Scott Murkin




Scott Murkin




Scott Murkin


Tomme Fent

Interview Date


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Tomme Fent


Tomme Fent (TF): This is Tomme Fent. Today is Saturday, October 1st, 2005, and it's 7:02 p.m. Central Time. It's 8:02 p.m. where Scott is. I'm conducting a telephone interview with Scott Murkin for the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories project. Scott is in Asheboro, North Carolina, is that right, Scott?

Scott Murkin (SM): That's correct.

TF: And I'm in Sioux City, Iowa. So, Scott, let's start out by you telling me a little bit about yourself. Tell me where you born and where you grew up, and just a little bit about you.

SM: Well, I was born in a little town called Hillsboro, Illinois, which is about an hour south of Springfield, and lived in that region most of my life, although we moved a lot when I was growing up. I was exposed to a lot of areas and we moved quite frequently during my childhood, but most of my life was centered around central Illinois, kind of farm country. And I graduated from high school in a very tiny high school in a town called Witt, Illinois, and then went on to college at Illinois Wesleyan [University] in Bloomington, Illinois, and from there moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend medical school at Vanderbilt. And then from there, we moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina, for me to do my residency, and from there we moved to Asheboro, which--we've lived here about eleven years now.

TF: Are you a doctor?

SM: I am.

TF: I had no idea. What kind of doctor are you?

SM: I did my residency training in family practice and I'm board certified in family practice. I have started doing a lot of occupational medicine and right now, I work at an outpatient clinic where we do both urgent care and occupational medicine, so we do walk-in like minor emergency visits as well as worker's comp injuries, drug screening, and pre-employment physicals and that kind of stuff.

TF: That sounds like a very stressful job, so quilting is probably a great outlet for you.

SM: Absolutely, and that's how it really started. I made my first quilt when I was still a resident and living in Fayetteville, and was making--my daughter at the time was two and my son had not been born yet. My wife was pregnant and I decided to make her a quilt and that's how it sort of started. I had been doing nothing but science for so many years, most of high school, all of college, all of medical school, all of residency, that I had not really had any outlet up to that point.

TF: Had you sewn before?

SM: Minimally. My exposure to quilting was definitely in my family. My grandmother was a quilter, as well as my aunt, my mom's older sister, Aunt Joyce, and I used to help my grandma cut patterns out. I had sewn a little bit. We had -- I grew up in that time when everyone had to take home ec and everything was very egalitarian and so I had done minimal amounts of sewing, but not much.

TF: And so just kind of out of the blue, you decided you were going to make this quilt for your daughter.

SM: Well, it was a number of things. I had--at the time my daughter was sleeping in what's called a toddler bed, which uses the mattress from a crib. And we needed that mattress back because the baby was coming and so she was going to be going into a twin bed. And I had always grown up with quilts and so, in my mind, every child needed a quilt. And my grandma had just passed away, my mom didn't sew, my wife didn't sew, so it was up to me.

TF: Did you teach yourself?

SM: Pretty much. Definitely the hard way. For the first four years that I made quilts, I sewed only by hand, hand piecing, hand quilting, hand binding, everything.

TF: Oh, really, you even hand pieced?

SM: Every bit of it. It's funny, I say I didn't know any better, but Grandma sewed on the sewing machine, but I just didn't have the space or the equipment or the inclination to deal with it, so I had one book in the house that my wife had on--it was a Reader's Digest guide to all kinds of needlework and it had one chapter on patchwork, one chapter on appliqué, and one chapter on quilting, as well as every other knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, and everything else. And so I made templates and traced around them and cut them out and sewed them together and I did that for four years, making about two quilts a year before I bought a sewing machine.

TF: Wow.

SM: So about my first eight quilts--and those were all pretty much, maybe except one, were all bed-sized quilts, were all hand pieced and hand quilted.

TF: So you started out hand quilting from the very beginning, too.

SM: Correct.

TF: What was the pattern of that very first quilt you made for your daughter?

SM: It was a Churn Dash. Some people call it Hole in the Barn Door or Monkey Wrench.

TF: Do you still have that quilt?

SM: I do, or she does. She would never let me say that was my quilt. It's pretty raggedy and it's not really usable but I take it when I do trunk shows just to tell people how I got started in quilting. And I tell the story that--how I became a quilt designer, I mean I had drafted the pattern myself because there was just a picture in the book, there wasn't an actual pattern. And I had cut out the pattern so that each Churn Dash was one color and I decided it was going to be really boring, so after I had already cut out all the pieces, I rearranged them so it only barely looks like a Churn Dash even though it's the same pattern because I moved all the pieces around. So that's when I became a quilt designer.

