Joyce Brasted

Photos

NY14722_003_a.jpg
NY14722_003_b.jpg

Title

Joyce Brasted

Identifier

NY14722-003

Interviewee

Joyce Brasted

Interviewer

Le Rowell

Interview Date

6/13/06

Interview sponsor

Laura McDowell Hopper

Location

Mayville, New York

Transcriber

Tomme Fent

Transcription

Le Rowell (LR): This is Le Rowell and today's date is June 13th, 2006. It is 11:03 a.m., and I'm conducting an interview with Joyce Brasted for the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories, a project of The Alliance for American Quilts. And we are in Brasted House Bed and Breakfast, Joyce and Scott's lovely B&B.; So, thank you for taking the time and agreeing to this interview, Joyce.

Joyce Brasted (JB): Thank you for coming.

LR: Tell me about the quilt that you've brought today.

JB: Okay. This quilt was started in 1939, by my husband's grandmother's cousin. Her name is Cousin Amy, and there's a room in our bed and breakfast that bears her name. And she did this quilt. It's Dresden Plate, and it was made as a Christmas present for his Aunt Adair because she was getting married that year, so this was going to be her gift. And she made the squares and gave it to Aunt Adair, and then took it back to complete and promptly dropped dead of a heart attack at the age of fifty-five. So, these squares had been in a box for years and years and years, and Aunt Adair gave them to me several years ago to finish the quilt, since I was starting to quilt. And so, I have been putting it together, the squares, all by hand, and then I will finish it off shortly. It's all hand-- everything is hand stitched here.

LR: So, this is actually just a quilt top?

JB: This is the quilt top. I finally got it together. There's a couple of stains I'm going to try to get out just from age, just a few kind of rust-looking stains, and then I will finish it off and I will probably take it to the local Amish people to quilt because it's a very intricate pattern that is supposed to be quilted on there. So, I've just kind of been the facilitator of this particular quilt. The reason I chose this as the quilt is the first quilt, I made was similar, and then my mother had started a Dresden Plate quilt also, in 1939, as a gift, and it was for my aunt and my aunt said she didn't want it, so my mother put it aside and then later gave it to me to finish. So that was really the first quilt I finished. And I put stripping in it and quilted it and gave it to my niece. And so that was my first quilt and it being a Dresden Plate, I thought this was really reminiscent. And since then, my quilts really kind of hearken back to that Depression Era style, the old patterns, trying to use the old scraps, and that's what appeals to me. They're simpler.

LR: So, talk a minute about the fabrics.

JB: Okay. Well, these fabrics probably were dresses, Grandma's dresses. They're all wonderful cottons and nice, bright primary colors. They all have the same center color, the nice royal blue, but they're all kinds of peaches and pinks and blues and greens and yellows and some browns. And they might have been even kitchen aprons, possibly. You can -- every time I've shown it to someone who might have been alive in the thirties and forties says, 'Gee, I think my mother had a dress like that,' or 'My grandmother had an apron out of that.' So, I think they were probably pretty popular fabrics that might have been in the five-and-dime stores or just calicoes. There's one here with spools of thread I just love. Isn't that cute? And I see one that could be a children's.

LR: Yes.

JB: It's got little bears. And here's one with animals, there's an elephant and a giraffe. And this particular square is a little unusual.

LR: Yes.

JB: She obviously did it with muslin, the background, but this particular square is three pieces. She must have run out, she wasn't going to buy more, so there's a strip that's about four inches in this one square and then another strip that's only about four inches by half an inch at the end. So it shows you that Depression mentality. I think that's the only one like that.

LR: This is the muslin fabric?

JB: On the muslin, yes.

LR: The background.

JB: Now this one is actually hand-appliquéd onto the muslin. The one my mother did was actually pieced so the pieces of the plate went out to the background. So, this--see all the hand stitching here?

LR: Um-hum.

JB: And when it gets quilted, we'll quilt all these pieces, so they pop up.

