Sandra Woock

Photos

Sandra Woock MD 20817.001 SeedsofChange 17Mar2005.jpg
SANDRA WOOCK MD 20817-001SEEDS detail correctly aligned.jpg

Title

Sandra Woock

Identifier

MD20817-001

Interviewee

Sandra Woock

Interviewer

Le Rowell

Interview Date

17/03/05

Interview sponsor

eQuilter.com

Location

Bethesda, Maryland

Transcriber

Evelyn Naranjo

Transcription

Le Rowell (LR): This is Le Rowell and today's date is March 17, 2005, St. Patrick's Day. It is 10:22 a.m. and I'm conducting an interview with Sandra Woock for the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories, a project of The Alliance for American Quilts, and we are in Sandy's home in Bethesda, Maryland. Sandy thank you for consenting to this interview.

Sandy Woock (SW): You're welcome.

LR: And you have chosen a piece as your touchstone. Tell me about the quilt that you selected.

SW: The title of this piece is "Seeds of Change." I selected it 'cause it is a sample of the work I've been doing for the last five, six years. It's not a very colorful piece. It is about seeds of change, living in the West in Colorado, which is in Broomfield semi-arid; when I made this piece we were enduring a drought. You know the thing about quilting, the history and the preservation and marking time, this piece became about marking the passing of time. The one spot of color in the middle be that the seed of hope or the seed of renewal, the color that peeks through. And the rest, although I feel like it's a black and brown and rusty earth color, it's handsome in the same way that a barren land would be, or the bare roots of the tree, or the winter, or you know at the end of the season. "Seeds of Change" is just that. You plant those ideas and hope that something changes and you can move with it, and that's kind of what it was about.

LR: The color in the middle, describe the color in the middle. What is the color?

SW: The process is called discharging. I start with black fabric commercially produced. Let [the manufacturers.] get that deep black. And then I go in and remove the color. In this method I am combining chlorine bleach and monagum, which is a modified starch thickener, and I paint. In this case I've done some painting, stamping, stenciling, and some Shibori and basically manipulate the loss of the color and replace it with new. In this I over dye, and put in bright colors. In the rest I kept it with the colors that it discharged to because I thought I was searching for those muted earth colors. (Not all black fabric, commercial fabric, goes to a white.) So I have to search around and get the right color I want it to go to through sampling and testing. I added the embellishment of the little seed beads kind of to remind me, as a gardener, about the little tiny seeds, whether from the packets or the seed from the plant, the poppy, for example, where just tons of them come flying out at you. I used an Indian batik stamp, where it is producing in itself a rosette, a kind of a flower head and cutting across the two different kinds of fabric, two different colors where I've matched up. And in the quilt's middle I've got some meandering of threads and various free form stitching that I've done just to create an environment that is technically just mystery and abstract.

LR: This color though, you're describing in the middle, is that the kind of grayish--

SW: It is. The tonal--

LR: The lighter of--

SW: Right. The tonal quality I can do by manipulating the process and removing the color. I did not put color back in, that's just going in and getting it to where I wanted and I really did want to use that muted kind of grays and neutrals.

LR: So how did you get the one real color where you have the yellow and the blue?

SW: That is an add-on. I actually cut that out and put it--I cut out the circle and put it in that circle and then sewed around it [appliquéd.].

LR: Is that fabric that you also--

SW: Yes, it is.

LR: treated?

SW: And that's an example of the over dye. It's an appliqué at this point. And there also are little shiny appliqués that I wanted to put in it that would reflect the light a little bit differently. [Sandy's voice fades slightly as she gets up to point to the seed beads on the quilt.] And there's seed beads up here, and seed beads down here. And I'm a gardener so you know this was kind of my attempt at doing flowers [laughs.] in an off-handed sort of way. I love starting seeds and watching the little seeds grow become this little—you know it's just marvelous.

LR: So you've talked about appliqué, etc. What other techniques did you use to produce the quilt?