TF: So you began designing from the get-go, then.

SM: Exactly.

TF: How many hours a week do you think you quilt now?

SM: Oh, thirty to forty.

TF: So you probably--

SM: That's if I'm in town. I travel quite a bit, too.

TF: And how many hours a week do you work?

SM: Forty.

TF: Well, you find a lot of time to quilt in there.

SM: Not all of that is sewing time. Some of that is administrative time and teaching and judging quilt shows, and so that thirty to forty is all quilt-related activities.

TF: What's your very first quilt memory? You said your grandmother and Aunt Joyce quilt.

SM: Yes. Golly, I just always remember having them. Grandma definitely was--she bought patterns, and all of her quilts were the old, little Calicos, and she just made them and gave them away. To the best of my knowledge, she never attended a quilt show in her life and she didn't buy a lot of quilting books and stuff. I know she did have some patterns that were in the family, as well as she would buy patterns of a--I don't remember if they were a booklet or a pattern sheet, but I know she had patterns because I remember helping her cut out templates. And, of course, we didn't have rotary cutters and all that stuff, so it was--she made her templates out of fine sandpaper and then you would cut around them. But she had arthritis and so that's why she would have me help her cut them out. But I just remember them always being around.

TF: How long were you quilting before you actually started using the tools like rotary cutters and rulers and things like that?

SM: Oh, a long time. At least those first four years. About the time that I started--I think I actually started machine piecing and quilting before I started using a rotary cutter, which I really find humorous now because the first rotary cutter I ever got was--I was a finalist in a Jinny Beyer contest, and you get a little gift package and it had one of her books and some batting and some of her fabrics, and a rotary cutter was in there. And I thought it was the silliest thing I had ever seen. But I didn't have the mat and the ruler to go with it and I just--it didn't make the least bit of sense to me what you would do with this pizza cutter. And now I'm going to have one surgically implanted on my right wrist because I'm never without it. But I know after I started machine piecing, I was still--I know for sure I was still tracing around templates and cutting them out with scissors for a little while.

TF: I'd like to talk about this quilt that you've chosen to be your touchstone object today.

SM: Okay.

TF: The name of the quilt is "Strata Garden," is that right?

SM: That's correct.

TF: What made you choose this quilt?

SM: Well, it's one of my newer pieces that I've finished, and I feel like it's sort of a culmination of everything that I've experienced in quilting in the past decade or little more that I've been doing this, and it represents a lot of different things that I find enjoyable about quilting. I'm the type of person who will try everything. I don't have one set style, I just try things, and try things, and try things, and some things stick and some things don't. And some of the things that have stuck have been curved piecing, which I really enjoy the process of as well as the final outcome. I like the way it looks and I also enjoy doing it. That's kind of a double--some things, like paper piecing, I will do them to get a certain effect but I don't enjoy doing it, whereas with curved piecing I enjoy both the doing of it and the effect that I get. And also just the - sort of what I call the hand of the artist, both the curved piecing and the appliqué are done without patterns, without marking, I just lay things down and whatever comes out, comes out. And so there's no more of the reams of paper of drawing out and designing and seeing what it's going to look like. I just work directly in the fabric and whatever happens, happens. So, that's a lot of the reason for choosing this quilt because it represents sort of an evolution for me.

TF: What is the method that you use for curved piecing?

SM: I just lay two pieces of fabric together, right side up, and cut them both at the same time and either switch the top and the bottom or sometimes there's just little edge pieces that get tossed away, depending on what type of curved piecing, but typically I'm just overlaying two fabrics and cutting them at the same time. I don't pin them, I don't mark them, unless they're really, really long, like borders.

TF: You don't pin them during the stitching?

SM: No.

TF: I'd like to see that in person.


SM: I did a workshop last week in Columbia, South Carolina, on a whole different topic and they wanted to see the curved piecing without pinning. [laughs.]

TF: One of the things that I find really beautiful about this quilt is the quilting. The quilting is just exquisite. It really shows up well in your detail shot. Do you do your machine quilting on a regular home sewing machine?

