Caryl Bryer Fallert

Photos

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Title

Caryl Bryer Fallert

Description

In an interview recorded at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas, Caryl Bryer Fallert talks about her quilt "Checks and Balances", teaching herself to quilt, and her transition into making art quilts.

Identifier

TX77010-003

Interviewee

Caryl Bryer Fallert

Interviewer

Meg Cox

Interview Date

11/05/2010

Interview sponsor

Meg Cox

Location

Houston, Texas

Transcriber

Sarah Godoshian

Transcription

**This transcript was created by QSOS volunteers and was reviewed and, in some cases, edited by the interviewee. It may not exactly match the audio recording. For citations and interview quotations, please refer to the audio-recorded interview.** Meg Cox (MC): Well this is Meg Cox and today's date is November 5, 2010. It is 9:42AM and I'm conducting an interview for the Quilters' Save Our Stories QSOS Project of The Alliance for American Quilts with Caryl Bryer Fallert. And we are here at International Quilt Festival in Houston. And I'm very excited that you were able to be here today.

Caryl Bryer Fallert (CBF): Well thanks for inviting me.

MC: Okay so first of all you've got this fabulous quilt that you brought--your touchstone quilt that you brought today. So tell me why you picked this quilt.

CBF: Well it's actually the nicest quilt I've made in the past 10 years. And it was my big project for last summer. So I have finished a couple of small simpler kind of quilts since then but it's my largest and most recent big project. So--

MC: And the title of it is?

CBF: The title is "Checks and Balances." One of those terms we all learned in high school civics and are missing these days. [MC and CBF laugh.]

MC: Why did you choose this quilt?

CBF: It's because it's the--it's this recent big project.

MC: And what are the plans for the quilt? What will happen to the quilt after?

CBF: Well it will be in as many shows as I can find to put it in next year. When I finish a big project then I have to look for ways to get exposure for it because I make them for people to see. So it will be hanging in my gallery in Paducah Kentucky until the contest season rolls around and then I'll just have to look for exhibits that have a category that this quilt fits. You know a lot of exhibits don't accept work this large. Or don't accept work that is not intended for a bed. And this obviously was not intended for a bed so we'll see.

MC: Now talk about the design. What were you--these are dancing figures, acrobatic figures--

CBF: Yeah.

MC: What were you--why that?

CBF: Well I have actually been very interested in dance for a really long time. And the quilt that was here at International Quilt Festival last year had dancers--

MC: That won best of show?

CBF: That won best of show. Was actually a sort of self-portrait of me dancing. And since I moved to Paducah 5 years ago I've been taking ballroom dancing lessons and become a dancer and I love every minute of that. And also because I'm no longer traveling I actually traveled full time for 36 years. And I'm not one of those really disciplined people who can get up at 5AM at the Holiday Inn and run 5 miles before I go to work. I'm just not that disciplined. But since I have a regular schedule now I've been doing a combination Yoga and Pilates for the last 4 years and I feel like finally I'm kind of living in my body. So often when you're on the road all the time and you're on schedule and you kind of end up living in your head. And I'm kind of enjoying getting some balance between my physical mental and spiritual self. And so I mean that's a lot of what Yoga is and that's a lot of what's happening in my personal life. So I think you know the images in your art even if you think they are not related to your personal life usually are. [CBF laughs.]

MC: That's so interesting. Can you talk a little bit about the palette that you chose?

CBF: Well I guess I'm sort of known for using the full spectrum rainbow colors. These are a little softer than they have been in many of the quilts that I've made in the past years. I--and I'm not sure why that it. You know my life is different now than it was when I was on the road all of the time. Maybe it's a little less complicated and I just thought that against the dark background the lighter palette of spectral colors would show up more and create contrast. All of the fabrics in the quilt are actually from the line called Gradations that I designed for Benartex for--since 1984 I've been hand dyeing the fabrics for my quilts and hand painting the multicolored fabrics. And I've kind of designed my lines for Benartex to put myself out of the hand dyeing for everybody else's business because I was hand dyeing my fabric for a number of years in order for my students to have what they needed in the classes. So--

MC: So that's commercial fabric then?

