Bette Uscott-Woolsey

Photos

AQATS19119-018_a.jpg
AQATS19119-018_b.jpg

Title

Bette Uscott-Woolsey

Description

Bette Uscott-Woolsey discusses her unique technique for creating art by combining both fabric and acrylic paint. She talks about some of the artists she admires and other art that inspires her own art. She discusses how she balances creating art and working her day job, her background and education in art, her family's interest in art and quilting, and her favorite and least favorite aspects of creating her unique art form. Uscott-Woolsey talks about people not appreciating her unique blend of fabric and paint in her art and how she is not truly accepted by either the fine art world or the quilt world.

Identifier

2019oh0260_qsosart0018
AQATS19119-018

Subject

Arts and crafts.
Quilting.
Quilts in art
Quilts.
Quilts--Design.
Families.

Interviewee

Bette Uscott-Woolsey

Interviewer

Amy Tetlow Smith

Interview Date

2004-04-03

Interview sponsor

Le Rowell

Location

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Transcription

Amy Tetlow Smith (AS): This is Amy Tetlow Smith and we are in the Mt. Airy section in Philadelphia at Sedgwick for the Art Quilts at the Sedgwick Annual Quilt Show. It is April 3, 2004 and I'm here to interview Bette Uscott-Woolsey from ala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. And it is 5 after 1:00 in the afternoon. Bette, can you first tell us about the quilt that you have here today?

Bette Uscott-Woolsey (BW): Well, what I have here is one of the series of fourteen pieces that I've been working on. I came upon the idea- first of all, I'm a painter and I'm interested in quilting. I'm interesting in fiber and fabric and so what I started to do was paint, lengths of silk and I sewed them together in very traditional length strips. Strips and blocks. What I made an attempt to do was to answer the question, 'how do I get that, the quilting, the traditional notion of quilting out of this fabric and then put it back together again.' What I ended up doing with these blocks of sewn cloth strips was slashing them at an angle, resew the pieces again adding acrylic paint to them, slashing them again, reforming them again. I lost the look of the quilt block/pieces of fabric. And I also eliminated symmetry in the actual pieces. When I got these reformed pieces they were all sewn together, slashed, sewn together, slashed again, and I didn't finish the edges, they looked almost like origami. I had long uneven strips. I didn't measure anything to match. I allowed the inequalities of the sizes of things to kind of do what they will, so to speak. I took a large slab of silk and started laying down these reformed strips into a design. And then I started adding behind and in front of them, plain pieces of color, strips which are long triangles. Some of them are even just bindings or whatever dark fabric I had. And I fused all the fabrics down and then I started putting down little bits of little bits of color, kind of like confetti. These are little ends and pieces. And I glued those down and at the very, very end, I put it on a frame and I added linear elements by hand. You see all of this barbershop type of embroidery that forms more of a surface interest, at least to me. The embroidery also pulls the shapes together. And so there's both the painting of the fabric, there's the piecing of the fabric, there's the cutting and reassembling, which take up a long time, then the putting together (the design and fusing) which happens quickly. And then there's this long process of stitching it and kind of realigning it through line. So that's, that's what I've done.

AS: Okay.

BW: Does that make sense to you?

AS: Yes, it does.

BW: Okay.

AS: It does make sense.

BW: Nice.

AS: Now this you, this quilt is here today because it's hanging in the exhibit but does this quilt itself out of the fourteen of this set have any particular special meaning for you?

BW: Only in that it's the first of the group where I really started to work with very, very thin linear elements and there's a more of an architectural sense to it. So there's both this kind of very thin line and there are these tapered lines and then are these big blocks of color but other than that, no. Except that I don't work with a preconceived color palette and I basically kind of take what comes, as you can see, I don't mind if things are very bright. The yellow background is a somewhat aggressive color [laughs.] which is fine with me. And again the use of color is a very non-quilted use of color so while I'm very interested and I love traditional quilts, my interest is not particularly to replicate them in any way.

AS: A traditionally is made and mounted as, almost as a painting.

BW: That's correct.

AS: Do you do that with all the quilts that you--

BW: I prefer to do it.

AS: In this set?

BW: I will back them as quilts but clearly I'm not interested in machine quilting, I'm more interested in the surface of the image and would just as soon have them bought as paintings.

AS: As paintings?

BW: Yeah.

AS: Okay, so the sense of it, the quilt itself is not, that's not really--

BW: Well, first of all the size, I mean, for me quilts should be on a bed. So, once you take them off the bed, my feeling is that the way they're backed is irrelevant.