SM: Yes, I do, and that's the other thing that I have really put a lot of effort into. Firstly, my machine quilting, I've been - I started around '99, deciding that I was going to learn to machine quilt because I had all of these ideas that I wanted to get to, and I went to--World Quilt and Textile was in Greensboro that year, real close to here, and I went specifically just to study all the machine quilting. And I didn't know much about it and I didn't know what I was getting into but I made a very conscious effort that I was going to master the skill. I was already very comfortable with hand quilting and I decided that no matter how scared I was of it, I was just going to do it, and so I've spent the past five or six years really working on that. But the other thing is that in all of my quilts, the quilting always matters. A lot of people like to make and design tops and piece and appliqué and either let someone else do the quilting or put the top away or finish the quilting very hurriedly, and in virtually all of my quilts, the quilting is always a major design element.

TF: Well, it really is on this quilt, this quilt's beautiful. Let's talk a minute about the colors of this quilt. Tell me about how you selected your color palette and if there's any particular--

SM: That is sort of my signature palette, if I have one. I work in all different colors, but purple, green, and yellow, in various combinations, have sort of become my signature palette. And sometimes even when I set out to make quilts in a different color scheme, they still come out purple, green, and yellow. And I use those terms very loosely because purple can be violet or blue-violet or red-violet, and green can be dark and olivey or bright and limey and anywhere in between. Yellow can turn kind of orangey. But my daughter is the lover of purple. I say--I tell people she taught me everything I know about purple. And there's something about that color combination that works really well for me and is just sort of soothing to me, and I think it's always more enjoyable when you like the materials you're working with. It motivates you to keep going. And I think for a lot of quilters, just the immersion in the fabric and the getting to handle it is what keeps you going and making the quilt.

TF: Is this quilt 100% cotton?

SM: It is, yes.

TF: Is that what you generally work with or do you use different materials?

SM: I will try other things, but by and large 100% cottons. Sometimes in the batting I will use like an eighty-twenty blend, and occasionally I will use a blend in the top if that's the only way that I can get a certain print. I have used some lamé fabrics for different shiny effects. I've used some home décor fabrics. But certainly, for the vast majority, 100% cottons. I've used some rayons and some rayon-cotton blends, but I would say more than 90% of my stash is 100% cotton.

TF: Now, tell me about the method of appliqué. I can't tell from this detail shot if the edges are actually turned under or if it's raw-edge or satin stitch.

SM: The edges are not turned under and what I do, the circle of the florets was foundation-pieced onto a circular paper that looks sort of like a slice of pineapple, and then the rectangles were just left dangling off the end. And then what I do is I set my machine as if I'm machine quilting for free-motion work, and I draw the shape of the petals in free-motion stitching as the basting stitch. Then I go back and trim out up to the edge of the stitching and then go back over it with a decorative stitch. In this case it was just a narrow zigzag. It wasn't quite as close as a satin stitch but it's just a fine zigzag.

TF: So you actually lay the fabric on the quilt top and then draw the shape of the petals and then cut it away?

SM: Correct. And I wrote an article on that technique for the NQA newsletter "Quilting Quarterly," that was in last fall, and I've done it a lot. Sometimes I'll actually do it with a marked design, but more often I like doing it with no--I know basically what the shape of the petals are but each one comes out a little bit different than the other and that's again where the hand of the artist and the creativity comes in, and even though the petals repeat and the curves repeat, no two of them are identical, which is how nature is.

TF: Now, for this particular quilt, have you made this for any special reason or special person or special use?

SM: No, it's essentially a show quilt, although my daughter has claimed it and has said it's hers. I've never said it's hers, she's said it's hers. But essentially, it's a show quilt made to exhibit and show at quilt competitions.

TF: How old is your daughter, by the way?

SM: She's thirteen.

TF: Yes, she's old enough to demand a quilt.


SM: But the quilt is a combination of two different series. I have a series called my Strata Quilts, which are the parts with the green and purple pieced together. And then I have a series called Making Waves, which are the half-square triangles of the curved piecing. And so, this is sort of those two series meeting together, and then adding the appliqué and with this arrangement, it creates the illusion of that border and then it left those nice, open spaces for some appliqué. And actually, those appliquéd flowers also exist on another project, so this is sort of like a culmination of three different series or projects all coming together into one master project.

TF: It sounds like you have a lot of good material for a book. Is there a book in your future?

SM: Well, I don't know. I would say possibly, but I don't really have any more minutes right now.

TF: I understand.

SM: And really nothing that I'm willing to give up. I've been writing a lot of articles and I enjoy doing that, but the commitment for a book is probably not soon, but I would like to say "one day."

TF: So, you said that you work full time, and you quilt thirty to forty hours a week, and you also do some traveling. How does your quilting impact your family?

