David Walker


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David Walker


The Uncommon Threads QSOS




David Walker


Gayle Pritchard

Interview Date


Interview sponsor

Moda Fabrics


Cincinnati, Ohio


Tomme Fent


Gayle Pritchard (GP): I'm with David Walker in Cincinnati, Ohio, and my purpose, I guess, in doing this I'm trying to tell the story of the emergence and evolution of the art quilt movement in Ohio. And it's a story that hasn't really been told, so some of my questions are based on where were you born and early influences, as well. So, let's just start with that.

David Walker (DW): Is this for a book?

GP: This is for Ohio University Press, and they're doing a series of six books on Ohio quilts. And this is the only one that's focused on contemporary quilts, let alone art quilts. The rest aren't. But they want it to be an historical book, researched, documented, so I'm writing and researching a lot of cultural history, as well, kind of leading up to--

DW: Six books, they're doing?

GP: Yes, total.

DW: And you're doing all six?

GP: I'm doing one--

DW: Okay.

GP: Of the six.

DW: And they're all on quilts?

GP: Yes.

DW: Okay. I'm just trying to get a picture of what--

GP: Specifically, Ohio quilts.

DW: Okay, okay, that's good.

GP: Yes. So, I feel like the story--Ohio has been so important, and the artists here are so important, and that story has never been told.

DW: So, it's in Athens?

GP: Ohio University, yes, it's affiliated with Ohio University.

DW: Right, right.

GP: So, tell me where you were born.

DW: I was born in Chicago, Illinois.

GP: Year?

DW: 1942.

GP: Okay.

DW: I'm sixty-two years old this year.

GP: And how did you end up in Ohio?

DW: Well, I was raised in Michigan, up through the middle of high school.

GP: What part?

DW: Mount Clemens, which is north of Detroit.

GP: Okay.

DW: Lived on a river, kind of a Tom Sawyer kind of environment. Had a little boat, and my best friend had a little boat on the other side of the river, so that was always a lot of fun.

GP: Did you sail back and forth or row back and forth?

DW: Yes, yes, and I went back and visited the house about six years ago, when I was teaching at Ann Arbor, and I can't believe the river was not any wider than my street, basically.

GP: [laughs.] Yes.

DW: But it was a big river, and it's wider than my street but it just had decreased in size. But everything does, the house, I don't even know how we lived in the house we lived in.

GP: Were you an only child? Did you have siblings?

DW: No, I have a sister and she's six years older than me. She lives in Brandon, Florida, right outside of Tampa. And then my father retired, and we moved to Florida in the middle of high school, and I think I spent three years of high school, my last three years, in Florida.

GP: That must have been a tough move.

DW: In St. Petersburg area, Pinellas Park. And you asked for my story, right? [laughs.]

GP: Yes, absolutely.

DW: And then I went to the University of Florida after I finished high school in Florida, and I was there for three years. In high school, I decided I wanted to be baptized into the Catholic Church, so that's what I did.

GP: So, you weren't raised Catholic?

DW: No, I was not raised Catholic, but my mother was Catholic, but not practicing at the time. And so, I went through my 'I want to be a priest' phase when I was in college. I was in the Newman Center there. It's a Catholic, student Catholic organization. And the priests were very strong speakers, and they became good friends, and so I decided to go to the seminary. So, after three years at the University of Florida, I decided to enter, and they didn't have any seminaries in Florida, so--that were for the diocese that I was--I studied with them for the Diocese of St. Augustine, not far from where you're from.

GP: Right. That's one of my favorite towns.

DW: And so, they sent me up to Rochester, New York, for a year to learn Latin and Greek, the essential background. And, of course, I was older now. I was three years older than other men who were in that seminary because I had had three years at the University of Florida. And then they sent me here for three years at Mount Saint Mary's in Cincinnati, and that's--

GP: Hmm, from Rochester to here?

DW: Right, right. I'd had to get my Latin and Greek and then I could--

GP: Then you could move on.

DW: So, I got my bachelor's degree in the seminary, Bachelor of Arts, and that's how I got to Cincinnati.

GP: Great.

DW: I eventually got my teaching degree at Xavier University, my master's degree, in 1979.

GP: And before we talk about your teaching career, let's step back a minute. I want to know, in terms of growing up in Michigan and then the high school move and all of that, did art ever enter the picture for you? I mean, did you have--were you exposed to art growing up? Were you exposed to textiles? Does anybody--

DW: No, the answer to all that is, 'No.' But I was always so sensitive to art, and I always liked it and I always admired it. I never thought of myself ever becoming an artist and I didn't know what field I would have come in. No, I wasn't. My whole goal was teaching. I always wanted to be a teacher, even before I went into the seminary, and when I left the seminary, that's when I went into teaching.

GP: What area were you focused in, subject-wise? I mean, what was your interest?

DW: In teaching?

GP: Yes. When you were in college, you know, were you a history major, were you a –

DW: No, I didn't study to become a teacher in college. My father wanted me to become a doctor.

GP: Yes, but even in the--Oh, really?

DW: So, I was taking a lot of science and that. I like English and things like that. I wanted to be a schoolteacher. My father wanted me to be financially stable. But right now, I wish I had--

GP: Listened to him? [laughs.]

DW: Right. And so, you'll have to bring me back to where I--

GP: Well, we were back to, I think, would you say 1979, and teaching. Is that right, or was it earlier? What year did you start teaching?

DW: No, I was in the seminary from--at the University of Florida from '60 to '63, and then I was in the seminary from '63 to '67. And when I left the seminary, it was in the summer, and I was staying at Xavier University at the time, in a summer program that the seminarians were asked to be a part of, and I decided to leave the seminary. I saw a notice on the bulletin board that they wanted a teacher at this grade school, seventh grade teacher, and so I called up the principal, a nun, Sister Thomas Mary, and she came and interviewed me for about a half hour and said, 'You've got the job.' And I had no certification in teaching at all. So, she was really a mentor for me, also. And I taught at that first school for two years.

GP: Seventh grade?

DW: Seventh grade. I taught seventh grade for twenty-two years, and I left that in 1989.

GP: So, did you teach--you taught all subjects, pretty much?

DW: I was hired to teach, basically, Language Arts and Religion, and over the years that's what I taught, basically. Once in awhile, I taught science, because I had the science credits in my background.

GP: Right, right, from the medical school charade?

DW: What convinced me to not become a doctor was Organic Chemistry. I was always good in school. I was in the Honor Society and everything when I was in high school, but Organic Chemistry was just a little too much over the edge for me.

