Ingrid Van Hengel

Photos

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Title

Ingrid Van Hengel

Identifier

ME04105-001

Interviewee

Ingrid Van Hengel

Interviewer

Jeanne Wright

Interview Date

2010-06-23

Interview sponsor

Artistic Artifacts

Location

Falmouth, Maine

Transcriber

Jeanne Wright

Transcription

Note: Ingrid Van Hengel is not a member of the DAR. While this is a DAR quiltmaker documentation project, membership within the DAR is not required.

Jeanne Wright (JW): This is Jeanne Wright. Today's date is June 23, 2010. It is 2:40 in the afternoon. I'm conducting an interview with Ingrid Van Hengel-Urijburg [maiden name was Urijburg.] for the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories project at her daughter's home in Falmouth. [Maine.] We are doing this interview as part of the American Heritage Committee of the Maine State Society Daughters of the American Revolution [Elizabeth Wadsworth Chapter, Portland, Maine.] as a project for the Alliance for American Quilts. Ingrid is a quilter whose home is in Holland and is visiting her daughter in Maine. She has been kind enough to grant me an interview, even though she will be taking off for Holland tomorrow and must be busy getting ready. Ingrid, during this visit with your daughter, you have selected one of the quilts you made for her to talk about. Please tell me the story about this quilt.

IVH: The story is really very simple because when my daughter married her American husband, I promised her a quilt. She, being very much in love said, 'Jim, what would you like my mother to make?' He said, 'Well, you know, these Mariner Compasses,' not realizing that it is about the most difficult piece of patchwork to get right. I waited a year and I said, 'Whether you know or not, this is an awful amount of work, so when you're tidy,' because they were not, 'I will start making the quilt.' And they were, so I did. That was about 20 years ago, and they have--it looks good. It's on a four-poster bed, so the measurements had to be very precise. It's held up. I've just put a new binding on it. It is still in good shape. I think the colors have also held up well, which is nice. But it has been used every day.

JW: What special meaning does it have for you?

IVH: Well, the quilt--my daughter is a--well it's a Mariner's Compass and while [laughs.] the one who selected it [laughs.] does not sail, we do. We are sailors and so that brought it a bit close to home. I had quilted on it anchors and ropes and also maritime things to remind her of the days when she was one of us in Holland.

JW: This quilt is being used in the United States, but do you have other quilts in other countries. Have you given them to friends or family in other--

IVH: Of course, of course.

JW: --countries? Where are they now?

IVH: Well, I made one for my son and his wife and it is in England in their holiday house, and I sleep under a quilt. I have two very large ones, 2.50m x 2.50m, believe me, that is over 2 1/2 yards, for myself and I have a stack of quilts at home. Yes, I have given away four here [to daughter in Falmouth, Maine.], five really. There also--which we didn't show you because it's really, it's just too old. I made two Grandmother's Gardens, you know, all the little hexagons, and one of them is here still. So, they've always been used. I don't really make wall hangings except one Christmas one, because this is how I found out about quilts. You see, I was sent to boarding school in the United States, back when I was twelve, and I came from the West Indies where I had never seen a blanket in my life. We had--I went to a boarding school in Delaware, and we had a sleeping porch, and it was very cold in the wintertime. I saw all these marvelous quilts on the beds, and I had never seen quilts in my life. I came from a family where we sew, and we knit, and we do all sorts of things. So, the handiwork of it intrigued me. I had never seen big things made like that. The biggest thing I had ever made was a tea cozy, I think. So that was--it never left me how much I liked those quilts.

JW: Any other countries?

IVH: No, because of course in those days, this was a long time ago in 1945, just after the war ended. People then, I think, were not really making quilts so they were family--yes, I'm 77 years old now--so they were old quilts, which had been given along to the children to go away to school. [first and only notation of a dog barking in the background. This happens intermittently throughout the interview.] But I don't think in those days people were making quilts. That had passed, as I understand it. When I lived in the States in the early '70's I used to go to Vermont to go skiing. We lived in Connecticut then, and the quilts were just starting up here then and I thought, ah, there they are again, these wonderful things.