CBF: It is commercial fabric but it's based on my original hand dyed fabrics. So I say I only use my own fabrics in my quilts. So that means either they're my one of a kind hand dyed or they
have my name on the selvage. So the part that everyone throws out. [MC laughs.] When you're a movie star you get your name in lights but when you're a textile designer you get your name on the part they cut off and throw in the trash. [CBF laughs.]

MC: Well I wish you'd talk a little bit about the stitching that you did. The quilting on this quilt is just amazing. And could you talk a little bit about how you--you know, design choices?

CBF: Sure. I designed--I got a whole bunch of pictures of people doing Yoga balance poses because it's about balance. And I drew outlines of the figures and then I chose the ones that actually looked good as an outline. There's certain positions that you can get into that don't look that swell when it's just a silhouette. [MC and CBF laugh.] And so that was the big dancers. And I scanned all of those into the computer and started playing with them. I had done something somewhat similar back in 1995 with ballet figures. And they had the black shadow in 1995. But these were not really coming together as overlapping figures as I had in 1995. And so I just started playing with backgrounds and just drawing line and auditioning various things and this check pattern started developing. It's obviously a warped check because all of the lines are curved. And then you know I was thinking, 'Well what relationship do the figures have to the background?' And ordinarily in my designs I avoid like the plague having any kind of tangent edges because they draw your eye off in an unpleasant way. But by creating tangent edges
between the dancers and the edge of the checks in every figure I have that tension kind of spread around the surface and it helped make the figures relate to the background. So I had--I was actually able to scan the fabric into my drawing and see what the whole thing was going to look like. I wanted the dancers to be transparent. It's not about creating photo realistic figures. You know it's about the idea of balance. And so all of the lines of the checks go through the figures. So I actually created the background first knowing what the color scheme was going to be. Which is unusual for me I usually do the focal point first. And then I cut the dancers because they needed to have contrast not only with the part of the check that's behind them but there needed to be contrast along the lines that run through them. And so that's why I waited 'til the end. And the whole time I was facing the quilt I was thinking about how I might quilt the background. And the idea that was just the most compelling although I knew it was going to be the most difficult was to actually have more figures in the quilting in the background. So I'm not sure how many figures. I think there's something like 19--you would have to count them, I'm not good at remembering numbers. Nineteen small figures doing balance poses. And I actually photographed the finished quilt top scanned it back into the computer and designed a composition of the small figures on the computer screen. You know and got their proportions
and arrangement worked out. And then created an acetate and projected that on the quilt top and marked the outline of the small figures. So that's where the quilting started. And then I quilted the larger figures. And I was thinking I wanted to do the kind of quilting you see here. And I was thinking 'Well gosh that's--you know it's not very figure like,' but I didn't really want to make them photo realistic either. And the day before I started quilting the first of the big figures I got two movies from Netflix and both of them were Cirque de Soleil where all of the actors look more like plants or animals than they look like humans. And I just said, 'Sure. Why not? It's a fantasy piece.' So I had a really good time. I just made up the quilting as I went along. I didn't do any marking of that quilting. I just marked the outline of the small figures. And then in order not to lose the small figures in the quilting I did a very small meander stitch. I don't really know exactly where a meander becomes a stipple I'm sure there's someone who could define that for you but it's not me. But it's a very small meander in matching thread which meant I had to change thread colors frequently because the color of the background fabric actually graduates.

MC: Wow.

CBF: So that was about two weeks of very close quilting.

MC: What's almost like--in some places it almost feels like a tattoo kind of feel to it.

CBF: Well I suppose it has that kind of feel also. And we have a lot of tattooed people in our community. [CBF laughs.] So I supposed it could.