GP: So, you came of age essentially, came of age in the '60s.

DW: And still am.

GP: [laughs.] Yes, you still are. And I was born in '57, so, you know, those times, I remember bits and pieces, but one of the things that I'm exploring is the impact of those times and whether there was one or not, on you. So, I just wondered what you felt, if you feel an impact from those times, the civil rights movement, the war protests, the women's movement, the things that in my studies of history are leading up to the explosion of, really, the art quilt? I mean, believe it or not, it kind of leads to that. So, I just wonder what you--

DW: I want to read this book.

GP: Oh, good. I'm so excited. I'll get you a copy.

DW: Well, I was in the seminary for four years in the '60s, so I was isolated from a lot of things. And I was growing up and I was just trying to learn about my--learning a lot about myself, too. And I knew all those things were going on, but it was never like--

GP: Part of your--

DW: It was never part of my basic interest. In looking back, it was always self-discovery that was the most important thing, and still is to this day. I was watching a program last night on TV about the Olympics. It was on a PBS channel. And they were talking about when they asked people why they work so hard to get where they are in a sport, and the answer was, 'It's for myself. It's just for myself.' That was the most – that was the answer that came up most often. And now, in answering your question, it's making me feel a little less selfish because everything I did back then was to learn about myself, and still is. It makes it--I think it's what's made it difficult for me to even include another person in my life. And so, I have to learn to deal with loneliness and depression along the way that comes along with living alone. Of course, it comes along in any lifestyle. But I feel better about it just from watching that program last night. I thought it was a very interesting comment that was made.

GP: So, in terms of your--if we're going to connect any kind of influences at all in your-- in the artwork that you do, and we'll talk, obviously, more about that later. I'm kind of going historically. It doesn't sound to me like you're saying that any of those events were – play a part in that. I'll give you a contrast to compare. I know you know Susie Shie, and she was very political and very active, and it becomes part of who she is and part of her voice. So, what I hear you saying is that that wasn't, that isn't part of what you're bringing into your artwork.

DW: My artwork is all about expressing something personal about myself, something spiritual about myself that I don't understand, but comes out in the abstractions. And I work abstractly because I never took any drawing classes or anything like that. As a schoolteacher, the most creative thing I did was my bulletin boards, and I was famous for them in the school, and I would change them monthly. And a lot of teachers despaired over that because theirs changed, you know, maybe never over a whole year.

GP: Yes, maybe after Christmas break, maybe.

DW: And I wouldn't even let the children work on the bulletin boards. It was my thing. The bulletin boards are very graphic, that's what they are, and – I have to talk about other things, too, okay?

GP: Sure.

DW: In my last years in teaching, near year number maybe sixteen or seventeen, when I was--started making quilts--I started making quilts in 1981. I left teaching in 1989. In those seven, in those eight years, I know in retrospect, I can look back now and see that I became less and less interested in the bulletin boards because now I was doing--

GP: You had another outlet for it.

DW: Yes, now I was doing something, and I was welcoming the help of the children.

GP: You now had a new outlet, yes.

DW: But they always wanted to help but I never let them. And now I look back and I see how, you know, 'Can we stay in at lunch, Mr. Walker, and do the bulletin boards?' 'Yeah! You can do that!' And it wasn't just girls, it was boys, too, who were asking that sort of thing. And as a grade school, teaching in the Catholic schools, where you always taught art to your own homeroom students, and so I had to learn to teach some things. And over, after about ten years, I finally realized that I had developed an arsenal of projects that worked and were successful, and that children liked and that boys liked. It was more important to please the boys than the girls.

GP: Especially at that age.

DW: Right. And I was good at graphic things. And so, in looking back, and also when I started doing the weaving and the rug braiding and all that, then weaving projects became part of the--

GP: The repertoire.

DW: Right.

GP: How in the heck did you decide to take up weaving? Was that in the late '70s, or--

DW: Like everything else, I had tried – after the seminary and I got my own apartments and things like that, I tried a lot of things. You know, the mandatory macramé, okay? [laughs.]

GP: So, your life was influenced by the '60s. Ah ha! There it comes out. [laughs.]

DW: Yes, but I never--I only know half of the Beatles' songs because I was in the seminary, and I never wore a leisure suit, never owned a leisure suit, so I survived.

GP: Or a Nehru jacket.

DW: No, I never had a Nehru jacket. So, there are things that--but I was kind of nerdy and I didn't fall into the grip of trends, and I still don't.

GP: And you still don't. But you did try macramé, and you tried other types of hand –

DW: I hand cross-stitched, yes, most of them had to do with fiber.

GP: So, would you just see something and think, 'I'm going to try that,' or did you know someone else who was doing it and said, 'Oh, will you show me how to do that?'

DW: Well, I had a friend that I went to the Appalachian festival with over a series of years, and he noticed that I would always stop at this weaver's booth, Pat Nolan, really wonderful weaver, and she was a rug weaver and a rug braider. And after about the third year, I got a little present from Dexter and it's laying there, on the table over there by your purse. It was a braided pad, like a hot pad, out of wool. And there was a card in there and it was for classes. He had bought me a set of classes with Pat Nolan. And so, I started braiding rugs and I loved it. And then in her studios, she had looms and everything else, and she taught me how to do that. During this time with her, we became really close friends, and I sold rugs that were woven, and I sold braided rugs. During this time--you can tell I enjoy talking about this time.

GP: Yes. Now, was she in the area?

DW: Yes.

GP: Okay.

DW: Yes. And not far from here. Well, everything's kind of close. And she offered a class at night making a quilted pillow top, which I now--it's still a pillow, but I sit on it now when I do my quilts.

GP: So that must have been like in the late '70s or something, when you were doing that?

DW: That's correct. And so, I did that, it's an Eight-Pointed Star. And I never had used a machine at all. In fact, Pat loaned me a machine.

GP: I was going to say, did you even have one?

DW: A super-heavy Japanese machine that had no common name at all with anything we know of, and it weighed a ton, and I learned how to use it. And that's how I started; I made that first quilt. And then after that, I was teaching school, and after that I started making small crib quilts for teachers who were expecting children. There seemed to be a plethora of them coming up. And so I was the hit of the showers because they would, after the first one, they all expected one.

GP: Yes, right.

DW: And I can remember the last time I went, the last--I decided that I didn't want to do this anymore around 1984, because it was just cutting into my other work. And I announced it at the shower, 'This is the last time I'm going to be giving a crib quilt, because I'm doing other things now.' And then when I went to the next shower where I didn't give a quilt, I felt really bad.