AS: So do you not really consider this a quilt then?

BW: I used--

AS: It's on a wall.

BW: I used quilted techniques, I mean, I used quilted piecing techniques, but as you can see, its not bound as a quilt, its not, there are many other examples in this show that are much more structured in that tradition and mine is--

AS: There isn't a back and a filler and a front--

BW: There's no batting. There's no reason for it to be puffy or stuffed.

AS: [inaudible.]

BW: There's no reason for it even if it were small. I mean at this size I don't see that the reason for batting exists. As I said, you know, put it on the bed--

AS: Getting a texture makeup--

BW: Well, if you want to give it a sense of depth, that's true. The batting would do that, but I'm not interested in that.

AS: Okay. How long have you been doing this type of surface art?

BW: A really long time, but in different forms. For many years I was embroidering and literally hand stitching, painting and hand stitching. And I have a fairly long resume. I got a Leeway Grant which was based on the stitching which was called Knotted, Stitched, and Woven. There were several quilters in the show. There was a Vietnamese woman and Emily Richardson was in the show, and there was the tapestry person in the show. I started getting tendonitis and I needed to figure out a way to work bigger. And this was a way in which I could start working bigger and kind of in a sense relieve my hand stress. And also, it also what it did was kind of give me an opportunity to get out of that very, very small detailed embroidered stitch. You know, that's a real head trip. [laughs.] Small detailed work is slow and meditative but gets into your head in weird ways.

AS: So is this now typical of the size you work at or do you ever work larger than--

BW: Yes. I'm going much larger. I have a piece on my wall that must be 60 by 90 and I've started working with taffeta and I found all of these jacquards, these very shiny, shiny jacquards and so I'm starting to work more with already prepared fabrics rather than painting the silk--

AS: And here you're using these yourself?

BW: That's right. The pattern is on the fabric and then I paint on that pattern and then applying ribbons and things like that so I'm doing less hand stitching and actually more machine stitching. But again, I'm not using batting.

AS: Right, right. But now, you talked about at some point the agent said having this up on the wall that it sounded like when you were constructing this are you working on a horizontal surface?

BW: No. No.

AS: A horizontal surface to put pieces together?

BW: No. Well, when I'm putting the image together I'm working on the wall when I'm putting the stitching on; I have a kind of a big embroidery hoop. It's just like a large frame and so I do the hand embroidery horizontally I do all the other things vertically except for you know, piecing. And when I'm using dyes it is done horizontally because they drip. [laughs.]

AS: So they, the barber shop pull strings here. Now are they sewn down or are they glued down?

BW: Well if you come over here and you look, you'll see that there's a piece of dark thread that's basically stitched here and the next stitch is here. It's stitched through all the fabric by hand.

AS: Oh, right.

BW: And the next stitch is here and the next stitch is here. So first I put in the directions. Then I take another piece and I start looping it through.

AS: Oh. Okay, okay.

BW: Yes, so, first I get the direction of where the loop line is going to go and then I embellish the line.

AS: Right okay. So you, when you construct a piece like this, sometimes you're working vertically and sometimes you're working horizontally.

BW: Right, and again, I don't really have, I don't work from a drawing. I just let 'er rip.

AS: Is this how you painted? Or did you paint before you did this?

BW: Yes, I don't work from anything pre-planned. Actually, I did some needlepoint. I did some very large needlepoint rugs which were in shows which I did work from drawings early on. I'm interested in ornament and these things which I did 20 years ago were, I was trying to find something very ornamental to do, so I started working with butterflies because they were just the fanciest thing I could think of.

AS: Right.

BW: And I started putting butterflies in wallpaper patterns so you'd have a lot of William Morris leaf type patterns with all these butterflies and then I started deconstructing the image. I started making them much less realistic and so you wouldn't know they were butterflies. Those I did from drawings. Other than that, no, I just started the quilts without knowing what will happen--

AS: So where did your inspiration come from?

BW: I thought the Whitney Museum Gee's Bend quilt show was the best show I've seen in 20 years. I think these women had an intuition and they just wanted to get these things on the bed fast. So their stitching was fast and impulsive, the shapes they just happened where they were. They used the fabric where they could; they really nailed the designs on the head. I also loved the Lucas Samaras quilts in the '70s. He's a painter, a well-known fine artist and I got really excited about his work. But I've always looked at abstract expressionist painters. I mean that's what I grew up with. For instance, Joan Mitchell is one of my very favorites.

AS: So you looked at painters?