LR: What do you plan to do with this quilt?

JB: It's going to lay on the bottom of a bed. I probably won't spread it out, but we have quilts in all the rooms of our bed and breakfast, so this will just be on the bottom of a bed. It may be in Cousin Amy's room, but it might be in someone else's room. We can move them around, and it's got a lot of pretty colors, so it'll be appropriate anywhere we put it, I think. But it will be used because I believe quilts need to be used, not packed away. It's my pet peeve.

LR: So, talk a minute about your own interest in quiltmaking. What age did you start quiltmaking?

JB: It probably--I was maybe forty. I was a sewer all my life; I used to sew all my clothes in high school. Wedding dresses, I made my own wedding dress and I've made wedding dresses for friends. And I don't really do much sewing anymore, more alterations, but I love quilting and kind of just fell into it through these quilts that have come to me. And then I – as I have found a book that has a lot of these patterns, these Depression Era patterns, I've started making my own for gifts. My niece got married four years ago and I made her a quilt out of the Churn Dash pattern. It was all reproduction thirties fabrics. That was a lot of fun. So, I just get a lot of joy out of it.

LR: How do you self-teach? You are self-taught?

JB: Well, I guess I just read the instructions and sometimes I watch the quilt shows which give you tips, which I usually promptly forget. But, yes, knowing how to sew and how to construct things, I certainly can do appliqué and can do straight stitches and everything. Most of my quilts are sewn on the sewing machine; they're machine pieced. But I'm not against hand piecing, I just typically do machine piece them. And then they're usually hand quilted or sometimes tied; I also like to tie quilts, which they did a lot in the thirties.

LR: What are some of your favorite patterns?

JB: I really like the Churn Dash, though that was kind of challenging because I think there were twenty-two pieces or twenty-seven pieces in each square. I've got on our bed, I call it Courthouse Steps, and it may not be, but I had gotten it out of a "Women's Day" magazine. It was one of those Quilt-In-A-Day, though it takes more like two or three. And I like that because you can just pick out the fabric you really like, and there's one fabric in there that I particularly like. But I think they're all my favorite, I guess, when I start to look at them. There's so many patterns, so little time.

LR: What are some of your favorite fabrics?

JB: I really like calicoes. I just like the cottons, and the prints are always so pretty. I haven't really done much with other fabrics. I did do a quilt out of ties for someone, and it was a baby quilt for – he had a great-nephew being born, so he gave me his ties and I made him this quilt. So that was kind of interesting to work with mostly silks and some other fabrics, but I really like cottons and good, old, American fabric.

LR: Do you have any old fabrics, or you use all new fabrics?

JB: I don't have any old fabrics. I do use all new, but I try to pick up pieces here and there. I'm not someone who has a wall full of stash packed away. I do have some fat quarters hanging around. But often when I make a quilt, I might go out and buy the fabric for that quilt, but then you'll have a lot of leftovers, obviously.

LR: What is your first memory of a quilt?

JB: You know my mom had a quilt on her bed when I was growing up. We lived overseas and she had this overseas. My dad was in the Navy, and we lived in Japan and Okinawa. And any other quilts that she had were lost because all the stuff that was stored was damaged in a flood or something while we were overseas. So that quilt was really the only quilt, and by the time I was aware of it, I think it was more scrap and we used it for picnics and things. But it was a Dresden Plate and it reminded me a lot of family gatherings. You know, we'd go for a picnic somewhere and that quilt would be in its tattered state on the ground, and we'd sit on it and eat our picnic.

LR: Were there family clothes, scraps in that?

JB: There might have been but I'm the youngest of five, so a lot of those go back -- they predate me. When I did the first quilt that I had gotten the pieces from my mother, there were fabrics in there that were my grandmother's dresses and aprons, but I never knew her, so I really didn't have as much a connection, just hearing the stories from my older siblings.

LR: So how many hours a week do you quilt?