SW: Well, short of the surface design manipulating the image through the discharge method, I'm producing all the fabrics that I use. It's pieced. I often do a whole cloth work where the whole piece is exactly what I used and what you see is uncut. This is actually pieced and manipulated to put together the images the way I wanted them. It is abstract. I do like working abstractly because I don't like to be clear-cut about what I am presenting to the viewer. I love realistic work. I do like the literal translations of other one's work, but for me, I am not a photographer and I don't want to be, so I like the mystery and the element of discovery for the individual who would actually come along and view it. Part of my artist's statement includes that in that I don't want to spell everything out for everybody, I want them to have—bring to my art their own experience and their own rich history and attitudes. And then when they tell me about it, then I get something that you would never give me other than through my art. So I could tell you what I think about it and say what do you think about it and it would be a whole different idea. And I like that freedom, I like to give people the freedom to explore. And a lot of people say, 'Oh, I don't like art; I don't understand it.' I just don't think they take the time that it takes everybody else to sit down and deal with it, like you'd read a book. It takes a long time to get from the front cover to the back and you give of yourself and your time. So that's kind of how I look at it.

Techniques, the hand-sewn beads are after the fact. The stitching in the middle is kind of a free- form machine stitch where I just not only do the free motion, but I'm also doing some tacking up and down and manipulating it that way. So I can make up stitches that wouldn't come with my sewing machine.

LR: How do you do that?

SW: With my Bernina I lift my knee, use the knee lift, and redirect the direction of it and just long stitch, short stitch, just whatever comes to mind, whatever needs to fill that space. And then just free form stitching or free motion stitching.

LR: What are you plans for this quilt?

SW: This quilt has been shown about five times now. I don't know. I have a friend who would love to trade me a piece for it. [laughs.] I will continue showing it. It's—if I thought someone wanted to buy it, I would definitely sell it. I would consider a trade option. She'd like this to buy it or trade because she's an artist and has some dynamite work [to trade.].

LR: So she has a piece she would like to trade with you?

SW: Yeah, yeah. I haven't necessarily looked at her piece, but sometimes it is not about the dollar figure, it's about where the art ends up 'living'.

LR: Well, I hope it'll be available for the exhibition we're planning for October [SW replies in the background, 'Oh, okay'.] at the Virginia Quilt Museum.

SW: So what do you think when you see it?

LR: Q.S.O.S.

SW: [laughs.]

LR: I'll talk to you about that afterwards, [laughs.] because this is your interview, but I definitely have some ideas, but we're going to talk about you now. Okay?

SW: Okay.

LR: It's a lovely piece, it really is.

SW: Thank you.

LR: Let's talk a moment about your own interest in quiltmaking. At what age did you start quilt making?

SW: I've had formal art education which I'm sure you'll ask me about. When my family started having babies and I finally got together and said it's baby quilt time, I actually got a couple of pieces started. Before that I had collected pieces, I worked in a Polly Flinders, Bayliss Brothers Company, when I was in college. They make the little smock dresses in Cincinnati. I'd go to the on site outlet store downstairs and buy a box of the stack of fabric that they've layered and then they're zigzagging around it with their saws when cutting sample dresses. This was a perfect pile of pieced fabric. 'Oh, sure I'll take that home with me', and I'd collect these, 'I'm gonna make a quilt, I know I'm gonna make a quilt' and when, in fact, I didn't have time, I didn't get started on it so it was much later than that, it was probably ten years later when I actually said, 'Oh, I'm gonna do a quilt' and did.

LR: Talk about the formal training. Is that what involved you in quiltmaking?

SW: It's not. It's--the truth of the matter is, I'm an artist and I use fabric as my medium. I just happen to do quilts as an end result, because that's the whole process. I'm trained as a—or I had my education, I should say, at the University of Cincinnati in design, fashion major. I thought I would earn a living by being a fashion designer, and then decided the industry was very cutthroat and not for me. I backtracked after that and taught myself how to do print making and intaglio printing, and I did some inkless embossment, which was kind of a low relief [printing technique.]