BW: I looked at painters for inspiration but also I really--I love ornament. I love to look at kimonos. I love to look at beautiful Japanese embroidered things. I love wallpaper. I have books and books and books of textiles, just patterns. So I'm just trying to make my own rhythm, my own pattern. A lot of people think my work is very dance-like. I like to put a lot of energy into the work; a lot of people think it's very jazz-like. I mean, you start out with a theme and then you just go. When I use this yellow, I made a choice, okay. I made a choice with this kind of bilious yellow-chartreuse-y kind of color and then I just continued.

AS: Are there other painters or artists in your family?

BW: My husband has an M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. He's a landscape painter.

AS: Do you have formal art training?

BW: I was an art major in college and I have a Master's in Art Ed. [inaudible.]

AS: Stopped you from doing extensively, I assume?

BW: Well, I stopped teaching really fast.

AS: I understand. [laughs.]

BW: [laughs.]

AS: Were there any quilt makers in your family?

BW: No. Oh, my mother-in-law. My husband is from Wisconsin and his mother was raised in Kansas and she's still alive but very diminished. But in her prime, she was a seamstress, needle-pointer, knitter, she could do all of the home arts in a very traditional way. She taught me a ton. She taught me a lot. She taught me a lot about the machine finishing which she was always better than I was. She taught me a lot about valuing the skills involved in just doing good quality work.

AS: I remember my mother doing that.

BW: Yes and so for many, many years, the two of us--we didn't live near each other, which was a real shame, but we always did things together like go to fabric shops and, you know, and projects--she showed me how to make a pattern. She was great but from a very salt-of-the-earth kind of background.

AS: So you had the traditional--

BW: She was really--

AS: The traditional needle skills from her and then your art training?

BW: That's right.

AS: I'm putting those two together.

BW: Right, right. No, I have a lot of respect for the Gee's Bend women and I went to Baltimore and saw all these Baltimore Album quilts. [inaudible.]

AS: The work which is there is pretty amazing?

BW: Yeah, I mean, and I know I can't replicate that, so I'm not trying to. I don't feel that too many people can replicate them. And so I think people have to go, unless they're going to do a lot of homework and a lot of practice, they have to go in a different directions and that's what I did. [laughs.]

AS: So what do you do with most of your quilts that you make?

BW: Well, I've sold a few, they go into shows and then they just stack up.

AS: They stack up? What would you like to see their future be?

BW: I'd like to show them. I'd like to show them at galleries. I'd like to see them being hung on the wall. Sure. I want them to be looked at. I mean if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a noise?

AS: Then stacked against a wall in a studio or stacked against a wall in view.

BW: Right, right. You know, I try and get out there best I can. I'm not a very good marketer. I'm not a very good self-promoter. It's been not easy for me.

AS: Now, have you passed along any of your skills to anyone else?

BW: To anybody else? Well, I have a new daughter-in-law who's very appreciative. I have many painter friends who I've had a lot of trouble convincing the value of what I do but they, they're coming around, but reluctantly so. Most artists feel if it's not paint on canvas, it's not a fine art and they have a point. And I know that I put myself in a very tough spot by working with fabric. I know that I've done that, but fabric is luscious. I love it.

AS: You're interest isn't in re-training them?

BW: Well--

AS: Getting them to appreciate your art?

BW: Oh sure, oh sure. Of course, I'd like there to be more acceptance, but I can understand that people are conservative.

AS: So you chose fabric as a contrast to painting or as something, or were you brought to it?

BW: I like the working with my hands. I like the feel. I like the stitch.

AS: A painting is vertical. [inaudible.]

BW: Yeah, also when I started doing this, when I started working, I had little kids. I couldn't run a painting studio. I just couldn't do it. So I was doing all these other needle-type of arts that you could just fold up, you could put it in the car, you could just take it with you, you could run after your kid, you could put it on the sidewalk. You could just step all over it, it didn't matter and I think there probably are a lot of other artists that probably have that same issue here. You know, but then when I got into it, I said, 'Well, why paint? This is so much better.'

AS: Had you always wanted to be an artist?

BW: I always loved the arts. Actually, I'd love to have been a dancer but I don't have the body for it. Maybe that's why I try and put that kind of pace, that's probably why I put the motion in the piece. I just love modern dance. Have I always wanted to be an artist? It's the only thing I was any good at.

AS: So this is a reasonable pathway from where you started?

BW: It was reasonable and also I went to college in the 60s and nobody kind of talked to me about anything else. [laughs.]

AS: It was okay to be an art student in the 60's then--

BW: Oh sure. It was okay to do pretty much anything because nobody had to go and get a job as they do now.