GP: Did they turn on you?

DW: Yes, because I think the person thought, 'Well, he'll make me one, for sure,' but I didn't. That was hard. Well, enough of that drivel.

GP: No, it's all part of the--

DW: Yes, maybe you could write my book someday.

GP: I hope so. I wish everybody I talk to, you want to write a whole book just on that person, because it's just so fascinating.

DW: People have wanted a book from me, but I can't get it out.

GP: Some of the artists I've talked to have expressed experiencing, while they were doing their work, or maybe as a result of doing their work as a professional, a sense of isolation and aloneness. Now you already talked about that just in terms of that was your lifestyle choice anyway, so I just wonder if you--some people have said, 'Yeah, I was alone, but that didn't bother me,' and others, it did bother them, which caused them then to want to really network with people. So, I just wonder how you feel, if you experience that?

DW: Sure, I experience that all the time. There are just certain things that are part of my--I consider part of my process now, that I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing without that need for solitude and then the struggle with loneliness because of the solitude. And I've been able to find reading that has really supported me, has given me a lot of advice. My favorite author is May Sarton, and in her work she talks about, in her journals, there's a lot of discussion about living alone as an artist growing older. And so, I started studying aging, about in the middle '80s. Of course, I was doing other things in the middle '80s with my life. I was separating myself from the church because it just didn't make sense anymore at all and it was cruel, in a lot of cases. I couldn't understand why any woman would want to be a part of the church. They could never be first class. I didn't understand why any homosexual wanted to be a part of the church because they weren't accepted, but yet they would form organizations for themselves like Gay Catholics and stay in there.

GP: Try to fight against it.

DW: Yes. And it just didn't make sense to me anymore. So, this struggle between--and the quilts, I think, have a lot to do with the changes I was making in my spiritual life.

GP: Because they were an outlet or why? Why do you think that was?

DW: I think they brought me in touch with a lot of people who helped me to--I had always had these ideas, but you have these fears. I mean, once religion gets its ugly grip on you, it takes a long time. I'm really glad that I've been able to rise above that now. And although I know a lot of religious people who are really very, very nice, it's the organization that I don't like.

GP: Right. But I also feel like you're distinguishing between religion and spirituality.

DW: Oh, yes.

GP: Obviously.

DW: Yes.

GP: Because I think of you as a very spiritual person.

DW: I've had to work on that. And so, in the '80s, I was--then I started reading--

GP: Did you feel like--excuse me just a moment--does that even feel like an analogy at all to a divorce, after so many years of your life?

DW: Well, I didn't have the indoctrination from my grade school and high school years. I didn't have the indoctrination. So it wasn't that I had--there were other things that were indoctrinated. And so, I don't know if that answered your question.

GP: I just wondered if you experienced that breaking away like that. I mean, it must have been difficult in some ways.

DW: Well, it was with my friends who were in school, and of course they didn't--I think when I left the school, they didn't know a whole lot about that I was going through this because I was teaching religion, and I was a good teacher, with kids and with adults. So, I was always – I always was true to what the chapters in the books wanted me to teach about church and faith and all of that. If there was an item that I didn't quite agree with, well, I would read the book, but I wouldn't embellish on it. But the books, by that time, were more generic. They didn't talk about doctrines so much, so I didn't have to spend a long time on the Immaculate Conception, for example, which is absolutely useless. If you want a god who needs to be immaculately conceived, then you're floating in the wrong boat.

GP: [laughs.] When you started talking about this, you talked about having met other people who, through their quilts, that you felt helped you. Tell me about that. Who did you meet early on? You started making quilts, and--

DW: Well, I don't think I meant exactly what I said before.

GP: Okay.

DW: I think my reading had more to do--this was also--

GP: That goes back to May Sarton.

DW: It's all a personal--like I said that I was always concerned about what's going on inside of me. But I felt good around artists. I felt they had discovered a certain freedom. But it was my reading mainly, not just May Sarton but Shirley MacLaine had a huge effect on me because she allowed me to think of things in a different way, and they make sense to me. And so, my reading journey really was very important, and still to this day is, although I read a lot of mystery novels now. But I enjoy reading, I enjoy reading a lot.

GP: Then you talked upstairs, when we were looking around the house, about your favorite artists. Go ahead and tell me about that again.

DW: Hundertwasser. Actually, I wasn't introduced to his work until about the middle '90s, and then I just looked at it and it was just so rich with color and there was such an abandonment of – he used it with wild abandon, and I just loved that. And his work looked very childlike to me. And I always was afraid, because I didn't have that formal training, that – I've seen his earlier work and it wasn't childlike looking at all, but he gave me the courage to look at my own work and realize that because I thought it was kind of immature looking. I've had to grow with the confidence, having confidence in how my own work looks and appears, and to develop the attitude that I don't really give a damn what somebody else thinks. I've been fortunate that the work has been received well. I know I'm not in the pantheon, you know, of the art quilt world but this gift that I have has really helped save me.

GP: So, go back a little bit to your greatest influences and your heroes, favorite artists, that kind of thing. This is kind of an odd question, so you can either answer it or not. But one of the things that I was--the question that I came up with was, 'What are you curious about?' And then that kind of evolved, too, so it's kind of two questions. In saying, 'What are you curious about?' and helping some of the people I've interviewed think about that, it's like, 'Well, okay, if you could gather all your heroes, your favorite artists, whatever it is, if they're gathered around a table with you, what would you want to ask them?' Because I'm trying to bring out of you the same thing. So, you can answer the question either way you like.

DW: I didn't hear the question.

GP: Well, ultimately, the question is, 'What are you curious about?'

DW: I'm curious about why people do the things that they do. I'm curious about why we have two [political.] parties in our country that they can't--they don't want to agree. In other words, if you allow yourself to become a Democrat, then you have to believe all of that. And I don't understand why there can't be more unity.

GP: [inaudible.]

DW: Right. I can't understand why--on practical things right now, I can't understand why anybody in a country as big as ours and as rich as ours has to pay for health care at all. I just can't understand it.

GP: We haven't found any answers yet.

DW: No, we haven't found any answers yet. This election's very crucial to me. I wasn't political in the past. I'm not going out and beating on doors but I'm just in turmoil internally about it and will be until the elections over. And if we don't get my man in there, then I'll just have to go on, of course. I understand that. But I still haven't answered your question. This is really good.

GP: That's alright. We can come back to it, if you want.