MC: Yeah. Dazzling. So to do a little bit of kind of historical piece, although you're a well known figure--lets talk a little bit about that. At what age did you start quilting?

CBF: Oh that's a good question. [CBF laughs.] Lets see I made my very first quilt in 1976 so I would have been I guess 29 years old.

MC: And who taught you? Or were you self-taught?

CBF: I actually was pretty much self-taught initially. In 1974 my husband and I bought a farm in Missouri as a weekend place from a woman who made quilts. And she showed us her closet full of quilts and I was enthralled and went right home and ordered a book on quilting from The Literary Guild. And it was you know, mostly pictures, it wasn't a how-to book. And there was a quilt in there called "Rail Fence" and it looked pretty easy 'cause it was all squares. And so I made a little cardboard template and cut each one you know with scissors. I mean I knew how to sew so all of my seams were 5/8 of an inch. [MC and CBF both laugh.] And not very accurate but that was my first quilt. And I didn't really discover people making art in fabric until about 1982. I was on my third or fourth larger quilt hauling it around in a garment bag in my job as a flight attendant for United Airlines. And I was on a layover in Buffalo New York and I ran out of thread and I went to a little shop half a block from the hotel where I was staying and someone invited me to a quilting lecture. And the lecture was called "Quilting or the Breakfast Dishes" by Jean Ray Laury. [MC laughs.] And it--this was like my epiphany moment of my life. I mean I had never really been to a quilt guild meeting or even into a quilt shop before. And I walked into this room and there were like 300 people in the room and the speaker whom I imagined someone about 100 years old. [MC laughs.] Who certainly would have the breakfast dishes done before she did her quilting was Jean Ray Laury who had a degree in graphic--Masters degree in graphic design from Stanford University and made quilts as fine art to hang on the wall and traveled around the country talking about it. And I wanted the whole package. And 15 years later to the day I was the featured speaker at the same conference in Buffalo New York. [CBF laughs.]

MC: Oh my gosh--

CBF: And the week later Jean Ray Laury was the silver star winner and I got to tell that story at her banquet. [CBF laughs.]

MC: That is incredible. Now were you doing it by hand as was kind of the thing then?

CBF: Well--

MC: Or were you--

CBF: Initially I was sewing them together on the sewing machine and then quilting them by hand. And that's why I could haul it around in a garment bag when I was working. And stitch by hand in my hotel room at night.

MC: So she influenced you not just in seeing that this was a career, that this was a bigger thing. But also as to the kind of quilting that you aspired to do?

CBF: I mean yeah, up to that point if I had an art quilt I didn't recognize what it was. And I had never met anyone who was a fine artist who was making quilts. I mean the whole quilting subculture was very new at that time and I just hadn't been exposed to it. So immediately I started making original art quilts. Although the first couple of those were still sort of bed-sized in case nobody wanted to hang them on the wall. But of course the very first one I designed after I came home from that lecture and made the following winter is now part of the permanent collection of the museum of--The National Quilt Museum in Paducah.

MC: What is your --we talked about where you got started--what is the first memory for you? Did you grow up around quilts?

CBF: Well not handmade quilts. My mother crocheted a bed spread out of pearl cotton. So it wasn't that she didn't like handwork but I think her mother had made quilts out of scraps and it was kind of a poverty craft. And so she could buy blankets, thank you very much. [MC laughs.] And [CBF laughs.] so she did a lot of crocheting and she was very handy. She did a lot of sewing. But she was never interested in making quilts.

MC: A question that we always ask, have you ever used quilting to get you through a difficult time? As if in something like that--

CBF: Sure. It's something that you can do to occupy your mind and--golly I'm sure I've done it time after time. The first thing that comes to mind was I made a quilt in--the winter of two th-- lets see, Winter of 1990. And it was a king sized Storm at Sea quilt. And I quilted one little bit of it and it got accepted into a show. And so I figured I had to finish it before the show opened. So I was actually quilting it a year later in February of 1991 during the time when the first President Bush sent troops into Iraq for the first time. And--for Desert Storm and the quilt ended up being called "Under the Storm." [CBF pauses for 3 seconds and then laughs sadly.] It makes me cry to talk about it. But--gosh being a child of the sixties that was such an emotional time. [CBF cries softly.] I'm sorry. [CBF and MC both laugh.]