JB: Well, it depends. When I get a chance to sit down, I probably will sit and do, I don't know, maybe thirty hours. But I haven't quilted in a while and I have a quilt partially made, so I need to get another thirty-hour jag to finish it.

LR: What is the quilt you're working on?

JB: It's actually a quilt for one of our rooms. We've got a new rug in one of our rooms so that meant we had to paint the walls and then I had to make the quilt. The room has a red oriental in it and red walls and the quilt is mostly black-and-white toile. And it's a Kaffe Fassett pattern that I had made, it's "Kaffe's Garden Quilt," and I made it in red and purple for my son's best friend's wedding, and now I'm making it in black and white with a little red for this room. And it's a tied quilt. And it just makes me happy. It's a real nice – it's a simple pattern. It's large squares, but it really looks pretty. And I've had fun piecing the toile together because I cut out the scenes of the toile, so each square is like five different toile scenes, so it's been fun.

LR: You said you're going to tie it. So, will you have a batting?

JB: Yes, it will have a batting and a backing, but then it will be tied through all the layers.

LR: And no quilting?

JB: No quilting.

LR: How does your quiltmaking impact your family?

JB: It's a prime gift. I guess the first one I did, I made one for my son when he went away to college, and he picked out all the fabrics and then it was Around the World, and it was all different plaids. And he still uses it; he brings it back every couple of years for repairs. And then he asked me to do another one for a summer-weight quilt. So, it becomes the gift of choice. All utilitarian, and then gifts, wedding gifts, that sort of thing.

LR: Yes. But obviously the quiltmaking, how does it impact your life here, your family, and running this bed and breakfast?

JB: I guess it's more my hobby, so when I have a few minutes, that's what I do. I go back and sew, or if I'm piecing, it may be laid out all over the place in the house. When we have guests and we're pretty full, I'm not doing too much quilting, I guess.

LR: Have you ever used quiltmaking to get through a difficult time?

JB: Hmm, I'm not sure I've had a lot of difficult times. I'm trying to think. I don't know.

LR: That's good news.

JB: Well, I mean, all life is a little tough, but I don't think I've been through anything particularly traumatic. I might. I might just do it and not realize it. I might go and sew when I need to get away and do something for myself. So maybe I do, and I just don't think about it.

LR: Relieves the tension.

JB: Yes. I might have to think about it now. [laughter.]

LR: So, what do you find most pleasing about quilting?

JB: It's taking a lot of disparate pieces and putting them together into something that's beautiful. And even from the planning stage, when you're looking at a pattern and you're deciding what fabrics or what colors you want, I think it's the creative process. It's funny because I don't think of myself as a very creative person. I don't paint. I don't sculpt. I don't do any of those artsy things. And I'm a very linear person; I'm not 'outside the box' at all. Take me out of my straight line and I'm very uncomfortable. But I guess in quilting, you've got your straight lines [laughter.], so I guess you can be creative and not worry about those other things. So, I guess that's my outlet and I never thought of it as creative, which is kind of silly, I guess.

LR: But you have a few curves here in the Dresden Plate.

JB: Yes, but you know, I didn't make those curves. Cousin Amy made those curves. [laughter.] But the quilt that I finished, I had curves on the border. If I had more pieces of this, I'd do that same border. It's a real pretty border, those curves, so I might have to try that. I don't know what I'll do with the border of this yet because I'd love to do that if I could find the pieces.

LR: Have you created your own patterns from a traditional pattern?

JB: I haven't really changed any patterns. When I did that one "Kaffe's Garden Quilt," I changed it appreciably because I [used.] different fabrics and different colors, but no, I'm not – I don't feel I have that ability or creativity. We had a quilter here a couple of weeks ago, a man named Mark Lipinski, and he looked at – we have a 1930s dresser in our foyer, and it has all this inlay, wood inlay. And he looked at that and he said, 'Oh, that would be a beautiful quilt!' I never thought of it, but he would make a quilt following that pattern of the wood. I don't quite do that; I really need a pattern. I'll change it a little, but I do the same with recipes. I need a recipe. I may change it, but I still have to have the basics.