DW: If I were going to ask people to dinner, I would ask May Sarton to sit here and [Rainer Maria.] Rilke to sit here. And Mozart. How did he create, in thirty-nine years or less, all that he created? He was such a brat and a little imp when he was younger and what was his background? They must have had wonderful parents. I don't know.

GP: Something, yes. But you're curious about that?

DW: Yes. His music is just absolutely remarkable, and he knew how to write music simply. He knew how to write great music simply. I think he's really used up all of the great simple themes.

GP: All in his lifetime.

DW: Yes. He made them great. I'd like to know how he did that.

GP: When did you first ever see a quilt exhibition of any kind?

DW: Probably 1983, maybe.

GP: Was it Quilt National? Was it a show in Cincinnati?

DW: It was NQA [The National Quilting Association, Inc.], and I was in it, and I got an Honorable Mention for a large piece. It was in Oxford, Ohio, at Miami University. They had their conference there. I think that was the first quilt exhibition I've ever seen.

GP: Were you, when you started off, did you make traditional patterns quite early or –

DW: Yes, I did.

GP: That's how you learned or taught yourself the skills?

DW: The crib quilts were all--I knew nothing about strip piecing, so I made a Lone Star quilt and cut out every diamond separately. What a stupid thing! [laughs.]

GP: I did one quilt where I reverse-appliquéd all the pieces because I didn't know any better.

DW: But it was a joy. It was fun to do.

GP: And so, how did you grow into the transition of making your personal work, the work that you're really known for now? How did that come about?

DW: Well, this is where Nancy Crow comes in. My first teacher was Jan Myers-Newbury, and she was a really excellent teacher. And that was in 1983.

GP: Where was that?

DW: That was at Miami University during Craft Summer. And then the next year after that, I took three--there were three one-week workshops in a row, and so I decided to sign up for all of them. And so, I drove back and forth for three weeks to Miami University for the classes, and it was just a turning point in my life. The first week was one five-day class with Nancy Halpern. But see, I was just a beginner. I'm just coming out of Bear's Paw and Lone Star and all of that, but I had this--I wanted to become original. I was getting tired of the repeated block, even though I was making crib quilts with six blocks, I was still tired of it. And so, the first week was five days with Nancy Halpern. Second week, five days with Michael James. And the third week, five days with Nancy Crow.

GP: How could you even think after that?

DW: Well, I wouldn't have done that today. It was because of ignorance that made it through those three weeks at all, but it was blissful ignorance at the time. And then with Nancy's being at the end, at the last, that was the kicker because it's when I met her and I was just amazed by what she had to say, more than what she did. Because in those days, what she did is she walked into a classroom, and she held in her arms a pile of books. And we sat down at the beginning of the day, and she would talk about van Gogh, she would talk about Frida Kahlo, and all these people, with passion, with great passion. And that word has become a real important part. That's what I'm trying to find out, how people can keep their passion as we grow older.

GP: Passion in general?

DW: I'm thinking in my head that I still could, even with my heart condition; I still could live another twenty-five, thirty years. Now how do I keep it, because it's not important how I keep my heart going. [brief interruption.] I think that's what's become more important to me is how do I keep my passion? [brief break in tape; appears to have been turned off briefly.] And she would talk with great passion about these artists, and it's something she doesn't do enough of today, if I have to say something honest and with all loving kindness toward her, in her workshops. She doesn't do that. But that was the hooker for me. And so, when I started to design my own workshops--in 1989, when I left grade school teaching, Nancy Crow had a lot to do with that--not with my leaving; I wanted to leave anyway because I wanted to leave the church, and I couldn't do it if I was going to keep teaching religion.

GP: And it's a financial issue because that was your source of income.

DW: Right. So, it was a big leap of faith. And I asked her, when I had to design my first class, I wanted to do that. I wanted to have these morning meditations. So, I took my spiritual interests into account when I developed the workshops and that's what my workshops became known for.

GP: Yes, absolutely.

DW: And so, in the morning, I tried to move people and every--I would bring in authors and read from texts and then let the discussion go from there, and that's how that worked out. So, I don't know how this all started, right here. [laughs.]

GP: That's fine. I had asked you how the transition occurred in your work from making the crib quilts to the work that you do now.

DW: Then I developed my own skills. I've been basically self-taught. I've only taken about six workshops myself, six or eight workshops, only.

GP: And three in one summer.

DW: And three in one summer, that's right. And I wanted to be on my own, and I wanted to do things that were simple, but I'm finding out that other people look at my techniques as not that simple, but they are to me. So simple is very, very relative. It's what you enjoy doing. A difficult thing that you love doing is simple.

GP: So, in addition to the style that you developed for your workshops, tell me about the way your way of working evolved, as well, the skills you developed on your own that, again, is kind of what you're known for in your work.

DW: You know, if you could have just seen my whole lecture once this fall, these questions would be answered. [GP laughs.] I'm really giving you my lecture, which is called "Surviving Midlife as a Quilt Artist." But there were certain things that I wanted to do. I didn't want to have to piece everything together. I didn't want to have to a lot of curves. I have done curved pieces--

GP: Piecing on the machine?

DW: Piecing, but then I just decided I did it and I did it really well, learned that from Michael James's book, and I decided I never wanted to do that again. I was tired of the hand quilting. And so, I developed some appliqué techniques that were just very, very primitive, but they worked.

GP: You got out what you wanted.

DW: Right, right, and they were fast. And I work very small now. Those pieces upstairs are nine-by-twelve, and I can do those in about ninety minutes to two hours, beginning to end, and they're very immediate. That's what I like about them.

GP: Something you said earlier, you had started to talk about moving from teaching at all, when you made the decision to stop teaching as well, during that time, I think that's right around the time when I first met you, in '88 or '89, when you were struggling with that or had just--

DW: And I was 'gung ho' and I was passionate.

GP: And you were talking about Nancy encouraging that decision, not to leave the church or the school but in terms of – you started to say something but then you got –

DW: Well, I went up to her with my proposal for the workshop. She asked me to teach at the symposium [QSDS.], her first one. And at that time, it was two five-day workshops, but they could be the same because she'd just fill them up. And I was not known at all around, around the country at all. But the year before the first symposium, she would go around with her workshops and just tell people, 'You take this. You take that.' And with her encouragement, they did it. And so, I gave her the proposal and in the first sentence of the class of the workshop description, I said something about trying – about discovering the spiritual resources for our work. Well, she didn't like that word 'spiritual.' Well, I stood up to Nancy, and I said, 'I don't want anybody in my class who doesn't feel comfortable with that word.'