SM: Well, my studio's in the home and my daughter is in our local quilt guild with me, so she usually accompanies me on shopping trips and outings.

TF: This is your thirteen-year-old daughter?

SM: Yes.

TF: Is a quilter?

SM: She's on her third quilt. She's made one miniature quilt and one bed quilt for herself, and she's working on a wall quilt for our guild challenge right now.

TF: That's awesome!

SM: But she's a great adviser. She's a very accomplished photographer and she has a great natural eye for color and line, and so she's my consultant. You know, a thirteen-year-old girl is a very good critic. My wife is a very poor critic in that anything I do is automatically good because I did it. And that's not helpful. It's sweet, but it's not helpful. A thirteen-year-old girl, on the other hand, will tell you, and actually you don't even have to ask her, you just have to look at her facial expressions to know that something's not right. And she's also very kind about standing with bolts at the cutting table while I'm still looking, or helping me find that perfect fabric for whatever I'm looking for. And, like I said, we have a wide range of ages in our local quilt guild so we have a junior category in the quilt guild and quite a few, one young man and several young ladies who are in our guild and participate to various degrees.

TF: That is great. I'm not sure I've even been to a guild meeting where there have been young people like that. That's fantastic.

SM: I go to a lot of guilds doing programs and workshops and it's not common at all, and it's a shame because they really need to get involved as early as they can. And it's one of those things that sort of feeds itself because a couple of us started bringing our daughters, other people started bringing their granddaughters and daughters and one son, and so it's sort of like if people see it, then they think it's okay and they start doing it, too.

TF: You mentioned that you really enjoy the process of curved piecing and you also really enjoy machine quilting. Are there other aspects of quilting that you particularly enjoy or you find pleasing?

SM: Well, I love the designing. I mean, like I said, I really have considered myself a designer from the beginning. And I've published a number of patterns in different publications, and I would say out of--I don't even know how many quilts I've made, maybe a couple of hundred--I would say maybe no more than three of them have been from someone else's pattern. A lot of my quilts have a traditional influence but I still always do what I want with them. So the designing stage really, really is my love. I tell people I just make quilts to see if the designs work or not, but really designing is what I like to do.

TF: Are there aspects of quilting that you don't particularly enjoy?

SM: Well, you know, no one likes basting, or if they do, there's something wrong with them.

TF: There's something wrong with them. [laughs.]

SM: Yes. And that's really about the only part--I don't really enjoy marking quilt tops, so a lot of my quilting is done without marking, although sometimes I do, like those feathers on the touchstone quilt there obviously were marked, but that's probably the only thing on that whole quilt top that was marked are the feathers in the border. And I can do quite a few feathers without marking. Those needed to be very formal and symmetric so they're marked. But I don't really enjoy marking quilt tops or basting, but just about everything else.

TF: I'm trying to find a politically correct way to ask you this, but how has it been for you as a quilter being a man?

SM: I would say for the most part, it's given me tremendous advantages.

TF: Like what?

SM: Because it's much easier to remember a Scott than it is to remember a Mary or a Susan or a Sarah because there's just fewer of us. And people are also more interested in what you're doing because you're a little bit different. There are some areas where sometimes you go in a small quilt shop and the person looks at you like they're maybe getting ready to call 9-1-1 or something, but that's actually pretty rare these days. But I have had some sort of covert and occasionally overt hostility in places like that, but there are plenty of other places to buy fabric so I don't worry about it too much.

TF: I imagine you've had some amusing experiences, as well.

SM: Yes, even now sometimes at local quilt shows when we go as a family, it's not uncommon for one of the hostesses to come over and want to show me a quilt that she thinks I would like because it was made by a man, and it's almost always one of mine. And usually, my son will sort of pipe up and go, 'Oh, yeah, my dad made that.' But really, my quilt guild has just been a tremendous, tremendous gift to me of the local people here, and like I said, I hope that the things I've accomplished have been on my skills, but I do know that sometimes you get opportunities that might have gone to someone else because of the interest factor.

TF: Have you ever used quilting to get through a difficult time in your life?

SM: Yes, all of the past ten years. [laughs.] Sure. Probably the most poignant relates to the passing of my mother.

TF: When was that?

SM: It was three years ago.

TF: And how did quilting help you deal with that?

SM: Well, two specific things. Mom had to go through chemotherapy and she was very cold-natured and at the time she was diagnosed, my daughter and I made her, under very short notice, a quilt, and she loved cows and you know, motifs, and so we found some cow fabric and made her a quilt under very short time constraints that she could take with her when she went for chemotherapy because it would make her very, very cold when the infusion was going in. And then more recently, earlier this year, I made a quilt for my sister out of clothing of my mother's that I had saved after the funeral.