LR: What is that embossment?

SW: Inkless embossment. It's basically inkless intaglio where you are using an intaglio press, but you don't use the ink. I had a little bit of an issue with the chemicals and the chemical wastes that you have from acetic acid, [acetone and solvents.]. And then I had sampled some with fabric, I had come out, I mean I had always done clothes, I always made my own clothes, I started sewing at ten so I've always had that influence from my mother and my grandmother. One of the reasons I went into fashion was because I had started sewing so early, and I thought why not make patterns, why not do this? I like this. On the other hand, I am more laid back and less fashion oriented by nature. I got my Master's degree ten years later and did that in papermaking. I had kind of moved towards papermaking, because I thought, well, if I'm doing printmaking; let's make the paper I can print on. At the University of Illinois in Champagne-Urbana I worked with Frank Gallo doing papermaking. And I liked that it's another form of manipulating fiber and color, two dimensional, very similar to the kind of work that I do with the fabric. But when I moved from Champagne-Urbana, we went to New Jersey, I had two children, I was sewing their clothes, started some baby quilts and four years later we moved to Broomfield, Colorado, it was like, okay, I can set up my studio, do I do it for fabric or do it for papermaking. I thought, well, you know what, I'm gonna do some fabric dying and then I'll decide. And I was hooked. I kind of made full circle at that point going back to working with fabric. I had done some printmaking on fabric when I was doing the printmaking. I didn't like the way it made it stiff. I wanted it to be soft and at that time all the dyes were steaming and a lot of technique and a lot of processing, easy to lost the spontaneity. So once I started dyeing the fabric and then also the discharging, I basically said I can set up shop here and work in the basement in my studio and that's where the art quilting started. And that was 1994.

LR: So what is your first memory of a quilt?

SW: Helping my grandmother tie off a quilt at my mom's house [she was visiting us.].

LR: When was that?

SW: I was probably eight years old, seven, it had to be before twelve. My grandmother was a quilter, and she probably made, gosh I don't know if anybody counted, she had seven children and she made each of them a quilt for a present and then for each of the grandchildren made quilts. And my kids have baby quilts from her. It is interesting, because she went all the way up to the expert skill level and when she was eighty-four, she was back to when she first learned to sew. The buttons just dangling on and pouching everything up, but I mean it was just like--so you see the whole gamut of it, the whole career going back to 'I can just barely put this button on' beginning.

LR: Where did she live?

SW: She lived in Ohio. She lived in southern Ohio, mother of seven, single at points after suffering through a divorce. She ended up teaching, substitute teaching, a very religious lady and she always did something, always did knitting or sewing. And when she was eighty she was sitting in her apartment with a loom this big [SW spreads her arms to indicate a full size loom.], still hand quilting eight hours a day and getting up and doing it again. So she was definitely devoted.

LR: So quiltmaking is passed down in your family?

SW: I would think so. She is definitely southern Ohio, we're talking about women who have survived a lot and did a lot and I have that domestic bend in me, yes that's probably what drives me too. My first quilt that I did that was a contemporary quilt I sat there thinking, 'Boy, if she could see me now.' It was just so different from what she would do and I could never decide whether she would think, 'Well, you can't do that' would she think that's a quilt or I don't know how she would relate to my art. Yes, it's quilted, but in a sense it's so far from what she did, and yet so is today what we have in front of us to work with and what she had are like night and day. So I felt for a long time, 'I'd make a quilt, I'd make a quilt, I would'. If she was still alive and well she could have trained me for that matter; though I really didn't start quilting until she was eighty-two or eighty-three [she has always been an inspiration, her quiet patience, her devotion.].

LR: So you were kind of self-taught?

SW: In terms of quilting?

LR: Yes

SW: I am, but not really because I've taken--I've always studied art, I've always been sewing. When I first started doing quilting I realized my sewing and my tailoring and all this was kind of getting in the way, and I had to forget it all.

LR: So how did you get started? Did you take classes? Did you buy a book?