GP: Yes, because you don't want them to be misled or uncomfortable in the environment.

DW: Right. And so, it all started with that first class, and by word of mouth, the twenty-five students who were in that first class just spread the word.

GP: So, who else did you meet early on? I know you have this group of people in Cincinnati. Again, the reason for my asking that, in addition to my own curiosity, is that what I've found in my early research that there were these little pockets, starting in the mid-'70s, these little pockets around the state before anybody knew each other at all, and they're all doing this work, which I just find fascinating in and of itself. You know, they have a friend that they know, like I know like Elaine [Plogman]. was here and Carolyn--is it Muller [phonetic.] or Mueller [phonetic.]?

DW: Right, I never knew her and--

GP: Is she deceased, or do you know?

DW: I don't know. I've met her. I don't think she's deceased.

GP: So, who--at some point, your world expanded.

DW: The Group of Six that we've been meeting now was an outgrowth of Art Quilt Network. But back then, in the '80s, I was a member of the Ohio Valley Quilters Guild. That's where I went the first time to a meeting with my first big quilt, just took the courage. And I was the only man, in most cases, everywhere I've ever been in the quilt world, but that's changing now. And so, that's where I met – that's where I met Elaine, and we became friends. I met Flora McMannis. She introduced herself to me in a letter offering her services as a hand quilter. She did beautiful stitching. And so that worked into a wonderful friendship and we're really close friends. She lives in Maine now; she's moved. But she's the one who did all of my hand quilting for awhile after I stopped doing that myself.

GP: So, you had a circle of people here that you knew, and then it sounds like it just expanded once AQN came along.

DW: And then I had to break away from the guild because that wasn't serving my – wasn't feeding me anymore. So, I guess that's the only way I can explain that. And then through Art Quilt Network, this other group developed because we wanted to meet a little bit more than four times a year, but we didn't meet a whole lot, maybe once every six weeks back then.

GP: So those aren't all Cincinnati people, either, that you're--what do you call it, the "Group of Six"?

DW: That's Rebekka Seigel, Jane Burch Cochran, Elaine Plogman, myself, Gerry Fogarty, and Virginia Gaz.

GP: So, you guys just wanted to get together.

DW: Yes. And they're not – we don't get together for critiques. We don't critique. It's just support.

GP: Yes, which is nice.

DW: 'Why is your son still living at home?' and all. [laughs.]

GP: Right, exactly. [laughs.] [pause.] I'm just kind of reading through because some of this stuff we've already talked about.

You talked a little bit about these three summer workshops in a row and how that kind of set you on the course that you decided to risk going down. You've also taught a lot. So, I just wondered if you could talk at all about, instead of who influenced you in ways, not so much with their work, because you haven't mentioned any style influences and I don't think there were any; is that right, in terms of your own work?

DW: No, not necessarily. No, I was working with the block in the '80s, even Nancy because Nancy was working in the block. But I even broke away from that early on, too, mainly because I didn't want to be branded as derivative. But I know that my techniques are not original, but they just popped up in me like they popped up in lots of people's heads.

GP: Then you used them in a unique way. So, because of your own teaching then, I wanted to talk to you or hear what you have to say about those you have influenced/ mentored slash, you know, the impact. I just think it's such a part of the story, not only nationally but also it's just a part of what has happened because people like you and Nancy and everybody else who teaches is out there doing it, because Nancy Halpern and Michael James and people are out there doing it. So now, your activity has become part of the story. So, I just wonder what you think about that in terms of influencing either style-wise or even just mentoring others and what you think about that?

DW: Well, I don't know if I quite understand what you're saying, but I'll say this, that I don't think that--I mean, I feel I have been very blessed in the workshops. I think I've reached people and touched people in ways that other teachers – because I target that, I target a certain thing. My goal has – I do teach techniques, and I think some people take the class thinking that that is my goal.

GP: That's all they're going to get.

DW: And that's not. You know, at first they come in and they'll sit down, and I'll ask them to close their eyes and let's listen to the music and then when we come out of that, even that first activity, something has changed, and they realize that something is different. And so, it really--I don't know what it is. I haven't ever talked about this in depth with other people, but I am in awe of what I've been able to do [end of Side 1.]--

DW: And so, it's the teacher. People want me to help them to be a better teacher. I don't know, but I think there is a gift, and of all the gifts I have, teaching is the gift that I have best, and here I have left it. So that's another thing that--

GP: Another step out into the dark.

DW: I just feel like my energy is different, my physical energy is different. Maybe when I get away from it long enough, I'll return to it. But my goal was to get people inside themselves and to start working from places inside of themselves instead of starting to work up there with their head or to learn something new and then try to duplicate it. But I did teach the techniques and they enjoyed them, and they did them well, and they also triggered in them a sense of accomplishment and achievement. Because I'm dealing with midlife people, in most cases, people who have--who, like me, did not discover until later in life that they had a passion for something that wasn't involved with family or children. And so, I wanted them to realize that they don't have the time available to them, in most cases, unless they have money. They don't have the time to go back and make up for all those years, so you've got to start with right now. Sit down, you've got fabric, you've got thread, you've got a machine, you've got electricity. Let's put them all to work, okay, and just sit with that for awhile and come up with something. Let the passion emerge somehow.

GP: And did you work with them in terms of tapping, trying to tap into that place?

DW: That's what the morning readings were all about. Then after the readings and all that and discussion, and those sessions would go from one to two hours every morning. The rest of the day was basically studio, but they didn't think of it as studio. They thought I was teaching them how to make something. [laughs.]

GP: It's a great trick.

DW: Yes. And I get them there with a description that draws them in, but when I get them there, I can do what I want. It's a tremendous responsibility that the teacher has, and the fact that I know that this happens is scary, isn't it, because if you get the wrong person using that knowledge in the wrong way--

GP: It could be hurtful.

DW: It could be hurtful and very bad. But I really wanted people to start trusting themselves more. Parents and people who have – women who've had children, raised children and been successful with children, why can't they make a successful quilt? They've lost all their confidence, and I want them to realize that 'You did it once, twice, three times before and you didn't know anything about it with the first one. There's really no textbook on how to do it, but you did it.' Or you didn't.

GP: Right, and now you have that to deal with.

DW: Yes. So, I wanted them to motivate themselves. And I've gotten enough feedback from students over the years to realize that that did get through to a lot of people.

GP: What do you think about this whole concept or brouhaha about derivative work?