JW: Have you made any other quilts for weddings, for special occasions, or are they [talking at the same time.] or are they just quilts you want to make?

IVH: Ah no, I make a quilt when I want to make a quilt really. It's no good ordering a quilt with me because then it's not mine anymore.

JW: What do you think someone viewing your quilt might conclude about you?

IVH: [laughs.] I have no idea. That I like color, that I like sewing neatly, I really do. I can't--I never really think about that, I must tell you.

JW: [laughs.] Well, what about your interest in quilt making? Now who started you, who was the influence, who was the person who either sat down with you or whatever to help you get started?

IVH: I think I felt the need, I always felt the need to sew. When my daughter was small, I used to sew all her little dresses. I used to buy remnants of one yard and make little dresses and things like that. You see, I moved when I was newly married, every one or two years. You never settled down to quiet introspective quilting. You just go on. By the time you find the butcher and a garage and this and that, you've been moved to another country. In those years I had my two children and I had; I had a wonderful time. This is not the point. I was very lucky I thought. But my husband's work took us, he used to work for Exxon, so it took us, especially through Southeast Asia where it was really too warm and you do not think about quilts when you live in Southeast Asia, so it wasn't until we lived in England which was in--we went to England in 1973, that again, the children were older. After a while they went to boarding school, because that is what you do when you live in England, if you want to educate them decently. So, I had more time. There was fabric and then I started making these Grandmothers Gardens [beep of a timer.] ones.

JW: What do you think was the youngest age that you made a quilt?

IVH: Um, 45 probably.

JW: Uh-mm. So, you didn't do any sewing or other [talking at the same time.] thing before that?

IVH: Sewing yes--no, not quilting.

JW: No quilting.

IVH: As a matter of fact, mostly patching, not necessarily quilting. To me there is such a difference, and I loved all the bits of color and the bits of fabric. To quilt them I only enjoyed much later.

JW: What was your first memory of quilt making, the very first time you thought, oh, I want to do that?

IVH: I think in England where Richard exited often. [laughs.]

JW: How do you think quilt making impacted your family? Did others quilt in your family?

IVH: No, no.

JW: Did they appreciate the type of thing you did? How did it impact your family?

IVH: Well with my children, my daughter, when she wants to relax, she, you may know she is a physician. She's an OBGYN. To relax, she sews. She makes quilts very different from mine, but she does things like this. I think my son, why he's just used to his mother, because I quilted, I sewed clothing, curtains, and whatever. I must say, especially in England, I would be making all these things and they would sit under the ironing board and tell me all sorts of stories. So, it was relaxed family moments, if you will.

JW: Can you tell me an amusing story about when you were quilting?

IVH: Perhaps not right at this moment. I can't think of anything, but ah--[pauses.]

JW: If you think of it as we are talking, perhaps you can share it with me.

IVH: Perhaps if something comes to mind, I will, because I had a lot of fun quilting, met a lot of marvelous people all over the world as well.

JW: Have you ever used a quilt to get through a difficult time?

IVH: Yes. I think it helped when I, well I was teaching quilting at that moment and I was just one quilt ahead of my class, I must confess to you. [JW laughs.] We were going to do a sampler and so I made a sampler and I look at it sometimes because I still have it, and again, I'm quite pleased with the sewing of it and the placing and everything. [In a more hushed voice she leaned in towards me.] It's a lot of dark red and grayish green. It's not a happy quilt. But I made it and it's a good quilt. It's just--it shows I was not at my most amusing period in my life. Yes, I think it helps to make things when you are not exactly on top of the world.

JW: Very good. What aspects of quilt making do you not enjoy?

IVH: [responded quickly.] The measuring.

JW: Measuring.

IVH: Oh.