LR: What aspects of quiltmaking do you not enjoy?

JB: Not enjoy?

LR: In putting your quilt together, for example.

JB: I'm not sure there is an aspect I don't enjoy, because I enjoy the cutting out, the planning, the cutting out, the washing, the sewing. I think I like it all. I don't think there's really anything I don't [like.] because it's all such a building process. Each step goes on to the other. I even like ironing the seams. Sorry. [laughter.]

LR: It's okay; that's very good. Because some people say, well, they don't like the piecing; they just like the quilting. Or they don't like the quilting; they just like putting it together. But it's lovely to have the whole package.

JB: Yes. Now, I admit I'm not the best quilter, so if I'm doing fancy quilting, I usually take it to the Amish and pay to have them do it. But with this quilt, I'll probably want to do some of the quilting, so I'll do the stitching in the ditch so no one will know. But I'll have my part in it; it just won't be seen. My friend Millie [Simpson.] kind of told me that I needed to practice my hand sewing. It was very gentle, but it was a hint that I did not have the most beautiful stitching. Now maybe when I'm her age, I'll be better. [laughter.]

LR: Lovely. Describe some of your quilt-related activities, your guilds, have you done any writing, have you ever had a piece in an exhibition?

JB: I haven't. Our quilt guild does a quilt show every other year, and every time we do it, I vow I'm going to put a quilt in it and then I don't. And I really wanted to put my niece's quilt and I may ask her if I can borrow it back and put that in because I was very proud of that. It was really beautiful. So, I may do one this year, but I just haven't. I really enjoy the camaraderie of the people in the quilt guild, and the different programs they present are very informative and entertaining. So, I think it's for the camaraderie of the people that I love there.

LR: What is the guild?

JB: The guild is the Westfield Quilt Guild. I believe it's about a hundred-and-sixty-some members strong. It's really quite large for such a rural community. But it's women from all ages, all walks of life, all backgrounds, and they're just such lovely people. I mean, how can anyone who sews be bad? It's like gardening. And they have a lot of day groups and I've gotten out of going to the weekly group to sew. I have to get back into that next year. I'll have to take better care of myself.

LR: So right now, you're not part of a sewing group or a bee?

JB: No. It's an open group every week and I just haven't been able to go. We used to have monthly sew days and I could make those. I could really commit to once a month. But they kind of stopped doing that which really disappointed me because that was something I did look forward to, so I'll just have to join that one-day group maybe once a month.

LR: When you can tear yourself away from the B&B.;

JB: Well, you have to do things for yourself. Life is too short to not do things. This is an important part of life, I think. It makes you a well-rounded person.

LR: Let's talk a minute about the craftsmanship and design aspects of quiltmaking. What do you think makes a great quilt?

JB: I think it's probably the fabrics, the color and design of the fabrics, and how they work together. And some people, you could give five women the same material, the same pattern, and come up with five very different quilts. And that's been the learning experience for me, too, to be a little bolder about my choice of fabrics. I've always done everything very safely, so doing this Kaffe's quilt really helped me kind of try to branch out. And now, when I do it for the B&B, I do quilts that are more--I design them to go with a room, so if the room is blue and yellow, the quilt's blue and yellow. But when you're doing it for someone else, you can maybe be a little bolder. I think that's the most interesting part and the part I'm working on personally.

LR: So that also would be what makes it artistically powerful?

JB: I think so, yes. A lot of people, of course, do their own patterns and own designs, and I certainly don't feel comfortable with that, but within the pattern, you can make small changes or adjustments, and then with the fabrics, of course, because the pattern can be very different depending on what fabrics you choose.

LR: What do you think makes a quilt appropriate for a museum or a special collection?