DW: Oh, I think it's endemic. Michael James wrote an article, if you'd read that, or he gave a speech over in Europe that caused a big furor over his words, but he said that the work is just incestuous. He used the word 'incestuous.' He knows how to light fires. And he's right! We don't realize it. I mean, we have a lot of people who have a good eye for color and a good eye for design, and those same two eyes will not notice that their work is looking like somebody else's.

GP: There seems to be a lot of people who are able to – they're so good at, like you say, the techniques that they can even copy, even if it is a direct, you know, admitted inspiration, but they didn't think it out and they don't seem to be able to find that place within themselves to do that.

DW: But I think this is true of all generations--

GP: Oh, yes.

DW: Since the beginning of time.

GP: Sure.

DW: And if you've ever read –

GP: Not that it's not a new phenomenon; I just wondered what you thought about it.

DW: If you've ever read a book called "How the Irish Saved Civilization"--

GP: Oh, it's one of my favorite books! I love that book!

DW: It's an absolutely wonderful book. Yes, and he says there, you know, the poets – one of the signs of the fall of the Roman Empire was that the poets of, what was it, the sixth century or something? Were just copying the ancients' poetry and putting their name on it and were perfectly willing to accept the praise for it.

GP: Right, plus I like the comment about the little comments in the margins.

DW: I think it's great. I think maybe you were the one who mentioned that book to me.

GP: It could be. It could be. I just love that book.

DW: Yes, it is wonderful, and I've used it on my website and everything. But, you know, it's what happens when we lose sight, when we start losing, when we start to stop taking resp, when we stop taking--

GP: Taking responsibility?

DW: Yes. When we start to stop taking responsibility for our actions. And look at our society now, that's one of the big things now, that nobody wants to be responsible for anything. Nobody, from politics all the way down. So, that's interesting.

GP: My thought is that in the end, it's all going to shake out. I mean, a hundred years from now, it'll all have shaken out.

DW: It'll happen. It's human nature. And also, I knew that there were a lot of people in my class, I could tell right away when a student just wasn't going to – they wanted to learn how to make something. So, I gave them the experience of making something in a happy atmosphere. I played my music; I never asked classes what kind of music they wanted to listen to. It was my music and they liked it.

GP: Did you always call your work 'quilts,' and do you still?

DW: Yes.

GP: You don't have a bugaboo about the terminology?

DW: No.

GP: It all goes back to your earlier comment of 'Life's too short,' but I just thought I'd ask.

GW: I say, 'quilt artist,' but I never really shouldn't have to say that, but what we do, and it's not the best of terms, but it's all right. A quiltmaker. But I think on my website, it's 'artist and quiltmaker.'

GP: Do you want to talk at all about being a man in this world?

DW: I'll just tell you how I feel about that. I've been invited to a lot of men's exhibitions, just for men, and I've refused all of them. And I always say that I do not show my work in exclusively men's exhibitions. I think that's divisive. But if you have another category in the total exhibition where my work would fit, I'd be glad to offer it for that. I've always felt that I was a part of the group. I've never felt apart from it. I don't even notice it. But that's just because I always had--before this time, I always had women bosses to begin with, with the Catholic schools. The nuns and the principals were all women. I've never really ever had to work for a man. So, I was comfortable with that. I'm a feminist.

GP: So, you and some of the other artists I've talked to felt that the choices they make and the subject matter, whatever, were influenced, or had impact, because they were bringing their maleness to what they were doing. I mean, I don't think you can separate – I don't see you separating it out that way; I just wondered if--

DW: No, if anything, my – the women, they talk to me about anything, and things that I just didn't care to deal with, but they felt very comfortable so I must have been giving them, I must have given them the permission to feel comfortable.

GP: Do you know Alex Fuhr, by any chance?

DW: No, but I know his work.

GP: I just wondered.

DW: He's from Oxford [Ohio.].

GP: I know he is, and I don't have any contact information for him, so we'll talk about that later. Supplies for you work--

DW: I would like to say something.

GP: Yes, go ahead.

DW: I've noticed, though, and this is about being a man in the quilt world, is that I still think there are a great deal of women who think just because it's made by a man, it's better.

GP: Seriously? You really do think there's that perception?

DW: I do, I have that sense. I think it's getting--

GP: That's interesting, especially because it's such a small part of what's being made.

DW: I know, but they tend to think because a man has thought through the process and makes art, especially in the 'art' part, because a man – I do think that they think it's better.

GP: Interesting.

DW: Only because and I don't mean to put down my own work, because I don't see my work up there, like I said before, in the pantheon, but there are some women who will put it up there.

GP: Because you're a man?

DW: I think so.

GP: That's interesting, wow, that's really interesting.

DW: I've forgotten the question.

GP: That's okay. We were talking about the materials and things that you use in your work. I know you use a lot of metallic threads and things like that. If that's changed over the years, have you had trouble finding stuff you need?

DW: No, I don't. I started – the quilts in the '80s, in the late '80s and most of the '90s, had a lot of beads on them, and I found that that was slowing me down, with getting the ideas out. Again, I don't have an idea when I start any piece, very, very, few. I've done about 300 pieces now and only a couple of them started with an idea. And when I decided to use less beads or no beads, the regular threads didn't look that--

GP: That good?

DW: Well, I missed the shininess, so then I started to go to the metallic threads. To be perfectly honest, local stores don't carry the metallic threads, I mean, the choices that I would want. But I found that if you go to conferences, to the vendors' malls, you can pick stuff up. The Internet has helped out, but I don't like to buy things on the Internet. I don't like to buy anything I can't see, not like that, anyway.

GP: Is the size or shape of your work important at all?

DW: No, I've always wanted to do quilts that are amorphous, and now that I'm doing this binding technique that I'm using on the other pieces, I have no limitations, but I have yet to--

GP: To explore it?

DW: Yes, only because amorphous shapes contain feminine energy. You know, squares and rectangles and triangles are all masculine energy. And I just have always wanted to do that, but I just can't, or I haven't been able to succeed yet with them. But I would like to do that.

GP: I'd like to see that. I hope you try one.

DW: I'd like to see it, too. About the size, I liked working small – or working large early on. In the middle of the '90s, Nancy Crow started having teacher exhibitions of small works, and that's when I started doing small works, never thinking I could do them. And I've found out that I love doing them now. And when I ask people who work large to--in my workshops, to do something small, they find it very, very difficult.

GP: It's a totally different scale. It's like being a jeweler versus--

DW: That's right.

GP: It's difficult.