AS: There wasn't somebody telling you don't ever get a job?

BW: People could work in part-time jobs and be fine then. So no, I was not on a tenure track type of person--

AS: Pressure to get a money-making job?

BW: No, and boy was it a shock to get out of college. Well, it was a shock to get out of college because I truly did not know how to make money. And that's why I did get a master's in education and soon I knew I couldn't do it. I don't like teaching. I basically didn't like junior high school kids. [laughs.]

AS: Oh yes.

BW: I realized, lets put it this way, I realized that there were enough kids that I truly didn't like, that I shouldn't be in the room. There were a lot of kids I did like, but there were enough that I didn't. I said, 'you shouldn't be here.'

AS: It sounds like a good decision to me.

BW: Right.

AS: Have you ever considered opening your own studio to teach people your skills?

BW: I thought about it recently and then I realized I don't have many skills. I mean, I'm not a great machine quilter. The only thing I could really teach anybody is about painting and color and design--

AS: What about hand sewing?

BW: No, I don't do anything extraordinary. I don't do Shibori. I don't do any real manipulation of the fabric. I mean, I just take a bunch of paints and paint them. I think that if I were to teach, it would probably be more as a designer or just basically art foundation type of teacher. I mean, I think that there are a lot of art quilt makers that need more training.

AS: More training in the fine arts aspects of it?

BW: Absolutely.

AS: So if you knew someone who was interested or if somebody came to you interested in being able to do the kind of art quilts, what sorts of training would you recommend they start with?

BW: I would probably give them a lot of colors of paper. And I'd probably have them work out designs just as collage paper. And I wouldn't have them work with the techniques of fabric. I think it's irrelevant.

AS: The color and design would come first?

BW: And technique, and see a lot of people get so fast and furious into the technique, they forget about the image. I'm much more interested in the image and the technique would just follow. And so I kind of work 'stupid.' And what I mean by stupid is that I haven't taken training in discharge or Shibori or how to put computer images onto fabric and stuff like that. I think that there are good techniques, but they're tricks. They're a means to an end. They're tools. But that won't get you anywhere unless you have a point of view and that's what I would probably teach.

AS: Okay. How much time do you spend a day or during the week working your art?

BW: I try to spend from 7:30 to 10:30 at night every week day and on weekends at least 4-10 hours during the weekends.

AS: So it sounds like evenings. Do you have a regular job you do during the week?

BW: My husband and I run a business that does scientific illustration and graphics. Well, we have to make a living.

AS: So do you consider this your secondary job?

BW: No.

AS: Or is this the primary one that the other just finances?

BW: Well, yeah. It's the only thing that gives me sustenance, the other is just work. It's just work. Although, it's all computer, it's all, it's actually, what's interesting is that all we do is digital work. So I'm not particularly impressed by the digitized-fiber scene. I think it's pretty primitive. I just know what commercial multi-media people can do and it's way, way beyond what's going on in the quilt world. And again, I want to keep it separate that is, the art and the computer work.

AS: This is where your heart is?

BW: Yeah. I'm much more of a traditionalist actually. I'm pretty traditional. As I said, a good Baltimore Album quilt makes my day. We went to the Met and we saw the Chuck Close print exhibit, and those are very fabulous. So I can get very excited about contemporary art as well as traditional decorative work--

AS: But you know you don't have to reproduce it anymore than you feel--

BW: They're better than I am, the traditional quilters, technically.

AS: --more albums?

BW: They're there because they're the best. So I have to find something else to do.

AS: A little avoidance?

BW: No, I don't think its avoidance. I think it's a recognition of the great work that's been done. That's all.

AS: So what parts, when you start to work on a piece or decide you're going to work on a piece, what parts from beginning to end are your favorite parts of putting together a work of art like this?

BW: The favorite part is the really fast part where I've gotten all of the pieces stitched, pieced together and they've all got their fusible backing. I iron it, I fuse it on. I've spent all this time painting and stitching and cutting and letting it dry and stuff. And then I've got all these pieces and then it's almost like abstract painting. I'm just putting up these big strips and putting them on and kind of piecing them on and in two days or maybe in 6 hours I have a huge piece all laid out. And I love it. And I iron it.

AS: So you go from--

BW: It's very, very active.

AS: Once you have your, kind of your paints ready, your pieces ready--

BW: That's right, and it can go months in preparation.

AS: You go from a black canvas to something there very quickly.

