Bonnie Dwyer

Photos

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Title

Bonnie Dwyer

Identifier

ME04531-001

Interviewee

Bonnie Dwyer

Interviewer

Jeanne Wright

Interview Date

17/09/10

Interview sponsor

Iris Karp

Location

Manchester, Maine

Transcriber

Jeanne Wright

Transcription

Jeanne Wright (JW): This is Jeanne Wright. Today's date is September 17, 2010. It's 10:10 in the morning and I'm conducting an interview with Bonnie Dwyer at her home in Manchester, Maine. This is for the Alliance for American Quilts Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories project. Bonnie is known as the Quilt Whisperer and is a nationally recognized lecturer, appraiser, and quilt historian. A current workshop she hosts is called, The Fabric Detective which sounds like a fun and informative way to learn more about our area of interest. Thank you for having me here today.

Bonnie Dwyer (BD): You're welcome. [phone rings and we pause so she can answer it.]

JW: Bonnie, I know you love quilting and are a member of many quilting organizations, but please tell me about being the Quilt Whisperer.

BD: The idea came to me because I am very much interested, of course, in quilts and fabrics and I've become rather a fan of the "Dog Whisperer" television show with Cesar Millan. I'm kind of a junkie and he inspired me because he has an intimate knowledge of dogs and training and so forth. So, the idea of having an intimate knowledge of quilts came to me and I decided that would be my name. So just a few years ago I adopted the name, even though I had been involved with quilts quite a bit before then.

JW: Do people outside of the state [Maine.] know you as the Quilt Whisperer?

BD: Probably. I'm probably regionally known. Among the appraisers I'm nationally known, but that's just because it's a small group of 90, I believe, or 92 certified quilt appraisers and we do get together either at our annual business and professional development meetings or at Paducah [Kentucky.] where a lot of the other activities go on with professional development.

JW: You've brought a beautiful quilt, you have a beautiful quilt of the 1930's, is that right?

BD: Yes.

JW: Would you tell me about that quilt--describe it for us?

BD: Sure. It's a very bright yellow background and mostly primary-colored diamonds in this, what my great grandmother called the Texas Star design. Some people call it Star of Bethlehem, Lone Star, it's that one large star with radiating colors. It's very vibrant. It's one that was passed down to me. It was on my maternal side, great grandmother. She made it and at the time it's possible she lived in New Hampshire, but I'm not positive about that part, but it was entered in the New Hampshire, I believe it was the state fair that was in Rochester, New Hampshire in the late 1930's and won a blue ribbon there. I believe it's probably been put away in a box ever since and my mother gave it to me. I've been its caretaker for a while now. I did use it on my office wall to brighten up the place, a very tiny office, so it really dominated because it is about 72" square. It's all solid colors and I'm pretty sure, I have a hunch it was a kit quilt, possibly. I know that it was possible to buy the die cut diamonds in kit form in the 1930's. I believe that's likely.

JW: You mentioned that you thought it might have been two quilters who did the quilting.

BD: Yes, in fact I guess it was just today when we were looking at it more closely, I realized that the background quilting is much more even than the quilting in the star itself, so it looked like at least two people worked on the quilting.

JW: Do you suppose that she may have had a child help her or somebody else help her do this?

BD: Possibly. It's possible. It could have been a group thing, and somebody was especially good at doing the straight, even stitches in the background.

JW: I would think a quilter making a quilt that was going to be quilted would want to do that herself--

BD: Mm-mm.

JW: --if she was going to quilt it, she would want to do those colors, the diamonds.

BD: You would think so. And yet that's not the finer quilting in the piece.

JW: The stitching, the piecing, seems to be beautifully done.

BD: And I have forgotten now if the piecing was by machine or by hand.

JW: It's nice. It's a very happy quilt. What special meaning does it have for you?

BD: Well, it's, I'm actually from multiple generations of quilters, rather, needle women I should say, a long line of needle women. This, the woman Emma Dunham, who made this quilt died when I was a young child, so I really didn't know her. But my grandmother made quilts. Mostly, mostly scrap quilts or what we would call I think they have acquired a name now called string piecing where little scraps are assembled into blocks and then put together and usually, they are sewn onto a foundation. So that makes the top very heavy. I remember my mother's mother making a lot of these scrap quilts.

JW: You remember seeing her make them?

BD: I don't remember seeing her make them, but I know we were recipients of them as gifts, many of them. One of my earliest memories actually of quilts in my life was when my brother and I used to use some of these scrap quilts to create a playhouse out in the front yard, draping them over card tables, as I recall, and creating a little house under a card table or two.