DW: But I do like working small.

GP: So, for you, it wasn't so much a financial consideration – I mean, obviously that may be part of it in terms of salability, price range, and that, but you just did it because you like working that way?

DW: Well, I think the finances have been a part of it, too, because I have--I want to stay in this house as long as I can and that. But I know that my big quilts are not going to sell. But that's not why I work small, I like to sell them, but there's more of a chance of the smaller ones selling. And I don't like working with galleries and things like that. I just don't like that part of it at all.

GP: And you're not alone. It's one of the trends that seems to be happening. Do you work in any other media at all?

DW: No.

GP: Do you feel like the scene has changed since you started doing this? We've talked a little bit about the derivative stuff, which seems more prevalent now. What about – I guess what I'm asking specifically is to maybe talk about some of the changes that you have seen from an insider's view, I guess.

DW: I think that the materials that have come on the market have changed the way people work. People are more open to them. A few people still want to stay right with the very traditional materials, like Nancy Crow even, and who would not in the '70s have considered dyeing fabric, and now she does that on her own. That has changed the way people think. I think the Internet has helped, but it's also been--it's also connected people too much. I think we're too connected in the world.

GP: Okay, that's interesting.

DW: I think we're far too connected. This need to have a phone, cell phone, all the time, I don't have a cell phone.

GP: I don't, either.

DW: I know, but some people have to have them, and I can understand when they could be good, but why do you have to carry it into the grocery store and carry on a conversation? And the same thing with this instant connectivity between quilt people, you know, the chat groups and things like that. I don't know too many of my artist friends who are as drawn to this as the traditional people, but some people have a lot of time. You can e-mail them and be--

GP: Well, talking about loneliness, there's maybe a modern touch of combating loneliness, is what I perceive it as. I mean, I don't go on those, either, but a lot of people do.

DW: I don't go into those groups at all, but there are people who will report to me if they hear my name come up, that sort of thing. But it's different now. I've even noticed, it hasn't been a year since I left teaching, and I'm really isolated here. And I've told people that, in the workshop, I've said, 'A year from now, I'm going to be starting to be forgotten,' and it's true and it's all right. It's all right, it's what I wanted, and I do like – I love being at home. I really want to make this work.

GP: But you're right, it's always a hard choice when we make decisions, especially when we even know some of the consequences of our decisions, as we're making it. You still make the choice, and you make the choice knowing that, but it's hard.

DW: Right.

GP: I mean, I kind of feel that way in an odd way even in terms of moving to Florida. It was a decision that we made, and there were many reasons why we felt it was the right one, but I kind of feel like a tree that's been ripped up by the roots. And yet I have new experiences. I don't have people calling me all the time. I'm more alone and I don't like it.

DW: I'm sure you have terrible weather down there.

GP: [laughs.] Well, it's pretty wonderful so far.

DW: Well, I lived in Florida for some time, so I know. But let me just say, too, that--oh, it went out of my head. Go ahead.

GP: All right. Well, we'll get back to it. We were talking about stuff you've observed. Are there changes that you've observed in what is now called 'the field,' that concern you?

DW: Well, there are some people who can do the gallery thing and they become famous, and then there's ones who don't do the gallery thing and they don't become famous.

GP: The unsung heroes. Yes. I had a question on here which, since you didn't want to see the questions in advance, I will read to you, and you can tell me. I wrote, 'It's easy in doing research for this to focus on those artists with the highest visibility, but then one risks the danger of missing the more subtle influences.'

DW: That's right.

GP: How does one appropriately sort out and make choices for talking about this history? I was talking with someone up in Cleveland the other day, and we were talking about this woman Fran Soika. I don't know if you ever knew Fran, but she's a perfect example. She was in the first, maybe the first two Quilt Nationals and all the magazines and all of that, and apparently, which I didn't know, she doesn't work at all anymore. She got rid of everything. And I haven't talked to her yet, so I don't know why, but she's a perfect example of a person who was there at the beginning and then, for whatever reason. I don't know if her work didn't evolve in the right way, it was no longer accepted into Quilt National, maybe she never continued to enter. I don't know. But there are people like that who at the beginning, there seemed to be more unity, I guess. Everything, in a way, everything that people were doing was new and exciting. And then that seemed to filter out over time. So, I just wonder--

DW: You mean, why did we lose her?

GP: Yes, and others. I think 'What happened? What happened?'

DW: Like Virginia Randles not Virginia Randles, Virginia Jacobson?

GP: Yes, what happened to her? Yes.

DW: Well, she couldn't make money at it. When she moved away to Hawaii--were you at that retreat for AQN that she gave the--

GP: No.

DW: That was remarkable. I'm so blessed to have been there because it was soon after that that she started drifting away. I think it's all right for people to come and go because – and there was an article in the Utne Reader about how we – maybe we should be thinking of lifetimes in terms of the first twenty years, second twenty years, third twenty years. In other words, we're living longer and longer and longer, why do we have to stay in the same career, have the same interest, the same passion? I mean, does it make a person a great artist because they can do it for eighty – over the whole eighty years of their life, or can they still be great if, in that one area, in only twenty years of their life? I think we kind of judge people by--that they've left, and therefore they've left for the wrong reasons.

GP: Well, let's go back to the word 'incestuous' [laughs.], the whole little community. But it is a small, little community so maybe that's part of it, too. I'm asking this because I'm trying to understand it. I mean, I'm not ever, as you said, I'm not going to be in the pantheon, and I'm about twenty laps behind you, and I don't care, either. I just care about what I'm doing and doing what I feel like doing. I'm taking time off and I'm writing a book, for God's sake, has nothing to do with--but that's important to me.

DW: Well, there's these quilt artists who, in their lecture, one of the first things they say, they'll put up a quilt and they'll say, 'This was chosen as one of the 100 quilts, best quilts.' That is such malarkey. I'd say another word, but I'd be egged. That is such malarkey. There was a lot of politics behind that 100 quilts. It's ridiculous.

GP: Well, it's just kind of the way our history gets written, too, I think.

DW: You were saying something here that I wanted to reconnect with.

GP: Okay. Do you want me to read it again? Or you can look at it. It's the top question [on the page].

DW: Well, this is where I think that--what I'm trying to do is I'm going into myself, in this period of my life. I want to go into myself. I really want to do writing, too. That's important to me, but I haven't done that yet. And what keeps me--or an excuse that I have for not doing it is that --all this e-mail that you have to answer. You spend writing it and writing it and then you don't want to write something else. So, what I've been doing is, when I write something pithy or of importance into some e-mail, then I enter that into my journal. But to sit down and write the journal, I think, would be really good, and I think I would really write a good one. But I'm just not getting there. I don't know about this first tier, second tier--

GP: I didn't even know how else to word it, but I just wanted to ask you about it.