JB: That's a hard question. The problem I have with that is that I hate the thought of quilts just not being used, except I guess being viewed, they are being used somewhat. I guess the story, probably, of the person who did it or why they did it. When I think back around here, we had a lot of the Underground Railroad coming through this area, and quilts were used as signposts essentially for the slaves who were running away, directing them where to go. So, I think one of those quilts would be fascinating. But I understand there's not a lot of documentation on their stories, so that's a problem. But I think the story of the person, hearing a story of this lady making these Dresden Plates, all these pieces. There's probably a story behind each of these fabrics and the dresses and there's probably a much better story that no one will ever know now, but maybe some of the quilts in the museums do have the stories attached.

LR: And one of the reasons why we have the Q.S.O.S. project is so we can capture the stories of yours and other quiltmakers today so that in the future, they will have these stories. Because I think that's what – 'history' is 'his story,' and 'his' being 'his and hers.' But I think there's a lot of story behind a lot of these quilts.

[Brief interruption.]

LR: So, what makes a great quiltmaker?

JB: My husband just said, 'They have to love cats.' We have some cats. [laughter.]

LR: Your husband Scott just passed through the room [laughter.] with a big cat.

JB: I don't know what makes a good quiltmaker. Maybe their story. I go back to the stories, I guess. Not a very interesting answer.

LR: It's all right. So how do quiltmakers learn--a great quiltmaker or just a quiltmaker learn the art of quilting? Especially how to design the pattern, choose the fabrics, the colors?

JB: I think in years past, it was something that was passed down from mothers to daughters and people did it communally. There were quilting bees. And I think that's what we get out of our quilt guild. I remember just doing quilting in a group of our quilt guild and this one woman came over and showed me an easier way to do something. I never knew that thread had direction. Did you know that thread had direction?

LR: No.

JB: Well, thread has direction, and if you do it the right direction, it sews really easily. If you sew it the wrong direction, it knots a lot. And I think that's the benefit of having a quilt guild and working together in sewing groups. And now there's wonderful books, also, with patterns and ideas, and there's videos and TV shows. But I still think the personal connection is the right one, at least where I've learned. And I've never taken a class. Our quilt guild offers classes all the time, and between time--they're usually Friday and Saturdays, and that's when we're busier and the money, they're not inexpensive to take the classes, so I just haven't done that yet. And maybe someday I'll take a quilt class. I'm sure I'll learn something. But for now, it's really nice just to get it from my book.

LR: You're doing very well.

JB: [laughter.] Well, thank you.

LR: Very, very well.

JB: I'm sure there's lots of things to learn, though.

LR: Like curves.

JB: [laughter.]

LR: How do you feel about machine quilting versus hand quilting, longarm?

JB: I have rarely seen a machine-quilted quilt that I liked. I think it's that new, modern kind of design puts me off because I really like the old-fashioned quilts. So, personally, that doesn't interest me. And other people do use them and love them, but it just--and maybe I haven't tried it, but I don't really like the look very much, usually. I really like the old, traditional quilt patterns and designs and the sewing.

LR: You said, 'the book.' What do you mean by 'the book'?

JB: They do – it's more free-form and it's not a pattern as we know it. I have seen some machine quilting in a pattern and that doesn't bother me, but when I see these free-form things, that really bothers me. So, again, that's outside my linear world. There may be other people who look at me, and I like my lines and everything and patterns, and they think I'm really crazy, so it takes all kinds.

LR: It certainly does. Why is quiltmaking important in your life?

JB: I think it's an outlet; it's a creative outlet, something that I never thought I did, as far as being creative. But I think it's an outlet for--I think we all need an avocation to go with our vocation, and sewing in high school was a necessity because I had a very small clothing allowance, and so I sewed. But now, it's not really a necessity; it's just something I really enjoy doing and it's gratifying to start with a pile of fabrics and end with a useful item. A quilt is like a warm blanket. It keeps people warm. It gives them comfort. We do a lot that we give to different charities in our area, so even then, it gives them more than comfort, maybe some solace and things needed. So, I think that's where it speaks to me.