JW: And your mother wasn't horrified?

BD: Well, apparently not. [both laugh.] I think they were pretty common in her life. I mean she was used to having these scrap quilts around, so they were pretty much everyday blankets for us.

JW: Why did you choose this one for this interview?

BD: Okay I think it was because it was my introduction to the idea of quiltmaking. I have sewn for many years, but it wasn't until the 1980's that I began to appreciate or realize that this was yet another avenue for pursuing my interest in sewing and fabrics. I was a fabric fanatic really from a very young age and when I saw--started appreciating quilts, particularly planned quilts like this one is, as opposed to scrap quilts, I realized that 'Eureka' I had an outlet for all the fabric I had been stashing for so many years. So, I think this particular quilt inspired my interest in quilting.

JW: Are you a hand quilter?

BD: I have done hand quilting. I did a queen-sized quilt. It wasn't very closely quilted but it was so much work, and I was working on it under pressure and really sort of hurt my neck and my arm. I thought, 'Gee, I'm not sure I'm really meant to be a hand quilter. I'm not sure I'll do a bed-sized quilt again.'

JW: Was that your intent when you started quilting? You thought, well I'll make these, I'll use my fabric and I will hand quilt and it will be a nice heirloom? [both talking at the same time.] Is that what you thought you would do?

BD: I think that's kind of where I was going with it. All I knew was that it was a great outlet for a fabric collection and a good excuse to have a fabric collection, making quilts. I don't think I thought too far beyond making the tops--

JW: Mm-mm.

BD: --as I think a lot of quilters do. But I guess in romanticizing it a little bit I thought hand quilting would be great. It's not that I don't enjoy it, but I guess I find it rather physically demanding. So, I don't do a lot of hand quilting now.

JW: This beautiful quilt, what are your plans for it?

BD: I believe I will probably donate it to a museum at some point.

JW: Locally?

BD: I'd like to keep it in New England at least, if not Maine. Again, I'm not positive. I'd have to do the research to find out where Emma Dunham was living at time she made the quilt, but it was either Maine or New Hampshire. If it was Maine, I guess I would want to donate it to a museum that could care for it in Maine. But if was in New Hampshire, perhaps the New England Quilt Museum would be interested.

JW: How old were you when you started quilting?

BD: I was in my 40's and, like I said, I had sewn, I had done garment construction a lot and made my own clothing and my children's clothing, dress shirts for my husband and that sort of practical sewing. Like I said, it wasn't until the '80's when I took up quilting myself. I took a couple of lessons and workshops locally and taught myself as well.

JW: Did you, you taught yourself the quilting? You already knew the piecework. You taught yourself how to quilt then?

BD: Yeah, I taught myself, but I'm a big fan of looking things up. I am a retired reference librarian so [both laugh.] that comes pretty naturally. I do like to network with people, so I joined a guild and took workshops and learned that way.

JW: I know you are involved in many aspects of the quilting world. Do you have any time to do quilting yourself now?

BD: Yes. I'm getting there. It seems like life happens and a lot of, I'd like to be doing more. I have found lately that if I block out a period of time and I actually set a timer for an hour and make myself stay right in the sewing room for that hour, it really helps me get some things done.

JW: Do you have one going right now?

BD: More than one. Yes, I have ideas. One of the things I'm doing right now is participating in a design, an informal design group that's a subgroup of Art Quilts, Maine Chapter. We are using Lorraine Torrence's book, which is a workbook, a workshop sort of thing, called "Fearless Design" and it has ten lessons and this group started out probably at the beginning of this calendar year, probably 2010, and we try to meet monthly and do one lesson. There are ten or eleven lessons in the workbook, so we're up to about seven. Each chapter has an assignment, so what we all do is work out the assignment, come together and critique and set up the next meeting. The group started out with twenty-two people and the last time we met in Farmington [Maine.] there were nine of us. It's a statewide group and people have conflicts and can't make it and so forth, but we're learning, I'm learning a lot. I'm sure the other people are as well. So, working out those lessons is very, very time consuming in fact, and I finally reached a point where I was smart enough to realize that I should be working on something that could become part of a quilt. So, I'm feeling more satisfied with the work I'm doing for that class.

JW: How many hours, let's say in a week, how many hours would you do your own quilting or quiltmaking?

BD: Well, I guess I'll just use this past week as an example because I feel like I'm a little more focused on it. A couple of hours a day, I try.