JW: I know you measure in centimeters and meters and so forth and you said [just before the interview started.] you have no problem going between that and--

IVH: I don't. But I hate the measuring just the same [laughs.] whether they are yards or meters, because it's technical of course. It has to be done when you're buying and sewing them. No.

JW: Have you ever won an award for any of your quilts?

IVH: No. No, I've never gone in for an award.

JW: You've never been in any quilt shows?

IVH: No, we don't do many quilts shows, very rare in Holland.

JW: Do you belong to a quilt guild over there?

IVH: Yes, I was one of the founding, fathers not exactly, mothers of the Dutch Quilters Guild, which we started 25 of us and now has, I think, 1,600 members.

JW: Oh, my.

IVH: So obviously there was a need for it otherwise it wouldn't have gone so well. But that was 25 years ago.

JW: 25. What about quilting magazines? There must be quilting magazines there. There certainly are here. Do you pack up a bunch of them when you are leaving Maine to take back with you?

IVH: Not anymore. Now I have had Quilter's Newsletter for over 10 years. I still have all of them.

JW: [laughs.] I do too.

IVH: And I [laughs.] use them to get ideas, mostly for workshops when I was teaching, though I rarely teach anymore. Yes, and when I'm here, I buy, not too much anymore. All my bookcases are full. [laughs.] I try to--[laughs.]

JW: So, did you get those over here then?

IVH: No, I have a subscription. Yuh. And then of course I have books as well. I have Jinny Beyer books, you know, the patterns, lots of patterns or whatever it's called--two of them.

JW: Have you been to her workshops?

IVH: I have. She occasionally came to Holland, yes. I've never done a workshop in this country, but I have met people who come to Holland, and they do. I have done workshops. I, of course, have also organized workshops for them. I have had Jean Ray Laury stay with me, and her husband. They are just delightful people. They gave a few--she rather, gave a few workshops as well.

JW: Uh-mm. How do you think the United States quilters perhaps interest you or inspire you?

IVH: Oh yes.

JW: What's that? What inspires you about the quilters here?

IVH: I think the diversity. I think you take some known names, 8 or 10, and they all make quite different things. You may like it or you may not. You may think this is for me or you may think this doesn't speak to me. But anyway, you respect it, and you admire the work.

JW: Have any pictures of you or your quilts, working on your quilts ever been published?

IVH: Well once in a while in a local paper. No, not really.

JW: Do you collect quilts or sell them?

IVH: No.

JW: No. There have been advances, certainly, in technology. What do you think of those? Have you taken hold of those, or do you try to stick to a very beginning way of quilting?

IVH: I think I stick to a beginning way of quilting. I quilt by hand always, because I think it looks so much better, unless you really crisply meander all over every spare centimeter of it, then you get a different feel and a different look. But that is not what I do, and I don't ever want to do that because I like the quiet, the pleasure of hand quilting.

JW: It sounds like you create your own patterns.

IVH: Oh, yes, oh yes. Always. I try to adapt it to what I have patched.

JW: So each quilt is going to be different with your pattern?

IVH: Oh absolutely. Oh, yes, yes. I think that's the fun of it.

JW: That's what I was going to ask. The designing of it.

IVH: The designing--not only the fabric, the bits and pieces of the fabric, but what you are going to, how are you going to quilt it. I once in a magazine saw a quilt, and said, 'Ooh I like that,' and then I looked at it, you know, really, and I saw it was very simple. It was really mostly squares, but the colors were wonderful. And the quilting was so interesting and that's what made it such a nice thing to look at.

JW: Now what about the tools of quilt making? Do you find the tools here are different than at your home?

IVH: Well, I use mostly American rulers. With sticky tape I mark the centimeters instead of the inches. [both laugh.] I have all this colored tape all over my rule.

JW: You have a 'cheat sheet' you might call it, of a ruler. I like that. Now, do you visit quilt shops here?

IVH: Yes, I do. There was a very big one, but it's closed in South Portland. [Maine.]