LR: What are some of the quilts that you give for what charities?

JB: We give them to--there's a women's shelter here, a shelter for women and children who've been battered and abused by their spouses or partners. We give them to the local dialysis units for when they're on the dialysis machine. Those are the two main places, but they go to different hospitals and nursing homes and other shelters, and as we find out about them, we've expanded to them. Last year, I think our quilt guild gave over 150 quilts. The attempt is that everybody in the quilt guild makes at least one, and our February meeting is a large quilting bee which is really fun. Everybody brings their quilt tops and there's a group that are sandwiching the quilts together and a group that hand ties the quilts and another group that sews on the labels, and it's my favorite quilt meeting of the year, just a big quilting bee.

LR: A real sharing experience.

JB: It really is, yes, and when you see where they go, to all these people that really need it, or to family and friends.

LR: In what ways do you think quilts have special meaning in women's history in our country?

JB: Well, I think one thing; it's been a matter of teaching. I think they've taught household skills all through. But it's also been a communal thing as women have been so isolated, if you think of the colonial times and the times of our--the western times where women were out on the prairies, that's one way they could come together and get information, get education, learn skills, help each other out. I think it's been really a matter of education and community for women, and a way of bonding that they wouldn't have gotten otherwise because they were pretty isolated.

LR: How do you think we can preserve quilts for the future?

JB: Preserve them?

LR: Well, start with yours, for example.

JB: I hope they'll be well used. They may not be around too long because they'll be well used, but maybe someday they'll be passed down to grandchildren or great-grandchildren, should there be any. I don't know that there any--I mean, I like the idea that there's going to be some places where some quilts will be saved, and this project where the stories are saved, I think is important. But I have a stepsister who's eighty-five and she's got five glorious quilts packed up in a big chest. And when I came to visit, she actually took one out and put it on the bed I was on, and I said, 'Oh, I hope you'll leave it out there or rotate them through or something.' But they're very valuable, she thinks, so she doesn't use them. And I don't see a value if you don't use them. So, I guess the best way is to use them and have them in memory.

LR: Are these old quilts?

JB: Yes, they are. They're her husband's grandmother's and they go back to the 1800s. So, if you want to go visit her in Brevard, [North Carolina.]. Her daughter and I have gone through the packages, and we've refolded them, at least, so that they would have different folds, but I'm trying to get her to keep them out.

LR: How does she have them stored?

JB: They're in a cedar chest and they're wrapped. They're not well stored; they're in like pillowcases. And as I said, that's why we at least try to refold them so they'd be folded in different places because that will leave lines if you leave them folded. It could be worse. But I did get her to get one out on the bed and maybe we can rotate them. Maybe the next time I visit we'll trade it for another one.

LR: How can we encourage quiltmaking in young people?

JB: Well, I think the whole rise of popularity of quilting is getting some younger people. We've got two or three in our quilt guild now. And taking them to quilt shows and showing them what they can do. We don't teach home ec[onomics.] in the schools anymore, either so I'd love to see home ec come back into the schools and teaching basic sewing and basic cooking and skills like that. But I think just the quilt guilds, which seem to be rising in popularity. We have, I think, eight within fifty miles here, I've heard. We do a big quilt exhibition at Chautauqua in September, and there'll be, I think, eight or nine quilt guilds and they're all from this general area. So, I think it is happening, and I don't know what's caused it other than maybe people are just kind of going back to more basic things. I'm not really sure. Maybe we just want some of the comforts of home in this high technology world. You know, things are going so fast, and this is a much more organic thing to be doing. You're working with fabrics and things. I don't know.

LR: So, you've talked for a minute about the future of quilting in America. What do you see for the future?

JB: I see it continuing. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that there's been a big resurgence in the last twenty years. And I think with the Baby Boomers aging, my generation, that's--if you look at our quilt guild, yes, there's a lot of people that are over seventy, but you were there last month, how many--I think at least half the members were forties, fifties, wouldn't you say? So, I think that bodes well for the future. We've got a good thirty to forty years at least of sewing and quilting, so I think we can encourage some other people along the way.