JW: Good for you to hold it down to that much. [both laugh.]

BD: Well, it's not that I, I'd like to do more than a couple of hours a day, but--

JW: Like you say, life happens.

BD: Things happen, yes.

JW: Would you consider the works you have in progress as UFO's [unfinished objects.] or do you always complete your projects?

BD: Oh, I have UFO's. [laughs.] I'm very good at starting projects and eventually I truly intend to complete them. I often do, but I do have a lot that are unfinished. My taste in making quilts is extremely eclectic because I like making reproduction quilts. I'm working on an Oak Leaf and Reel pattern that actually I purchased the pattern in Florida when I was on vacation. Anyway, I have been working very gradually on that and I made the purchase in 2007, or maybe it was 2008, so it's been a couple of years and I might have half of the blocks done. [talking at the same time.]

JW: But you intend to keep going.

BD: Yes, I do. And then on the other end of the spectrum I am working on a big art quilt. So, I guess you can't pigeon-hole me as far as what kind of quilts I make.

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

BD: You know I haven't, actually, at this point.

JW: What about an amusing experience. You are very experienced in the quilting world nationally and there must have been something that's happened that just cracks you up.

BD: I know this was a question that was given to me and I haven't given it enough thought, but I have to say there is an individual in the quilt world who all she has to do is open her mouth and she has funny things to say and quite a southern sense of, well she's from the south and I guess I shouldn't say a southern sense of humor, but she has a southern accent and I guess it really always amuses me when she comes out with some of her one-liners. She has a quilt lecture that she does and the name of it right now escapes me. [Other People's Fleas.] She does show the kind of funny side of quiltmaking, the "what was she thinking" kind of quilt that can be quite amusing.

JW: Does she do workshops?

BD: She does lectures, and trunk shows, yes. I don't know if I should really name her here, or Teddy Pruett is her name and she lives in Florida, as I may have said. I just appreciate her sense of humor. That doesn't quite answer the exact question that you asked. What was the wording of it?

JW: An experience that you had that was just an amusing experience.

BD: Mmm. Related to quiltmaking?

JW: Mm-mm. Maybe your teaching?

BD: I can't, I honestly can't come up with it--

JW: That's fine. [both laugh.]

BD: --at this point maybe it's just too early. [both laugh.]

JW: We haven't had coffee here yet.

BD: That's right. [both laugh.]

JW: What do you find pleasing about quiltmaking? What makes you just happy about quiltmaking?

BD: Oh, it's seeing all the colors of the fabrics and handling fabrics. I mean I'm just, I don't know why, but who knows why we like what we like, but fabric is obviously the essence of it and working with pleasing colors is just very satisfying to me. I think the part of quiltmaking that I like the most is selecting and coordinating colors with fabrics. That's the part I like the most.

JW: Some people are very frightened of that step.

BD: Yes.

JW: Very tentative.

BD: I'm better at that than I am at finishing the work actually. [both laugh.]

JW: Well, what aspects of quiltmaking do you not enjoy?

BD: Well, I guess I would have to say at this point that it's the hand quilting part because I find, I think I have a hard time relaxing when I'm hand quilting. I have a tendency to tighten up my muscles and end up injuring myself. [laughs.]

JW: Do you not find it relaxing to quilt, hand quilt?

BD: I do, but I guess maybe what my problem is, the time I did injure myself was when I was under a deadline to finish something.

JW: Mm-mm.

BD: And that's my downfall. I tend to work best under pressure--

JW: Yes.

BD: --and so I'm my own worst enemy that way. I think I would enjoy the hand quilting more if I weren't doing it in a pressure situation.

JW: What about technology? Do you think technology has made a difference in the way you quilt?

BD: Well, in terms of technology I guess you could even think about the rotary cutter as being a new, this quarter century anyway, I mean the past quarter century I should say, kind of revolutionized quiltmaking. It speeds up the process of how many unfinished [laughs through comment.] projects one can have. So.

JW: Do you have a lot of gizmos?

BD: I have a few. I'm pretty selective, actually, about the gadgets that I acquire. I'm selective, that's all.

JW: What about your sewing machine. Do you have one sewing machine or many?

BD: I have more than one and I sew pretty much on a Bernina, an older Bernina, probably 20 or so years old. I have a serger and I haven't utilized that an awful lot. It doesn't really lend itself to quiltmaking so much, but it is another sewing machine. Then I have acquired a couple of machines for my granddaughters to use when they come to visit so they will eventually be their own.