MC: You know they say, 'You should always bring Kleenex,' and I thought, 'Well I won't need any Kleenex.' [MC and CBF laugh.] Okay what don't you like about quilting? Are there aspects of it that you think, 'I wish this part was gone'?

CBF: I don't particularly like sewing the binding. But I like every other part of it. I mean I love piecing the tops, I love quilting them. I can't imagine piecing a top and then sending it out to someone else to quilt. I've never really had a collaborator. You know I look at Sue Nickels and Pat Holly and think you know how lovely it would be to have somebody who was that close to you emotionally and mentally that you really could do a true collaboration. Or Claudia Myers and Marilyn Badger are true collaborators. But I see so many people who make absolutely beautiful quilt tops and they send them out and they're beautifully quilted but the quilting and the top don't really go together. It's almost like the piecer and the quilter are competing for attention. And I really like that to be integrated. To me it's a finishing of the art. It's like when I was a
painter, you did a lot of washes and shading of the face, but then you'd take the triple aught brush and you go in and do the little details. And for me that's the quilting and the stitching. It's the details that complete the artwork. So I love it all.

MC: That's great. Well talk a little bit about your technique--your favorite techniques, and how that has evolved.

CBF: Oh gosh well, I started, I suppose, like everyone else making traditional blocks. But I get bored very easily and so I never really did just a straight quilt following a pattern. You know I looked at traditional blocks and you know designed things that had traditional elements in them. But I realized very quickly for two very important reasons that I was not going to be a traditional quiltmaker. First of all I get very bored doing the same thing more than once. And second I'm not profoundly dyslexic but I'm just dyslexic enough that those triangles look the same turned every way of the, you know, compass. And so piecing together triangles was extremely difficult for me. When I did the big storm at sea quilt I literally had to lay the whole thing out on the dining room floor and then go pick up two pieces and hold my fingers on the edge I was going to sew so I didn't end up sewing the wrong edges. [CBF laughs.] So--you know it's not that I don't like traditional patterns, it's just that I'm not very well able to make them. And for me, drawing a full sized drawing with all kind of complex curves is much easier to keep track of. And I guess my aesthetic is just more organic. You know when I was a painter whether I was doing realism or I was doing abstract expressionism, and I did both, they were very organic. I've never done a lot of straight line geometric stuff. So the--well technique-wise so, I've pretty much always sewn my quilts together by machine. I've only had one ever that I pieced by hand. And--oh golly I hand quilted until about 1986. And then I started machine quilting and I never really said that I gave up hand quilting, I just haven't done any recently. But to me it's like doing oil painting and water color. Hand quilting is a different medium and it has its own set of skills and its own vocabulary. And machine quilting does as well. And I tried longarm quilting for a year and found that I would've had to change my style of quilting to fit what the machine could do. And I mean we're seeing absolutely phenomenal work done on a longarm, but it's a completely different set of skills than what we've come to call sit down push through quilting. [MC laughs.] So I'm still a push through girl. And to me it's kind of drawing on both sides of the brain. And I'm kind of a type A person, I'm no good at all at sitting and emptying my brain and doing transcendental meditation, I'm just sitting there thinking of all the stuff I've gotta do. And when I'm quilting I'm as close to that alpha state--or the state of meditation--you know I'm just at one with the quilting and it's flowing and I love it. And so that's how I quilt. It's just my--I'm just drawing with thread and painting with thread. And I also like dyeing fabric. I'm not doing as much of that now as I did before I started designing for Benartex 'cause now I can take one of my hand dyed fabrics and they'll interpret it in 25 different colors and I have that fabric to work from, but I do really like the dyeing and painting of the fabric also.