SW: No, I did go to the library and look at some patterns when I first started doing a pieced quilt, but for the baby quilts I just laid out squares and started sewing. I know enough about fabric, I know enough about colors, I know about, yeah, I don't think there were any classes. I think with the contemporary quilting I had to say to myself, 'Okay, forget what I know about sewing so I can break the rules, and then go back and say Okay, what do I know that can make this quicker, what can be nifty about it? What can I use from what I know now?' So it was kind of unlearning in order to loosen it up, and break the rules. And that was a deliberate effort at that point, but self-taught, no, not really. I'd probably know how to stitch by hand better if I'd had some lessons, but, on the other hand, it's not about that technique. It's about time and how to do it more spontaneously and to work with it as an art medium. [after I started quilting, I took a few workshops. Nancy Crow, Jane Dunnewald, David Walker, Theresa May to name a few but haven't done a workshop since 1999.]

LR: How many hours a week do you quilt?

SW: A lot.

LR: A lot.

SW: I'm [always working on 2 to 3 pieces of art at various stages of the process.]

LR: Is it you have regular hours that you devote to it?

SW: It seems sections of the year, get devoted to uninterrupted work. Since relocating here it's kind of nice because I don't know, I've moved in and a lot of people don't I'm here, [laughs.] so I have that time, I take time [otherwise used with volunteer work or even with my friendships now I.] stay at home. My husband and I made a decision for me to work at home and the whole idea was that I would have the hands on with the kids and we would be able to support their needs, support my husband's career and I would be able to do my art work. And that's fine until the college bills got higher, but on the other hand my career outside the home is way back there, art is my career. So you know I get up in the morning and I do what I have to do to run the house and then I do my work.

LR: So you've partly answered my next question which is how does this quiltmaking impact on your family?

SW: It's integrated totally.

LR: Totally?

SW: Totally. We eat dinner, I go downstairs and I sew. I was sewing before dinner. Every time I get a moment, I'm sewing or making fabric, or doing something art related.

LR: Have you ever used quilt making to get through a difficult time in your life?

SW: No, not necessarily. I think I've made an early decision as a young person that I would be an artist and once I committed to that I knew I could be sane and get through life. If I didn't [make art.], I would be a little bit nutsy, nutsy. And yet deciding that didn't make it easier. Deciding it meant I'd get to throw my stuff on the wall and have everybody casually pick it apart and you have to build up that hard--it's not about me, it's not about the art and yet it is about me and the art. But, yes, it's totally in my family. They would think I'm crazy otherwise. [And must add, never regret my decisions with art or my family.]

LR: I don't think they think you're crazy. [laughs.] I think they appreciate what you do looking at your work. What do you find most pleasing about quiltmaking?

SW: I like the soft familiarity of the fabric. I like the fact that people relate to it, that people wrap themselves in fabric, they adjust their mood to it. It's so much a part of their life and yet they don't give it the time of day. I mean, you get up and you get dressed. And yet you're thinking about that the whole time. I liked fashion design because it was a kinetic sculpture and yet people don't look at it like that. They look at the money you spend [as part of the fashion industry.]. We could all be wearing these fantastic sculptures if we really thought of it as art. And instead we're just covering our nudeness and moving right on. So I was a little bit disappointed with the fashion design when I realized that's all it was--and I might add that this was before art to wear or art wearables. We would hand embroider the entire front of our dress just to wear, but that's also folk art, I mean people have been doing that for ages and it's just a method of adornment. I think I went to the wall because of that softness also, instead of the hard, flat surface of a canvas. Fabric eats up the colors and bounces them back to you. So in that way it's a little bit more, I can be me, than working other art forms.

LR: Are there aspects of quilting you do not enjoy?

SW: I think as an artist you have to train yourself to get past the design element [the fun stage.] and into the mechanical process of it. Sometimes it's tedious, sometimes it's overwhelming and it's a stopping point, you can't move on with other ideas necessarily. As a trained artist you have to get from Point A to Point B and then finally you've gotten to the end, and there it is, and you are on to another project. And usually it's all done in one quick motion, you don't think twice about it. To answer your questions, in certain terms there are projects that have different stages that hold me up. Sometimes I paint myself into a corner and how do I get out of that. It just varies with each one [project.].