JW: Oh nice. That's nice. What about the place where you create your quilts. What's that like? Describe that.

BD: Okay. That is in the basement. I graduated to the downstairs, so to speak, because I needed more space than I had in a small bedroom on the second floor. It's been made bright because we had some better lighting put in there, so I enjoy it actually, even though it's in the basement with daylight windows. I have everything set up and I can leave it set up which is critical, I think. I have shelves for storage, and I have a design wall that I consider to be essential.

JW: Now let's look at the nature of your work that's not you quilting. You're certified by the American Quilting Society as an Appraiser. What does that entail?

BD: To become certified one needs to pass a test that is administered in Paducah, Kentucky. I took some classes that are not required, but they are certainly, I would say, fairly essential for anybody who's considering taking the test. So, they were offered in the Vermont, for a few years at the Vermont Quilt Festival. I believe it was in 2001 that I, or possibly within a couple of years of 2001, that I first took these classes on appraising. There were two 2-day classes and then a 1-day class about valuing quilts and quilt history and fair market appraising and so forth. I certainly knew quilts, but I didn't know the appraising side of things and so that's where I needed to do quite a bit of work. I took as many quilt related classes as I could that were about quilt history and fabric dating and all of that over the years and apprenticed with the gentleman who was doing appraising in the mid, oh mid, I guess he was appraising around 2000 and forward. Philip Jerauld was from the Belfast [Maine.] area and his wife was a quiltmaker and he became an appraiser. So anyway, I apprenticed with him at the Maine Quilt Show a few times and then apprenticed with someone in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and just kept getting more experience, as they say, with flapping quilts [laughs.] and just getting an idea of the age and comparative values in the marketplace. There is quite a bit to it and many folks struggle to pass the test the first time.

JW: So they have a formal test for this?

BD: There is a formal test. It is administered in Paducah in April each year. There is a written component and then a verbal component in front of a panel. It is quite a nerve-wracking experience.

JW: It seems like this would be the type of thing where you are just always learning. You just need to keep learning and learning and learning.

BD: I think that's why I like it. I'm a lifelong learner type of person, so I figure this plays right into that.

JW: You mentioned flapping quilts?

BD: Oh, that's a term that I have picked up from Pepper Cory. [She] is a nationally known quiltmaker and lecturer. She has a blog, I think called "The Quilt Flap," and it's about opening quilts out and putting them down onto a bed or table. That's called quilt flapping [both laugh.] as far as I know, I mean from her.

JW: Is this an aspect of your life that you really enjoy now, more so than quilting yourself?

BD: I think so, yeah. I think what I like is the opportunities it gives me to travel and be with other like-minded folks. I belong to the American Quilt Study Group, and they have an annual seminar, and it moves around the country. I make that a top priority in my life and my budget to attend the AQSG seminar. It will be in Minneapolis this year. It's like walking into a room full of kindred souls all having an interest in quilt history and textiles and the stories behind the quilts.

JW: When you go out to appraise, how many types of things, like we've just had the Maine Quilt Show, something like that, how many of those would you do a year? And you would do it all over the country, is that it?

BD: I am willing to but there are other appraisers around the country, so quilt shows tend to contact appraisers who are in their territory. In fact, I would never go to another state where I know there is a quilt appraiser without first contacting them to find out if they have been asked, and that sort of thing. Not that we have specific territory, but it's just a courtesy.

JW: Now what about, you're nationally recognized as a quilt judge. Can you tell us about the duties, the joys and the tribulations of that job?

BD: Actually, that's not true.

JW: Oh, you're not a judge?

BD: No. I have studied judging, but I have not put myself out there as a quilt judge.

JW: Locally or anything?

BD: I haven't done that actually, not that I wouldn't mind, but I--

JW: You wouldn't mind judging?

BD: --I don't have the really formal training. I've had some classes that are about judging, but I haven't really pursued the formal side of that.

JW: Is it something you would like to do?

BD: I wouldn't mind doing that, actually. I just, [both talk at the same time.] I find myself busy with other activities and it's not one I have pursued.

JW: Okay. Your workshops. I've seen that you are interested in the vintage fabrics, antique fabrics. What led you to focus on those?

BD: Well, I think it was when I was apprenticing with Philip Jerauld, really, that I came to appreciate the antique quilts and became fascinated with the printed fabrics. I wasn't aware of how extensive they were, and I mean the availability in the 19th century. So that was kind of my first realization. I mean I've seen 20th century quilts, early 20th century quilts in fabrics that my grandmother made, but I hadn't been so aware of the array, wide array, of printed fabrics from the 19th century.