MC: Talk about your studio and how you're set up physically and also how many hours do you quilt?

CBF: Well 5 years ago I moved from northern Illinois where I lived on a 5 acre farm. And I had built a thousand square foot studio across the driveway from the house. And I had fantasies for years where people could come and take my workshops right in my own studio--and I even tried that a couple of times in my studio in Chicago. [Illinois.] And with a thousand square feet it meant that I had to move all of my stuff in order to accommodate students and I was kind of out on the fringes of suburbia, it's not that easy to get to. And in 2004 I discovered that Paducah--
where I was going every year to teach--was developing an artist relocation district. It was the city's solution to rescuing the historic district of Paducah from the slum lords. And they had a national advertising campaign and offered the derelict properties to artists from all over the country. And as an artist I was wanting to be more part of a community and my husband was wanting to live way out in the country. And we had a farm six and a half hours from where we lived in Chicago, but that was a long drive. And so we went down to Paducah for the 4th of July weekend to just kind of look around and he found exactly the farm he wanted 45 minutes from downtown Paducah and I really liked the arts district and it's immediately adjacent from where the big quilt show was held. And the property that I finally picked is three blocks from the National Quilt Museum. So as a fine artist and a person realizing that it's important to be part of a community as we age, the community satisfied me. There's also culture there--we have an independent film theatre, a performing arts center, our own symphony orchestra, art gallery, so it has culture. And as a business person it made a lot of sense for me to be adjacent to the quilt show and The National Quilt Museum. So part of the program was that--the intention was for artists to live and work and do business all under one roof. So I ended up spending about six months watching myself go through my work day, packing up for my teaching trips, teaching, thinking about classroom arrangement, thinking about how traffic would flow through my building and what I wanted, and I designed an 8,000 square foot building that houses my shop, my shipping department, my state of the art classroom, guest suites, my sewing studio, my dye studio, my home all under one roof.

MC: Wow. So what is your typical day like? Do you quilt every day? I mean to do this level of machine quilting are you--you can't just sort of take a couple weeks off.

CBF: I don't quilt everyday because I'm supporting myself. My husband died a year and a half after we moved to Paducah and the--I'm it. [CBF laughs.] And I have this big building and I have to pay the electric bill at the end of every month, so I spend a lot of time being a business person. So, I suppose I spend about a quarter of my time actually doing a creative work and probably three quarters of my time either doing business or writing patterns or designing new classes or something that will generate income. I do sell my work, but it's always unclear when the income for that is going to come in and so I have to do things that provide sort of a regular cash flow, like running a business.

MC: That was--it's all gotta be balanced. "Checks and Balances"! [MC laughs.]

CBF: Exactly. Well I'm trying to balance it so I spend more time at the fun end of my studio and less time in front of the computer. So we'll see.

MC: Talk a little about the aesthetics of the craft art today. What do you think makes a great quilt?

CBF: Well I suppose the same thing that makes a great piece of art in any medium. And well gosh, you know I'm not certainly the arbiter of good taste, and everybody's aesthetics are different, but I like to see things that have--a focal point and some clues to how to look at it and move your eye around, and good contrast at the focal point. And I love beautiful colors but I also work in black and white sometimes. And sometimes those pieces are the most striking. So color is certainly not a requirement. I like to see personally a good mix of really good design and interesting subject matter is always nice. Quilts with a good story are terrific, but a good story without aesthetics leaves me considerably less interested. And then also good craftsmanship--and to me that doesn't mean a thousand stitches per inch, or you know that every inch has to be stitched. To me it means that you're not conscious of the difficulty the artist had getting it together while you're looking at it. It that's distracting then to me that's poor craftsmanship, you know? I don't think that bad painting technique on top of bad sewing technique necessarily makes you more artistic. [CBF laughs.]

MC: I remember hearing you in your class talk about tediosity. [CBF and MC both laugh.]