LR: Describe for a moment some of you quilt related activities, writing, teaching, exhibition--

SW: I show a lot. I have pretty much been trying to enter the juried competitions and keep up a showing record, at one point I figured it was part of resume building if I ever want to teach in a university (which is where I would've like to have been at one point rather than staying home with kids). And in fact I won't go back into teaching, or I won't ever start that career. I would probably do more on the road teaching [workshops.] with the different quilt groups and artists that are looking for teachers. I've kind of decided I like to make the art more, I like honing my craft, becoming more of a master of what I'm doing, as well as that whole sense of discovery. If you're are busy teaching you're really regurgitating a whole lot of same things over, and, in some cases, if you don't watch it, you're teaching people just to mimic what you have done in the past and not allowing them to learn a method of discovery or learning about themselves or where they can take their own work. It would require me to be a lot more organized, probably, but not impossible to do. Does that answer that question?

LR: Yes, exhibitions, writing. What about groups that you belong to?

SW: Right, I show a lot. I do write a lot of art statements, I work with my friends. I'm in a critique group [called Material Evolution.], a small critique group in Colorado that let's me be online with them. We just had a show that opened Friday at the Naropa Center in Boulder and I'm in the Front Range Contemporary Quilters, which is a group of about 246 that services the Front Range. There are members from Riverside, Wyoming and Maryland, Bethesda, Maryland. [laugh.] I have been a board member of that group. I was the Vice-President/Programs doing my part to add to the volunteer workload. And I am a member of that group. Locally I am in a group with Dominie Nash and B.J. Adams, the New Image Group. Friends recommended that I audition or interview with them and they accepted me. So I'm very grateful that I didn't miss a beat [after my move here from Colorado.]. We went right into that and we have a show slated for October with a hardware project that we started last year, well, actually I don't know when they started, I did my work last spring.

LR: These are quilts that are--

SW: This is theme quilts.

LR: A theme quilt--

SW: Yeah, they did the hive project which was a very ambitious and dynamite project that I wasn't on board with. But this time we're doing hardware as a subject matter and Target Gallery's going to do our show in October. I have a show at Glenview Mansion a year from October. They just filled out their 2006 season. And Creative Partners here in Bethesda, I'm slated for a show there in February 2006. So, as you see, I mean it's constantly building up. I'm in Quilt National this May and that'll be a traveling show, the piece will be with that for quite a while, it will have a life of its own before it's returned. So, yes, I keep working. We have moved into the internet, working on the websites and I'm trying to get up to speed on that stuff. [laughs.]

LR: You're a busy lady. [laughs.] Let's talk a minute about the design and the craftsmanship aspects of quiltmaking. What do you think makes a great quilt?

SW: A great idea. A great something to say although who's to say what's that great. You have to have something to say with art I think. You can just in fact make decorative art and it's very beautiful. And there's folk art where you are kind of doing what everyone else is doing. I think that's what makes it more folk arty. It becomes a craft, who's doing it better and there's a lot of that now with quilting. I have to pay attention to my product, the end results. But I think I'm starting on a good foot and working with my materials for [inspiration to keep going forward with my visual statement.].

LR: So what makes a quilt a great quilt artistically powerful?

SW: Oh, in the end it is always visual.

LR: What do you mean?

SW: In the end it's visuals: if you walked away, or so far away from the art that you had no idea it was fabric, it could be a painting, it could be anything, the visual content would be what strikes you first. I like a lot of details so that you have an environment up close and something to view with the quilt in a personal space as well as something from a distance that will give you, in a sense two different pieces, which is how I like art anyway, you know it's not just about quilt art.

LR: So what makes a great quiltmaker?

