really going into it we sat with her for a week as she died in her home. I was very, very overwhelmed with the sense of-- until my generation or the last generation this is part of the human condition. We send people to hospitals and nursing homes. This death watch that we were doing as a family was much more a part of our human history. So, I actually, at that minute during the week that we were sitting, began the design process and the research process of doing a piece on death and ritual. Actually, submitted that piece to a show in Columbus, Ohio that's the one I was telling you that did qualify as a quilt. [laughs.] They thought of sending to Houston [Texas.] the quilt show in Houston [International Quilt Festival.]. I've used my art to go through those kinds of experiences only to help me through those experiences. Not using those experiences as a design idea. The making of art is my grieving process.

KM: What does the quilt look like that you made? For your mother?

JW: For my mother? It was something that I visualized shortly after she died. I don't know if I was coming out of sleep, and it was a dream or what. All the sudden I saw this. It was a visualization more than it was anything else. It is hands releasing a bird. In it I've got a lot of the silk techniques. I mean the bird is all embroidered in ribbon and the flowers in there that are burned silk. Beading. There's black beading that sort of trails the bird being released. The concept behind it is the hands releasing the bird you're not sure which is the mother, and which is the child. I mean the name of that piece is "Mothers Also Say Goodbye." [phone rings.] I think a lot of us have seen [phone rings.] that quote, 'You know you give your children roots to give them wings,' or something like that. I wasn't even thinking that when I visualized this; maybe it was somewhere subconscious. These hands coming from the underneath part of the quilt and the bird flying being the upper half of the quilt with the flowers and magentas and the deep blues behind all of that. You don't know if the mother is the bird, or the mother is the hands. I picture that I was letting go of my mother. She let go of me at one point. Now I'm letting go of her. But it was a visualization more than an actual design. It was a very powerful process of letting go.

KM: So, it will also stay in your studio?

JW: Yes. Yes. Yes. That will stay in my studio.



“Joanne Weis,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed July 19, 2024,