TF: I bet that's a very special quilt to your sister.

SM: It is. And it was very difficult and it's not even easy talking about it right this second.

TF: I understand.

SM: But it was important to me and it took me over two years after she died before I could even contemplate it, but it was important to me to do it and it was important to her and it's just - all the quilts that I make, especially for family members, I've made quilts for my brother and sister and basically every relative we've ever known, and some of them are more special than others but all of them feel like giving a little piece of yourself to someone.

TF: You really put a lot of yourself into your work.

SM: Oh, I don't think there's any quilter that doesn't. The making of a quilt is such an intimate thing, no matter what techniques or styles you use, that it's just almost not possible to not put yourself into it.

TF: What do you think makes a great quilt?

SM: A great quilt clearly has to have the soul of the quiltmaker in it. It has to tell you something about the person who made it. You may not know them personally and they may have been dead for a hundred years but you at least feel like you know something about them because of looking at their quilt. And I think the really great quilts offer things at different levels. They have a kind of a completeness to them where, if you're standing down a long hall and you see them from a distance, you get something out of them but when you get right up to them and get your nose up to them, you get something else out of them that's equally--there's something at many different viewing distances. And I think that's really the hallmark, that a quilt that looks great from sixty feet and ten feet and ten inches is a really great quilt.

TF: When you say that you can tell something about the quilter from the quilt, what would you say that people would say about you from looking at, for example, this quilt?

SM: Well, I hope people would see the willingness to take chances and the lack of a need for everything to be exactly the same. I think repetition makes great patterning but it can quickly be boring, so repetition with variation is sort of my hallmark, so I think people would see that sort of dual nature that there's this very formal quilting with this very free-flowing design, so that they would be able to see some of both sides of my personality.

TF: The design is fun--

SM: Right.

TF: And energetic. What do you think makes a quilt artistically powerful?

SM: That's a complicated question. It's not easy to answer in a short phrase because it's different for different people. To be artistically powerful, it has to move someone to an emotion, but it can be so many different emotions and the same quilt that moves me artistically may not get any more than a passing glance from the very next viewer. But certainly, to be artistically powerful, it has to evoke some kind of emotion.

TF: How do you think someone who has never designed a quilt can learn how to design a quilt or a pattern?

SM: I think they can start with small changes, taking a traditional pattern and doing something a little different with it and taking small steps. I think sometimes when people over-think something, if you think to yourself, 'I'm going to design the greatest quilt ever,' that's so stifling that it's just impossible. But if you say, 'I'm going to take Churn Dash and make it a little different than it was before,' that's not quite so intimidating, you have something to start from or , 'I'm going to use some colors I've never used before.' And a lot of people just need the self-confidence to believe that their ideas are just as good as anyone else's. Most people have creativity somewhere in them but a lot people have buried it and need to just find a way to let it back out again.

TF: You said you just finished doing a lecture somewhere. Do you do lectures and teach classes?

SM: Yes.

TF: Do you go around to quilt guilds and do that?

SM: Yes. I teach some at a couple of quilt shops but mostly to quilt guilds and festivals, mostly in the Southeast. I've taught in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee.

TF: What are the topics?

SM: I do a trunk show about how I got into quilting since everyone is interested in that, and probably my most popular lecture is about selecting quilting designs for your top. It's called "Quilt As Desired," and I talk about--a lot of people don't have a thought process of how to go about selecting their quilting motifs, and so I do a talk on that and take quilts to give people a system for how to kind of approach that. And I also am an NQA-certified quilt judge so I do a talk on the quilt judging process and what judges are looking for and how people can make their quilts more competitive. And I do a talk on color usage, and then the workshops mostly are technique, hand and machine quilting, the curved piecing. I do some project classes. Personally, I would rather teach someone a technique that they can use for any purpose they want, but a lot of people want a class that ends up in a specific project so I do offer a few of those and still try to sneak in teaching them how to do something that they didn't know before. Reverse appliqué by machine.

TF: Reverse appliqué, so do you also do reverse appliqué?

SM: I do, yes, although really, it's not much different than appliqué but it's just getting people, again, to look at it a different way because there are some things that are easier to do that way.

TF: Let's talk for a minute about the function and meaning of quilts in American life and also how your quilts fit into that. Why do you think quilting is an important art or craft for us to continue?