SW: One who will explore their own options. One who will work their craft and take the time that it takes to do a great job, [technique plus workmanship as well as conceptually and visually.]

LR: So how does a great quiltmaker learn this art of quilting, how to design, how to choose the pattern, choose the fabrics?

SW: As with anything else, you learn, read, talk with people, pick their brain. If you want to learn how to dig bones, you better be getting the books out [laughs.], or you can destroy them once you find them, you're going to lose all the history, all the detail, so you have to go into it with some kind of parameters that you're going to stay within. Accomplish that then you learn how to go outside the rules to benefit and take you further, so--

LR: How do you feel about hand quilting vs. machine quilting?

SW: Oh, I think the people who hand quilt are just marvelous. I bless them for having the patience and I'm sure it does something for them. It hurts my fingers [laughs.] I admit it, okay [laughs.] it hurts my fingers. That callous one it's about that thick. No, I just, it just slows me down. It's a technique; it's not to me about the measured stitches, in fact, I wish there was--I wish I could be messier about it and still get away with it. I marvel at people who can do the quick--they can leave an unfinished look to it and know it's finished. You know what I mean. Sometimes I get frustrated that I have to follow through with the finishing touches before I can move on to another one. But I don't want to be sloppy because I want to be sloppy, I want it to be that rough and loose look and I can't quite get it, it always ends up looking very finished and very polished. Does that make sense?

LR: Yes. What difference would it make in a juried competition, for example, if it were machine quilted vs. hand quilted?

SW: It depends on where you're showing it. In most of the places where I like to show or compete, they're looking at it as the art, not the craft. Not that the craftsmanship is forgotten, because that's part of the piece too, you can't separate the two of them. But, it's not about matching the points, or making sure that you don't have a thread showing or a crooked line or something. I put a lot of crooked lines in just because that is how I'm working [laughs.], that's part of the line. I see the stitch line as a fine line that I would say is equivalent to a pen mark or a very narrow marking instrument. And even with a paintbrush it's hard to get that thin so those sewing machine lines are great. If you look at a painting like that, it's very hard to get a straight line, thin, fine line that you can read as contrast; and here you get one and not only that you get it in little tiny dash mark, which is another line.

LR: Talk to me about the function and meaning of quilts in American life. What do you think about the importance of quilts in American life?

SW: I think they have historically said a lot about the people who come before us. I probably have to say the women. And their life, whether they were rich or poor, influenced how they dealt with the quilts, what they did with the quilts, or how they received the quilts, or used them. It's inseparable, I mean it's our history as fabric has been always through the ages, the tapestry, the art--religious art including body wear. It's just another art form. I get a little frustrated that they don't look it as a fine art. It's not one of the major fine arts and yet it's so much a part of our life as is all of the metal work, all of the woodwork, and it's what enhances and enriches our life then and now. But it needs to keep going. We need to keep feeding it, keeping it alive. [the interest, the rich history and the art.]

LR: How do you do that, especially in young people now?

SW: We're doing it.

LR: How?

SW: We're doing it by talking about it, by showing it, by giving it in major museums, passing it on to our kids.

LR: Are you passing it on?

SW: Oh, yeah. My babies went to bed and I said, [SW emphatically quotes.] 'This is your grandmother's quilt, and this is your great-grandmother's quilt, and this is your Aunt Teresa's quilt, and here's your mom's quilt, good night.' And they would not even think about doing anything other than that with their kids. I'm sure when the time comes they will cling to those, including probably pulling out their own quilts and put them on their [baby's bed or walls.].

LR: But making them? Appreciating them, yes.