CBF: Yeah, my--one of my favorite class things to say is, 'You don't get additional gold stars for additional tediosity unless you get an incremental increase in visual impact.' But you know I think a great piece of art needs to have all of it and if you go to the great museums of the world most of the pieces do.

MC: Well that was my--sort of my next question. What are the artists that inspire you? Whether they're making quilts or making any other--

CBF: Well I'm you know--again I'm drawn to things that are organic, but on the other hand, boy at least every couple months when I'm talking to people often who had never seen an art quilt before--and you know part of our responsibility as artists working in a medium that is often associated with craft is that we have to educate our audience. And I was one of those lucky people who got to see the real Op Art show at the National Gallery in 1970 and I never recovered. [MC and CBF both laugh.] And so I think there's a lot of that in my work. And a lot of that was very geometric but there was a lot of gradation in that and if you go back and look at that--I mean that just absolutely became like elevator music in the popular culture. I mean you start seeing these Fibonacci sequences and you know the dots that you know go in and out and the Escher-like confusion of foreground and background everywhere. In advertising and painted on the sides of trucks and so you know I look at all of that and it's hard to know exactly sometimes exactly what influenced any one piece. I call it my unconscious visual vocabulary. I've traveled all over the world my entire adult life. I've seen lots of things and all of that kind of sinks in and a lot of times you create an abstract design and don't realize 'til much later what might've inspired it.

MC: I think it's interesting that you've done--you have done different techniques. I mean it's-- I'm very drawn to your photo quilts. Can you talk a little bit about that as a means of expression? And how you--

CBF: Well in all my travels of course I've done a lot of photography. And so for many years I was just aching to put photographs on fabric, but what I saw initially was this plastic coated paper melted into the fabric. And it just didn't appeal to me because it was a crackly surface and it changed the hand of the fabric. And eventually some chemicals were developed around 1999 that actually made the inkjet ink that we have at home on all of our printers permanent on fabric. And so I immediately started experimenting with that and eventually ended up writing a book on the subject. But I've had a really good time with it. And I actually made a traditional quilt early on because I started selling the photo printing products and I had to develop a quilt where everybody really understood that these were pictures. 'Cause what I want to do as an artist is take a picture and torque it to the point where what it is, is ambiguous and just create my own fabric. And--but as a business person I needed to create something that was clearly photographs on fabric, but a little bit beyond just a bunch of relatives plopped in the center of a log cabin block--not that there's anything wrong with that. But you can do other stuff that's maybe a little more interesting. So when I got back from my 7 weeks in South Africa 10 years ago, I made a 6 pointed star quilt. It looks absolutely traditional from 10 feet away, but when you get up close it's my best photographs from all over South Africa.

MC: I love that quilt. Why is quiltmaking important to you?

CBF: Well making art is important to my life and I don't know what makes you an artist, but I think you're just born that way. I mean some--everyone is born with a certain set of gifts and if we're lucky we discover what they are. And if we're even luckier we can find a way to make a living doing what we love and what we're most gifted at. And I guess I've been one of those extremely fortunate people. And I've also made choices that supported that goal. But I--you know people you know ask me all the time, 'Well, you know, how did you come up with all of these ideas?' and my stock answer is, 'I was born that way.' You know I--I you know when you're driving along the road, or you know when I was a flight attendant for United Airlines, I often had hours sitting on the jump seat waiting to taxi out at O'Hare Airport. And it--you know my head would be--I'd be designing quilts in my head. And to me quilting is my art. I painted and dabbled in other sorts of mediums for a lot of years, but once I started making quilts that was it. There's just about nothing that you can't do and make it into a quilt. When you start doing something else to a canvas, it becomes multimedia or collage, but you can do practically anything to 3 layers of fabric and it's still a quilt.

MC: What do you think is the importance of quilts in American life today?