JW: Yes. So, do you visit quilt shops or fabric shops?

IVH: No, I think I'm talking about fabric shops. I see enough quilts as it is. I don't really ever make a quilt because I've seen it. You know it's my treat. I can make anything I want to. It's my own time. It's for me. It's not what anybody else does.

JW: Uh-mm. How far away from the greater Portland [Maine.] area have you gone to find a quilt shop?

IVH: If you are talking about Keepsake Quilting [Center Harbor, NH.], [laughs.] which you may be, I have never been, but I have ordered from them and they used to send me their little magazines, but with all the money crises, they are not doing that anymore. And they are right too, because I then order it and because I have to pay import duty on it, they send it to my daughter [in Falmouth, Maine.] and then I can pick it up when I'm here. But I have some of my stash. I should not be buying. I have far too much.

JW: When you say that, how much would you say you have for a stash? Is it a room, a wall, a box?

IVH: A complete--well about--yes, a cupboardful--falling out as a matter of fact.

JW: Do you try to use those first--

IVH: Yes.

JW: --when you do a new quilt?

IVH: Yes, I must now. I'm becoming very strict with myself, so I'm making lots of fun quilts with different colors because I need to use these fabrics.

JW: What type of fabrics do you like best? Are you using cotton?

IVH: Cotton. Really 99%, if not 100% of the time.

JW: And the designs then that you use to actually piece quilts, they're a design you've seen before but then you just do it your way, or have you come up with new piecing?

IVH: I don't think I've come up with new piecing. It depends. If I'm making something which is easy, I will, for instance a Log Cabin, which isn't difficult to piece, so I make all these strips and get to the sewing machine and I go for it. Some things are more difficult, as we all know. Then you sort of sit down more quietly and think about the piecing. I think basically I try to--I don't try to make piecing very easy. If it's a difficult thing, it'll just have to be difficult. But I don't want to get all these crisscrossed seams just because it's easier to put together. I don't believe in that, not for me anyway.

JW: You said that of all of your quilts, with the exception of this beautiful Christmas one we have here, this is the only one that is a wall quilt.

IVH: That's right.

JW: Have you done any quilt art; you might call it. Making any pictures?

IVH: No, no.

JW: Applique?

IVH: I do appliqué, but no, I don't know what I would do with them [wall hangings.] to be honest. I like making big things to use. You see, that's what I saw. I saw those quilts at school, and they were used by people, and I've never gone away from that idea. That is what I do.

JW: What do you think is your most important quilting tool? If you had to start a new quilt and you say I can't do it without my--

IVH: I'm terribly tempted to say needle and thread. But ruler, paper and pencil because I very often draw out these things first and I enlarge them. Talk of my technical advances, I used to use millimeter [graph.] paper to enlarge and make smaller something I see. Now I can go to the photocopy shop and put it on their machine and get any size I want. That is nice.

JW: So, you are using a bit of new technology here and there?

IVH: Oh, yes. I think everybody does, don't you?

JW: It's interesting when you say 'a needle and thread' because that goes right back to basics and you are still using it, so it must give you a nice feeling of continuity.

IVH: Well, it does.

JW: Now can you describe your studio or your place, your room where you create your quilts?

IVH: It's small [room.] in a little house. I always say I live in a little house in a little village in a little country and my sewing room is also small. I have a niche in it because of a fireplace flue and so that's where my sewing machine and some drawers are and books. And then there's the cupboard which is too full of fabrics. And then there is a table which I can put up or down, as the case may be. I can barely get past it if it's completely out. So, I always work horizontally.

JW: Do you have natural lighting or is it all electric lighting?

IVH: Both. It's a nice light room, but the lamps I put in are quite decent as well.

JW: What about a design wall? Do you use a design wall?

IVH: No, I, because I make flat things, so to speak, I don't see the point of standing up while making it.

JW: When you're designing, you pretty much, it sounds like, design it on paper. You just sit there until you see the right type of thing on paper, is that how you would say it?