JW: Do you collect those?

BD: I do. Yes

JW: Do you use those for sewing?

BD: I have used them for restoration work. I do some quilt repairs and restoration.

JW: Tell me about that.

BD: That is really, actually I enjoy that quite a bit. One thing I don't do is Victorian Crazy Quilts out of silk and that sort of thing, because it's like opening a can of worms. You often create damage just handling the surrounding block to one you might be fixing. So, it, I just don't go there. [laughs.]

JW: Mm-mm.

BD: People will bring me an unfinished top, for example, and they want it made into a quilt with batting and backing. So, I've done that sort of thing. I have been brought a quilt in tatters that was made out of three fabrics with just alternating plain squares and one of the fabrics was a weak one, so every third block was damaged. I really made that over, took it apart completely and replaced the damaged fabric with one that was similar. It came out very well and the client was quite pleased because it was the only remaining memento that person had from his grandmother.

JW: Would that still be considered an antique if it has been redone?

BD: No. No, it has to be dated from the latest, the newest fabric in the quilt.

JW: The workshops that you offer, what's your favorite?

BD: I think it's probably the one that's about quilts through time, like "100 Years of Quilts in a Nutshell."

JW: Mm-mm.

BD: I show quilts that represent from the early, well the mid-1900's to the mid, I'm sorry, I'm misspeaking. 1850 to 1950, there, I've got my wits about me there. Time for coffee. [laughs.] Usually when I do a trunk show, which is what I call them, I'll bring 25-30 quilts from my collection and try to represent each era or each decade and show examples and talk a little bit about what kind of quilts were being made at the time and the trends and the fabrics and all of that. I just like that opportunity to educate people about the range. Quite often people are very surprised about how many different fabrics were available in that 19th century once the textile mills were printing fabrics and they were very, very readily available.

JW: What do you think makes a great quilt?

BD: For me it's the visual impact. Of course, in the late 20th century we started looking at quilts hanging on walls as opposed to necessarily being on a bed. There's something about having a quilt on a wall, viewed vertically, that changes everything. If a quilt has a great color scheme and visual impact, then I'm attracted to it.

JW: What makes it artistically powerful?

BD: I believe it's really all about the color and value.

JW: The color.

BD: Yuh. The color is a big thing. Yuh.

JW: What makes the quilt appropriate for a museum or a special collection?

BD: Condition and workmanship. Those are the two primary, important factors, both in donating to a museum and in appraised value.

JW: Mm-mm. I understand that location is something, that museums like to receive quilts that have been made in their general area.

BD: This is true. Museums really want the provenance, the background, the name of the maker if possible and where and when. Those are really big factors for museums.

JW: What about the quiltmaker? What makes a great quiltmaker?

BD: Mm. I guess there are different criteria depending on, do you mean contemporary or just in general?

JW: No, I think in general. No, let's say contemporary because I think that's changed a great deal since 200 years ago.

BD: Yeah. It really has become quite an art related field.

JW: Instead of a necessity.

BD: Yeah. Yeah. But what makes a great one? [pauses.] Well, that color sense. And obviously executing the quilt in a precise way and the actual quilting. A lot of the quilts that are, I'm thinking of the quilts at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah. Almost every one of those seems like a stop you in your tracks kind of quilt where you've got to really step back and look at it and then step up closer to see the fine detail work. A lot of quilts are machine quilted now. The machine quilting is just absolutely incredible, what is being accomplished, that fine detail, I guess, added to the vision and the color choices and so forth.

JW: Machine quilting is very popular now. It's really a different art form than hand quilting. Do you notice as you travel that one is used more than the other?

BD: Oh yes. Machine quilting is prevalent.

JW: Does that put more emphasis then on the hand quilting, more value on the hand quilting, or less value on the hand quilting.

BD: Sadly, it makes little difference when you are appraising, depending on what type of appraisal you are doing. In a fair market value situation where somebody wants to sell their quilt to somebody, there's almost no difference between the machine and hand quilting. But in an insurance replacement situation, where the approach is cost to reconstruct, hand quilting would be of higher value, because it costs more to hire a hand quilter than it does a machine quilter.

JW: When you travel do you see that quilts reflect a particular area, region, community, that type of thing?