CBF: [CBF pauses for 4 seconds.] Well, there are a lot of things that are important. I mean as a business person, economically it's a big market. Much bigger than most people would realize-- you know, what did they just say at Quilt Festival? A 3.8 billion dollar industry that has 21 million participants just in the United States. So it's a nice business to be in because the people are really nice. I mean I worked for the airline for 28 years, I've met every human being on the planet at least once and quilters are nicer than regular people. [MC and CBF both laugh.] So it's a really fun business to be in. And then--well gosh you know there's a lot of history of women coming together as in community and quilting because women used to come together and sit around the quilting frame and quilt together. And you know--gosh, the men probably thought that was safe and then Susan B. Anthony went to a quilting bee and [MC and CBF both laugh.] started causing trouble and isn't that great? And another thing that I noticed and actually perhaps more 10 years ago than I'm noticing now, but it's still very much continuing these days, I used to enter a lot of national multimedia art shows and national fiber art shows--you know any place that would hang my work when I had a large body of work before it all started selling-- I would send it and because I had travel privileges I usually went to the openings and it was very interesting to me, for many years I was finding that the national multimedia art shows were not only easier to get into--but maybe because the work wasn't as good--and shows like Visions and Quilt National were very, very selective. And the art in those shows--in my opinion--was actually better aesthetically than a lot of the art that was being shown in the national multimedia art shows. And so in that time period--at least I felt that the sort of leading edge was in fiber art. And I don't know if we've lost that edge, I mean there are still people like Hollis Chatelain and many others who are doing art that you know makes you think about current issues, but I'm not seeing quite as much of that as I did maybe 10 years ago--or maybe I'm just going to different shows now. But one of the things I love about that kind of art done in the quilt medium is that people expect warm fuzzies when they come to a quilt show. And very often people who would never go to an art show at a museum or a gallery will come to a quilt show, expecting warm fuzzy stuff. And so the message kind of flies under the radar and hits them in the heart before they know what's hit them. And I think that's really cool. A lot of times a quilt will deliver a message in a way that a painting perhaps could not.

MC: That's great. Just a couple more questions; looking forward for yourself, what are some goals--what kind of place are you headed?

CBF: Well I think--you know, I was in transition for a number of years, and this past summer when I made this quilt I felt like the muse had finally returned to my studio. And so my goal for myself in the immediate future it to reverse the number of hours I'm spending actually doing the art and the business and find more time to actually make the artwork. And then[pause for 3 seconds.] I don't know. I don't have a lot of long term, 'In 5 years I wanna be here', I find that if you sort of keep a positive intention and the intention of wonderful, exciting things are going to happen and I don't know exactly what they are, you know they happen out of the blue, but if you keep yourself out in the blue you're more likely to find them. [MC laughs.] And so I'm kind of keeping open to possibilities. I'm not locking in my schedule two to three years in advance as I did for a number of years. And so--who knows, I could take off and go somewhere really exciting sometime soon, or make another really exciting creative journey in my studio.

MC: Okay to wind up; what do you think is the biggest challenge that is confronting quiltmakers today?

CBF: Boy that's a really good question. And I'm not sure [CBF laughs.] I have an immediate answer for that. I--a lot of quilters are professional women with very busy lives. And it's like the quilt, "Checks and Balances," it's difficult to find balance in your life, and all of my neighbors are struggling with the same issues in Paducah because we're not only artists but all of us are also entrepreneurs. And there are a number of quilt artists who are supported by spouses who are professional people, but there are also a lot of us who are supporting ourselves. And I supposed the challenge between keeping balance between business and art is--certainly the biggest challenge for me and I think for a lot of other quilt artists.

MC: Great. Fantastic. Thank you so much Caryl for allowing me to interview you for The Q.S.O.S. Quilters' Save our Stories Project of the Alliance for American Quilts. And our interview concluded at, 10:25AM on November 5, 2010. Thank you so much.

CBF: Thank you.

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Citation

“Caryl Bryer Fallert,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed June 14, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/2241.