SM: It obviously speaks to so many people because the quilt resurgence in the past thirty years has been absolutely enormous, so it clearly speaks to people across a very wide range, demographic if you will, in a large age range, people of different genders, different backgrounds, and different cultures have this area in common that they can all relate to, and there still are a lot of us who grew up around quilts and have a lot of those positive associations. In the art quilt community, a lot of people sometimes try to divorce themselves from the quilt history and meaning, but I think that's sort of futile because we can actually use that to our advantage. People are very comfortable around quilts and that may make it difficult to learn to see them as art but on the other hand, we can use those positive associations. It may take a little longer but I still think they're to our advantage overall. But people are so drawn to fabric and fiber, it just has so many associations with our intimate daily life, our clothing and our bedding and where people are born and where they die, and most people can't even vocalize that, it's so deeply ingrained. But we live inside cloth our whole lives.

TF: Do you think your quilts reflect either your region or your community in any way?

SM: Not particularly. Because my style is to just try things, it reflects me a lot, but it reflects all my experiences and my travel and my reading and things I've experienced, but I don't think there's any sort of regionalism.

TF: Now you said that you've made quilts for friends and family. How do they use those quilts, are they actually being used or are they displayed or both?

SM: Both. One of my favorite stories, my wife has two brothers who both live in Florida, and one of the brothers is fairly traditional and has a wife who's fairly traditional, and I made them a quilt that has--it's traditional in style, at least. It's artful but it's in a traditional repeat block pattern. Then her other brother is more kind of creative and artsy and has an artsy wife, and so I made them a--it's a bed-sized quilt and it's functional but it's a very non-traditional, non-block, very art quilt. Well, when we were down there visiting not long after they got their quilts, the brother who has the very traditional quilt has it hanging up on the wall in their bedroom and says, 'Oh, we value your quilt so much that we've put it up here where it can't possibly be used up or damaged,' and the other brother with the very artsy quilt says, 'Oh, well, we value your quilt so much that we sleep under it every night.' So each person kind of picks what they want to do. The one thing I don't like to hear from someone is that they've put it away for safekeeping. There's not much I can do about it, but when I found out that my sister had done that, she got an earful, so she at least had to get a quilt rack and put it out. But, again, she meant it respectfully, that she valued it so much that she's put it away for safekeeping, but to me, she's not really getting any value out of it, she's not even seeing it.

TF: She's not getting the enjoyment.

SM: Yes. But most of the quilts that I've given to friends and family have mostly been bed quilts, although some of them have been art quilts.

TF: Well, do you think it's important to preserve quilts for the future?

SM: I do. I think there's a little bit of serendipity in it of which quilts get preserved and which--I mean, obviously there are quilts that were never intended to be preserved. I know of at least one quilt I made for my--the first one that I made for my son no longer exists. He used it till it no longer was salvageable. I patched it and patched it and finally, it just fell apart. I tried to keep it to take to trunk shows and stuff and it was just too--it literally would not hold together, so that quilt no longer exists. I don't hope that to happen to every quilt I've made but I do think that it's important to preserve at least some kind of cross-section of quilts and thankfully, we do have, at least in this society as a whole, we have a good kind of cross-section of quilts that have been made over the past couple of centuries.

TF: How do you think technology has changed quilting?

SM: It's made it easier for more people to get involved. It's certainly made it easier for me to produce at a level even close to the pace that I can generate new ideas. It's taken a lot of repetitive tasks and made them much easier to do efficiently. It's also opened up quilting as an art form in the sense that people can print their own fabric and manipulate photos and program in computerized embroidery stitches, so it's letting people channel their creativity into specific quilt-related media.

TF: Do you use a computer as one of your design tools?

SM: I do, basically in place of graph paper. As I've progressed to working more directly in fabric, I actually use the computer less than I used to, but I use it tremendously for research on design ideas, I use the Electric Quilt program to test out layouts, to make class handouts. I don't particularly do a lot of photo transfer, and I haven't been using like a drawing program to draw out designs simply because I do most of that directly in the fabric, but there are a lot of people who draw their whole designs out on something like CorelDraw before they ever even start with the fabric.

TF: Well, we've covered a lot of areas. Is there anything else you would like to talk about that we haven't talked about?

SM: Not that I can think of.

TF: Well, I would like to thank Scott Murkin for allowing me to interview him today as part of the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories project, and our interview concluded at 7:43 p.m. on Saturday, October 1st, 2005.



“Scott Murkin,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 27, 2024,