IVH: Yes, I, well I do varied things. Sometimes I'm just on my knees in front of the bed piecing it on top of the sheet. [both laugh.] I do most everything. It really depends on room so much. It depends on what sort of room I have to work in.

JW: What do you think makes a great quilt?

IVH: It has to have both originality and good workmanship.

JW: And as far as being artistically powerful, what would say creates that?

IVH: That is a very difficult question. I find that a very difficult question. I can't think of an answer to that.

JW: If you were to go into a room and it had 12 quilts in it, what would attract you that would be the most artistically powerful?

IVH: I think, first of all you would look for color. I think that is the first thing that jumps at you. Then you could say, I find this so original. I didn't realize you could use color that way. I find this very difficult because it's so personal. I think color, if I must say anything about it, means the most to me.

JW: Well, what makes a great quiltmaker? The person.

IVH: Could you ask me that again?

JW: Sure. What makes a great quiltmaker, you know, something that would say okay, this person is doing it, but not so well. But this person is a great quiltmaker. I wish I could be more like this person. I wish I had those talents. What creates a great quiltmaker?

IVH: Again, I think originality and, again, workmanship, and again, simply doing it. I mean it takes stamina sometimes to make something which is--well you are completely at sea. You are on your own. Nobody has done that before. I think that I have enormous respect for that.

JW: How long would it take you to make a quilt, such as the difficult one that is on display today?

IVH: Not so very long because I want to get on with it. I want to see what is happening. I am most curious to see whether it will really work, that which looked all right on paper. Then, because you know as well as I do, once you are working, one thing leads to another. You think, ah, I have that fabric and that would look just right there. And you really don't know that until you are actually at work, and you are busy. You don't know everything in advance, at least I don't. It grows and--

JW: And it's fun. [both talk at the same time.] It's alive, I think.

IVH: It's fun. Oh, it is absolutely. That is the fun of it. That is the creating thing that you are, but that works as well. And let's try that and oh it looks horrible, or it looks fantastic.

JW: Now how do you feel about machine quilting, hand quilting, tying? What method do you work with, do you like? It sounds like hand quilting.

IVH: I hand quilt. I have occasionally, I'm thinking of a funny story. I have occasionally tied, when they were just small little gifts, but I do remember a friend of mine making a charming little crib quilt and she tied it in pretty colors and she gave it to the mother of the tiny baby who said, when she next saw her, she said, 'You know you forgot to take all those strings out,' [JW laughs.] 'So, I've taken them out for you.' [both continue to laugh.]

JW: That's a good story.

IVH: There's always something.

JW: Now what about longarm quilting? Have you ever tried that?

IVH: No. I don't think I will.

JW: No. No. Now why is quilt making important in your life?

IVH: It's wonderful to have the time, the leisure and the wish to make things. Because if you don't want to make things you might as well not even start. I don't know. I cannot imagine really my life without quilting. Not necessarily every day, or every week. But it's always been all those years I've done more, or I've done less, but it's never been quite gone, this wishes to make quilts. And I have a quilting group and we make very different things, but we enjoy what we do, for different reasons. And it fills, you could say it fills a void. I think that's a bit thin as an argument. It fulfills a need, I think, is what I want to say--for me.

JW: It's something that you are going to continue to do then? It's just--

IVH: Oh, absolutely.

JW: Now in what ways do you think your quilts reflect your community and your region of your country? I know you've moved a great deal and maybe you can say that about a different area, or maybe you can say that about where you are now. Do you see anything that makes it particularly appropriate to your area?

IVH: I don't. To be honest, I don't. I have had too checkered a life and too many influences to be able to. I lived in Japan, for instance, for four years and I love all those things with Japanese fabrics, but I have been too close to that to be able to use it because I feel it is not for me, you see.

JW: How long would you say there is--how old a history of quilting is there in Holland, where it really came to itself in Holland?