DW: There are some people who are very competitive and one of the quotes that I have used in my lectures, and its mine, is 'Art is not a competitive sport.' And so many people are--have been sucked into that and they don't--their center--the circle is so important to me in my work. It is central to the imagery, and I can't rid myself of the circle nor do I want to rid myself of the circle. But these people, their center is not in the center. They're not in the center anymore. It's like all the distractions are like magnets, pulling them away from their center, to be in a show of significance with other names that are of significance.

GP: And that's all they care about?

DW: That's right. And then they feel they've made it.

GP: Wherever 'it' is?

DW: Yes. And it's just like the person who wrote that in "How the Irish Saved Civilization," you know, taking credit for poems by the early Greeks.

GP: Right, right. Well, one thing that I've discovered as maybe an emerging trend of some sort is that a lot of people aren't – a lot of people whose names are known aren't making quilts anymore. Risë Nagin's not making quilts anymore. She's just not. Clare Murray's not making quilts anymore. You know a lot of people--

DW: I'm not making a whole lot of quilts.

GP: A lot of people are--they're still working, they're still doing things, but they're exploring, exactly what you said, they're--

DW: Another part of themselves.

GP: They're following their gut to say, 'This is what I'm interested in right now,' and at the risk of losing their career as it may be in this field, they don't care, because that's what they need to do.

DW: I don't care, either.

GP: I don't, either.

DW: And I like to be creative. No matter what I do, it turns into a creative effort. When I read, it's a creative experience when I read. I'm becoming a better and better and better reader over time. And so, my passions are changing. I like working with the computer a great deal. I regret that I did not learn more about it early on. That's nobody's fault; it's just that I wasn't part of it. It was an expensive proposition, too. In other words, money was an issue. But, boy, I can do good things on a computer, and it's very creative.

GP: Well, and again, it's a new skill; it's a new part of your brain being stimulated. It's a part of the growth.

DW: I'm always making big changes in my life. I read Tarot, and I had a workshop called "Tarot Portraits" where we would go in and know what our birth cards were and then build a quilt. It was a very popular workshop. A lot of these women, I think, used it as an excuse to learn about the Tarot. Because they were going off to a quilt conference, they could still get in something else. And so, in the deck of Tarot, there's two cards--the Major Arcana, the Minor Arcana, and the Major Arcana has twenty-two cards in it. And they represent a cycle of twenty-two things and then it returns. And I taught seventh grade for twenty-two years.

GP: A perfect cycle, or a complete cycle.

DW: And I didn't realize this, that when I quit teaching, I'm in my twenty-second year when I decided to quit the workshops, that was twenty-two years, 1981 to now, or last year.

GP: But what I hear you saying is that in--

DW: This is my spiritual thing.

GP: In trusting your I call it trusting my gut. I associate it with my own spirituality, as well. But what I hear you saying is that in trusting your gut, you have a validation of that, in this other spiritual aspect of your life, of saying, 'Yeah, I feel this change coming on and I'm going to risk it and I'm going to go with it.'

DW: Right, right. That's exactly right. Numbers are important to me. When they come up on the digital clocks now--we don't know how to use another clock, but they'll come up and I'm always looking up at the clock when those numbers arrive, and I don't know why.

GP: Maybe you need to ask that question in your meditation.

DW: Yes, well, I know what the numbers mean to me.

GP: Yes, but why are you looking at them at that time, what's that mean?

DW: Yes, I'll tend to look up.

GP: Wayne Dyer said there are no coincidences.

DW: Those are the things that, yes.

GP: So, who would I be remiss in not interviewing for this story?

DW: Are these just people in Ohio?

GP: Yes, who have, certainly, a strong Ohio--it has to be part of the Ohio story. I mean, you're not from Ohio, either, but you're part of the story.

DW: Well, I've been in Ohio for most of my life.

GP: I don't know if you consider yourself an Ohioan at this point, but you certainly would be, I would think, considered an Ohio quilt artist.

DW: I think if you're coming back in the area, Gerry Fogarty is a really good person to ask these questions to. She has developed a body of work that I think is remarkable, and it has shifted from quilts, I mean specific quilts, and I think it's really good, but it's still fabric. And she still does what you'd call a 'real quilt' once in awhile, but that's not important.

GP: Again, this is a real trend, David, that's happening.

DW: She lets her passion move her. Right now, I want this whole house to be--I would like this whole area here to be studio, and I would like to become a collage artist. But you know what; you need a lifetime of having collected all that crap. [laughs.]

GP: No, you don't. I started working in that in '92, when I was bedridden--

DW: And now you're--

GP: It's what I do. To me, it's all the same, whether I'm making a quilt or paper or something else. It's all the same.

DW: I want all that stuff; I want all that stuff around me. But I also like the order of this house. This is meditative for me. And it's not real clean but everything is in its place.

GP: Yeah, and you can find what you need when you need it.

DW: Right. Well, you have no other little feet walking around in it to move stuff.

GP: To move stuff around, yes, yes.

Do you feel that your work is understood? Is there anything you want to--I mean, and this is an opportunity, I guess, to say.

DW: I think it's understood. I think when people know me, they understand it better, but I think people understand--I don't feel like it's going unrecognized. It's not important to me that it's even recognized at all. If it would help me to write a book someday or if it would help me to get back into doing a few lectures a year or something like that, I would like for that to happen. I would like to know that I'm still motivating people to change.

GP: That kind of leads into my next question. From an historical aspect, I keep looking ahead. I'm thinking, okay, fifty years from now, we're all dead and gone, somebody else is out there researching and still trying to find out about what was happening now, and they come across these different things. How do you want to be remembered? How do you want that person, that one person--

DW: That I was a good teacher, that I helped them move this way or that way, or to think something--maybe the work doesn't have to change at all, just inside, the way they feel about themselves. Because there were a lot of people, I thought their work was really remarkable. They just didn't like it or they didn't feel--maybe they didn't feel like it was being received well. And I wanted them to just accept their gift. People have gifts that they don't want to accept.

GP: Yes, isn't that the truth? You spend half your life looking for the gifts and then--

DW: I think they went back home and I'm happy. This is good.

GP: What's the best


“David Walker,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed July 15, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/1917.