LR: What trends do you see in quiltmaking?

JB: I'm not sure that I'm in a position to see any trends other than what I--my interest. I seem to be seeing -- people I know that are picking up quilting seem to be doing more of this back-to-basic piecing. One of my friends is actually hand-piecing a quilt and she's with Pathology at a children's hospital, yet she is hand piecing a quilt to put on her bed. And I think that's pretty amazing. I don't know, I think it seems to be going back to some of the basics of the original ideas. And maybe they're using modern ideas. When I see some of these quilt teachers like Mark Lipinski. He uses old patterns, but I think he tries to infuse some new ideas with that, maybe new textures, layering fabrics, things like that. So maybe they're just putting a new spin, but I still see is more back to the basics but that may be because that's my interest, then that's why I see it.

LR: Have you seen a number of quilt exhibits in this area? You talked about the festival at Chautauqua, but have there been other quilt exhibits where you see art quilts and different things?

JB: Well, the one that you brought to Chautauqua last year, I think it was last year, I really enjoyed. I haven't seen a lot. I did not hear until too late that the women of Gee's Bend came through Cleveland. Had I known, I would have gone. I had seen it on television. But now, I don't travel much, so when I travel, if I see something like a quilt show, I'll go in. I took my friend Millie to one over at the Erie Art Museum, and they had "Quilts as Oxymorons," so it might have been 'dry lakebed,' so there would be a quilt that was an example of their vision of what a dry lakebed was, but it was all in fabric. So that was interesting. When I see it, if I can get to it, I do try to, but I don't-- I'm not living in a place where there's a lot of that going on other than our local quilt guilds doing shows, which I do try to attend. And the Chautauqua exhibit is one way, also, which is doing yearly now. So hopefully, that'll grow.

LR: We have a little more time. Is there anything else that you would like to share about your quiltmaking, the quilt world?

JB: I can't think of anything. I wasn't as vocal as I thought I would be. [laughter.] I guess when we're talking about ourselves, we're a little shy. When we're talking about someone else, it's a lot easier.

LR: But anything related to your quiltmaking?

JB: It's kind of surprised me, the creative aspect, because I always came at it as a utilitarian thing. And the first couple quilts that I did, other than the pieced quilts that were given to me, I actually took a friend along to help me choose fabrics because I could be in the store for two or three hours because I just couldn't do it. It was just too much, too much to look at. So that, I've seen a growth, a personal growth in being able to look at patterns and fabrics and put them together and feel a little more confident in my choices. Which it's about time I learned something new at my age. [laughter.]

LR: So you can go and buy the fabrics by yourself now?

JB: I can buy them by myself. I usually ask somebody what they think, at the store. We have an aunt who's ninety, the aunt who gave me the pieces for this particular quilt, and she quilts also. And she kind of got me started on doing the Women's Day quilt-in-a-weekend patterns and stuff. And like her, she says when she gets depressed, she goes to JoAnn's [Fabrics.] to shop and usually fifty or a hundred dollars later, she's feeling so much better. [laughter.] I haven't quite gotten to that point but I do enjoy, if I'm in a different area, going into the store and maybe picking up one or two pieces of fabric that I like, but not to the extent that some people do where they've got walls of fabric. So it has been, I think, a thing of personal growth for me, to recognize part of me that I can still develop, because we're always growing.

LR: Well, thank you, Joyce, for agreeing to this interview today as part of our Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories project. And our interview was concluded at 11:40 a.m.

JB: Well, thank you very much. I feel so honored to be a part of this project.

LR: It was a pleasure.

JB: I hope I can do the other side, too.

LR: Thank you. We'd like to have you be part of the project. Thank you very much.

Collection



Citation

“Joyce Brasted,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed April 16, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/1963.