BD: I would say antique and vintage quilts have more regionalism than contemporary quilts. The reason being we have such a mobile society. There are so many publications where people are making the same patterns, or rather the same patterns are available in many, many places. So, it's less likely, I think it's less likely that you would see regionalism in today's quilts.

JW: You have a collection of quilts?

BD: I do.

JW: Do you sell, buy and sell, quilts then?

BD: Mostly buy [both laugh.] and occasionally will sell for a certain circumstance. For example, someone I knew, Pam Weeks from New Hampshire, is researching Potholder Quilts, what she calls Potholder Quilts meaning they are blocks that are complete little quilts unto themselves. They are completely bound on all four sides and then a series of those are whip stitched together to create a quilt. We don't know exactly what that technique was being called when it was being done.

JW: Is that being done in her region of the country then? That's a local type of--

BD: We don't, I don't think it's regional. But I know she's been collecting them and doing research on them. I had one and I offered it to her for sale. So certain circumstances, yes, I will sell.

JW: What do you think quilts have as a special meaning for women's history in America?

BD: Well women didn't have a voice politically prior to being able to vote. It's my understanding that in some cases women used the needle to speak their mind about certain political situations. I think it was fairly subtle in some ways, but pretty obvious in others. I guess maybe in today's world we might read things into quilts.

JW: Mm-mm. Have you participated in quilt preservation?

BD: In preserving, I mean I try to take care of my own collection, as much as I can, in a preservation-minded way.

JW: Is this something you talk about in your workshops at all?

BD: Quilt care. Yes, I definitely do and when I do appraisals and send out a written appraisal, I include information about taking care of quilts so that people have, they know, whether they pursue it or not, how to take care of their quilts appropriately. It's obviously their business, but I provide the information.

JW: You're involved with the New England Quilt Museum, so that must certainly give you--is that correct?

BD: I'm a member of it, but I'm not active on any board or anything. I try to get there when I can.

JW: But you must see the importance of preserving--

BD: Oh absolutely.

JW: --that's where it shows up a lot.

BD: Yes.

JW: Yeah.

BD: Yes. Part of the appraisal training does have to do with quilt care and the importance of getting that word out. You know, not storing quilts in plastic bags and that sort of thing.

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

BD: I did get a second place, I guess red is second place ribbon, for a Flying Geese variation quilt that I made that was a very scrappy quilt.

JW: Was that at the Maine--

BD: Yes, it was at the Maine Quilt Show.

JW: --Maine Show.

BD: Yeah.

JW: What do you have for tips for beginners? Some advice for beginners?

BD: Beginning quilters?

JW: Yes.

BD: Oh well you just can never have too much fabric [both laugh.] I guess would be one thing. I have to say that in some of the work that I've been doing with the artwork group, my fabric stash has been invaluable to pull fabrics right here. I can't imagine doing those exercises and having to go to a quilt shop and make decisions there about this process of creating the little mini projects, the lessons, I guess. I mean, truly, I mean that. You just can't have too much, but that's quite a light-hearted response to your question, I realize.

JW: But still, each person has his, and it's true. Who of us in the quilting world doesn't want more fabric [laughs,] and for a variety of reasons really? What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today?

BD: I think that choosing [laughs.] patterns or publications or fabrics is a huge challenge today because there is so much available. It's a bit overwhelming for people, I think. When you go to a quilt show, especially a big show where there are vendors with all these gizmos and patterns and samples and fabrics and, you know focusing on what you need versus maybe what you want. [laughs.] I think it's a huge challenge. It's like going into a supermarket and having so many choices that it overwhelms you.

JW: You are involved in quite a few organizations, and I hope I have this correct. You are a member of the Art Quilts Maine, Backroad Quilters, American Quilters Society, American Quilt Study Group, International Association of Professional Quilters, New England Quilt Museum, Maine Pine Tree Quilt Guild and the Professional Association of Appraisers - Quilted Textiles. You must be a busy woman.

BD: I do belong to all of those actually. Busy is the word. I enjoy it. I'm happy to be retired from my day job so that I can do it.

JW: It sounds like a great deal of fun. Well, Bonnie, is there anything else you would like to add to the interview?

BD: I'm working on training up my granddaughters who will be the sixth generation of quilters in my family. That's something I wanted to be sure to fit in.

JW: That's nice. I would like to thank you for allowing me to interview you today as part of the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories project. Our interview concluded at a couple of minutes before 11:00. Thank you very much for having me here today.

BD: Thank you for coming and doing this important work.

Interview concludes.

Collection



Citation

“Bonnie Dwyer,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed February 24, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/2161.