IVH: Well recently, really, I would say in the 1980's, but there is some documentation of quilts being made in the eighteenth century. You see when the ships would go to the Dutch East Indies, the VOC [Dutch East India Company.], they would bring back a Chintz for instance, which in Dutch is called [pronounced the word in Dutch.] And they would make bed covers out of that and then they would have to be nice and warm so there would be some quilting there. There are also some piecing and some pieced quilts with those fabrics, but never the traditional Dutch fabrics, oddly enough.

JW: How about fabrics there. Are they available? Are they desirable? Do you prefer them there or here in America? How do you get your fabrics?

IVH: I think for quilting there's thin cotton you have here. American cotton is wonderful stuff, whether it's for quilting or for bed sheets. It's very high-quality cotton. So, I would say definitely American fabric and it's imported in vast quantities. I can get just about anything I want in Holland. Of course, it's much more expensive there, what with duties and having sent it over. So, I do try to--I'm holding back now, but I do try to stock up when I'm here, but not lately. A Dutch cotton, which is sturdy stuff, but not for quilting. It's a bit too heavy, as English fabrics very often are, except Liberty and theirs are basically too thin.

JW: Do you, are there large shops or little bitty shops or large fabric warehouses? What type of place would you go to buy some?

IVH: There are only small shops. Some of them have been very successful. So, it depends on the region. There it is, whether you have a lot of--for instance, there's marvelous quilting done in the rural regions and Friesland [Holland.] in the north. But there are very few shops there. But in The Hague, where I live, there are two quilt shops quite nicely stocked.

JW: What about women's history? Do you think that quilting has been a part of women's history, or has it just been a function of history in general? Do you think it has done anything particularly for women? Has it changed something over time?

IVH: I think in the United States yes certainly. I think of the Amish women, for instance, and in Holland, it is too young in Holland. But what is nice to see is I find having started this quilt guild that people from very different walks of life care. That, I thought, was a good thing. So when we have a tiny old quilt show of the large guild and it is very interesting of who does very modern work and small work and big, fairly traditional large quilts. But there's a bit of everything, very carefully judged.

JW: Do you go to quilt shows here in the United States?

IVH: If I am here when there is a quilt show, yes, but very rarely is there a quilt show when I'm here. [laughs.]

JW: That's too bad. Now what about preservation for quilts? Have you ever participated in any process that preserves quilts?

IVH: No.

JW: What do you think about preserving quilts for the future? What's going to be the big thing there? How are they going to be preserved? How should one look at that?

IVH: I'm for it. I have been to the Shelburne Museum [Shelburne, Vermont.] where there are quilts and I had great luck, because my daughter studied at UVM. [University of Vermont.] Friends of mine in New York said to go visit professor such and so and his wife and lovely friends and they knew the person who took care of the quilts at the Shelburne. So, she came with her husband both arms full of quilts to show me. I was so lucky. And then of course I have been to the museum and have seen these quilts. Yes, I think I feel very strongly they should be preserved. What people have used--if you go, for instance, as you know, you go to Mount Vernon and you see all these beautiful whole cloth things of George and Martha Washington's there and you see these itty-bitty patched things in the slaves' quarters and that's interesting from a history point of view. I think, yes, I think people should know about that.

JW: Do you think people in Holland have a good sense of how to preserve quilts?

IVH: No, I don't think it lives yet. I have an article I brought for you to read about the preservation of antique quilts, but there are not so many.

JW: No so many antique quilts you mean?

IVH: Both. Not too many antique quilts and not too many people who would be interested in doing something about it.

JW: You showed me a picture of some skirts, a particular kind of skirt, back during the war era, the Second World War. Could you tell us me about those?