SW: Would they make them? I don't know. That's curious because my grandmother was a gardener and my mother is--I've always had gardens, I gone in and redone yards. It's kind of to me one way of giving back to the earth even if it is just this much space as opposed to all of this space. It's an easy way to bring pleasure to people around you without saying, 'Hey, can I give you something?' and it's an easy way to grow food and then give it back, recycle and compost. Quilting and that recycling issue is always a good element similar to gardening where you can renew and you can recycle old and it's just a whole life cycle kind of art where I don't think you can say that about fine art oil painting. [laughs.] So, how do we give it back to them? I happen to be in a family where we do give it back. I was brought up in a house where there was a lot of art. My brother's an artist, my two brothers are artists, my sister's an artist, my father is a woodworker [master cabinet maker.], I mean we are artists. So I never think of it as being any thing other than part of me and where I come from. Did my grandmother think she was an artist? No, she was a homemaker. And she was doing--she found something that pleased her and that was making her quilts. Did my mother make quilts like that? No. With five kids she just didn't, she had other things she was doing. So I think you have to make a deliberate effort to go there. Will my children make quilts? I don't know. We'll see.

LR: What is the future of quilting in America as you see it?

SW: It's interesting. I think, like I said, I think it is a living art, I think it will keep going. I think there are those of us who will do it. It's interesting because the industry of quilting right now is kind of at a peak which probably has not been seen since women in the colonial days had enough money to buy the fabrics imported or to support the weaver in town. Right now there is an industry that's supporting the artists who are teaching to supplement their art [career.]. There are some men involved too, but women are very much attracted to the [sewing, quilting.] simplistic entrance level they feel they can accomplish something quickly; it's a pull and tug type thing--there are those people that are working hard at their craft, at their art, [at a high level of expertise, very creative.]. The entry level kind of pulls it down a little bit in terms of the quality and [derivative work.], you know but they need one another. They need the support of the entry level craft, the hobby, the classes, the exchange of techniques and ideas, and yet you loose some of your originality by teaching, it's not this family secret anymore if you looked at the medieval days where they are actually keeping these family secrets because this was their livelihood why would they tell anything, and yet there wasn't the masses of people that were getting on the internet to pick things up either. So, you know, it's interesting, there's lots of shows. People are using other mediums to mimic fibers now, you see the wooden [quilt images in wood.] quilt [and ceramics.]. You see chain and metal knitting and I think that's because it's in good standing, it's in a very popular period right now. There was an article in Wall Street [The Wall Street Journal.] five years ago now, [questioning the popularity of.] quilt shows. But the point was that people do like it and people will come to the shows. Are these the people that have a lot of money to buy art? Not necessarily, but that doesn't mean they don't like art, that they don't enjoy it and that it's not bringing them pleasure. And who's to assign the value? Who's to say that's a better piece of art because it's worth $10,000? It's irritating as an artist when people try to give you a dollar figure and say, 'Now you're an artist because you just sold something for $50,000'. Well, I don't put that kind of dollar value on my time or my life. I think it's more valuable than that all together. So, in that respect I would have to say you can't make me a better artist just because you put a price on it.

LR: Fascinating. Fascinating. Is there anything else that you would like to add? Our time is coming to an end, but if you have any thoughts, or--

SW: No, I think I really marvel at the idea that I have become a quiltmaker, that my art has become fabric and fiber art, and that I have carried on something that my grandmother did. Some of her quilts are just simply rags now because we've loved them to death and used them to no end. The fact that fabric fades, fabric burns, fabric can become ugly, isn't always an interesting idea, but then so does printmaking, paper burns, paper discolors and the value of it is [diminished.] as it yellows, especially in atmosphere you can't even clean that up, it's gone. So in a sense, I think, does it have to last forever? No. Do we pass it on to people? Yeah, to kids, people love it, I mean I have a niece who I taught how to free motion quilt and she just loved it. She's going to go to college and she wants to do something with fabric and fibers. But then she also started sewing when she was ten, so we have an affinity for this from the get go. We are hard wired probably to have the desire to quilt, and the patience, and the talent and the love of it to keep going with it. As with anything else whether you're a good cook or a bad cook you can improve on that as long as you're focused, your head's into it and you can do it.

LR: Thank you, Sandy for allowing me to interview you today as part of the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories program. Our interview was concluded at 11:06 a.m. and it is March 17, 2005.

Collection



Citation

“Sandra Woock,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed July 18, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/1805.