IVH: Yes, those are the Nationale Feestrok, which means the National Party skirt. There was a woman called Mies Boissevain, who after a terrible time during the war, when her two sons were killed by the Nazis, she came out of the concentration camp thin and in very, very poor shape and she was an indomitable person. She said that we should all make quilts, when she was--let me restart. When she was in jail, she shared a cell with--there were eight of them. Somebody smuggled into her, into their cell, with the laundry, a scarf they had made of all fabrics of her life. Her wedding dress, the children's rompers, whatever. This gave them a whole new lease of hope and they hung it in front of the mirror because they said, 'We look so awful anyway, no point in looking in the mirror.' So, after the war she said we must all make with our remnants, we are now going to do something entirely new, so we must all make a skirt and wear it. 4,000 are registered and some of them are in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and you can see them there. They wore them, they started making them after the war with bits of fabric, again, fabrics of clothes that you remember, that you want to remember. They wore them on Jubilee Day in 1948 because that was the 50th Jubilee of Queen Wilhelmina.

JW: You said they were registered. What do you mean registered?

IVH: Well, they have a stamp on it saying that they were not really made yesterday or ten years ago, they were from that period. So you have to give your name and they would [made a fist stamping on palm of the other hand.] put a stamp on it--

JW: Oh, isn't that interesting.

IVH: --so that you see that they are really, really genuine.

JW: The picture is beautiful. Very--it's appliqué?

IVH: It's--sometimes they sewed it together. Sometimes they sewed over an old skirt. When you read the article, you'll see [www.rijksmuseum.nl/nationale-feestrok.] many different ways of making these skirts. You have to have points down below on which you could write special things or special dates.

JW: Where did they get the fabric though, if they had been removed from their homes and so forth.

IVH: Oh well, when they came back, after the war everybody came back and you always had something, even if it was an old curtain. And the colors are mostly red, white and blue of course, from the flag and an orange for the royal house.

JW: Now what do you think is the biggest challenge for quiltmakers today, in any country. What's the biggest challenge?

IVH: Not to make quilts too easy. To make it worthwhile. To have put that time and money and energy and everything into it. Make it last. Don't make it because it's easy.

JW: That's good advice. Is there anything that you'd like to add to this that we haven't talked about today? You must have some wonderful stories or things.

IVH: I can't think, really.

JW: Have you actually made a quilt in each country that you have lived in?

IVH: Yes, because in Japan, when I came to Japan in 1980, that was the second time we went, and again, we went without children. They were away at school and so it's always very often a question of time. Do I have time? Because I always knew I liked seeing new things, but I must have time to do this. There was an American called Amy Kato, married to a Japanese, and her shop was called 'Blue and White' in Tokyo. When Amy married her Duitshe, her Japanese husband whom she had met at Harvard and he said, 'You are going to be terribly bored going to all these expatriate parties. What would you like to do?' She said, 'I would love to [own a shop with Japanese cotton fabrics.] She became a very good friend of mine. I love the fabrics, not only the Japanese silks, which are a different story, but the Japanese cottons. So, she had the shop called 'Blue and White' and she sold Japanese cottons. I said, 'Oh, this is nice. I make quilts.' She said, 'Make the quilts. Take the bolts home.' So, I have sewn quilts after all because I would take the fabric home and I would make the quilts and she would sell them in the shop, quick quilts. So, I have some of those quilts after all.

JW: Do you have most of the quilts that you made then?

IVH: No. I left those in Japan, and they sold. [laughs.] I don't know why they sold.

JW: I mean in general, over the years, have you kept most of your quilts?

IVH: I have kept a fair amount of quilts. I have, yes. But if some of the grandchildren like them they can have them. I would be perfectly happy to--they are made for other people, not for me.

JW: Is there anything else you would like to add to this?

IVH: I don't think so.

JW: Okay. All right. Well, I want to thank you for allowing me to come and do this. I know that you're busy; you're trying to travel tomorrow, but I just was so anxious to hear your stories. I just knew they would be good. We are, again, we are interviewing as part of the 'Quilter's S.O.S. - Save Our Stories' project. Our interview is now over at 3:20 p.m. and thank you very much.

Interview concludes.


Citation

“Ingrid Van Hengel,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 24, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/2154.