BW: That's right, that's right. And it can take months and months and months to get all of the pieces together and then I have enough pieces to make 10 or 15 pieces of art.

AS: Right.

BW: But they have to be assembled and the assembly is very tedious. But the actual putting it up there is a lot of fun.

AS: That's the exciting part.

BW: Yes, it's a lot of fun.

AS: So is it that tedious getting the pieces ready the part you like the least?

BW: It's necessary. You just go into that mode, you know, you say, well, for 3 months, I need some red colors and some green colors and some dark colors and some light colors and then you put them together . I've stopped painting fabric and I've started to use commercial fabric so it's, 'let's go down to the store and what they have.' And again, there's an arbitrary-ness that I'm very accepting of. If all I can find is green polka dotted, you know, jacquard fabric, well that's it. That's what we'll use - that's what I'm going to use. And if the Chinese brocade is in orange, fine.

AS: That's what it's in.

BW: Yeah and then it's my job to make sense out of it. It's my job to kind of put into some kind of coherent image. But by using the commercial fabrics, I'm limiting the palette.

AS: Right.

BW: Because they're (the fabric designers) making the choices. They're making those choices.

AS: Where do you do your fabric hunting?

BW: Both on 4th Street in Philly and then there's a wonderful store - Joe Mar, have you ever been to Joe Mar's? Joe Mar's is wild it's on I Street in North Philadelphia. It's on the second floor. They sell netting and they sell all this glitter stuff and they sell silks and they sell upholstery fabric but it's a wild, wild place. And then there are a couple places in New York although it's harder to find fabric now. It's easier to find quilters cotton than it is to just find regular fabric.

AS: Right. There are lots of places on the web you can get, lots of quilting--

BW: But you see, pre-designed quilting fabric, I don't like. For instance, Lonni Rossi prints a beautiful, beautiful line of fabric. They're beautiful. I'm totally not interested in using it in my work because she's done the thinking.

AS: Using her version?

BW: She made the artistic decisions. I want the control. So I don't use her line of fabric, although I love her fabrics. I could see making, for instance, placemats out of her fabrics but I would never use them in my work because I have to be in control. Now, that's different than getting a third party whose making a Chinese jacquard that's totally, it's not a quilting fabric so I'm taking it out of it's that is how I'm controlling it. They haven't made, they haven't pre-purposed the fabric for me. I'm purposing the fabric for me. And that's the difference. Otherwise, I mean, the one fabrics are terrific, there are all sorts of wonderful sources for quilt art quilt fabrics but then all you are is a like a little machine put it together and, you know, I don't like that.

AS: Do you think that your particular artwork somehow reflects this region?

BW: No.

AS: This part of the country.

BW: No. Actually, I really feel like a fish out of water. I think that there's a real cohesion. Many of the other quilts, I think fit on the page more than mine. I think mine is coming from--I mean, if you just take a look at that wall, mine is coming from a real different place.

AS: Are there other parts of the world that this might be more consistent with?

BW: A painting world.

AS: A painting world?

BW: Yeah I think so. Maybe painters won't acknowledge that but yes. It's much more similar to paint--

AS: Is that a situation that you think has improved any in the last couple of decades?

BW: No.

AS: The acceptance?

BW: No. Not at all. Except I think that the Gee's Bend show really woke people up. And I have the book at home and I've shown this book to a lot of painters who've said, 'I never knew about this.' So, yes. I think that, but again, that's a lot of indigenous stuff and that also has a kind of folk issue about it. They never did it as fine art. It was kind of whisked out of their world and into the fine art world and given a seal of approval, which it richly deserves. I don't think they knew anything about it while they were doing this stuff. You know, I'm must more tuned into what other people are doing, but no, I feel like a fish out of water pretty much. My work is not as quilted as everybody else's, you know, and the reason I go into quilt shows is they have been very nice to me.

AS: They'll accept the fabric.

BW: The quilt world has been very nice to me, yes. And the art world has not been as nice to me.

AS: In general the quilt world is more accepting of differences?

BW: Yeah, it's kind of a, it's evolving in a different way. I think that, yeah. I also have to strategize. I also have to kind of do some thinking about, you know, how, where I'm going to go from here.

AS: Do you think--

BW: Just because that lack of acceptance is really tough.

AS: That lack of acceptance, the painting traditional art world versus the fabric art world. Do you think that there is a gender bias there as well? Do you think that the painting world--

BW: I think the bias comes from women and men, I don't know how much is tied up with commerce and with past precedence of what will sell, I have no idea. And I think that the process, the process in the stitching--I think more people are doing that now. I hope so, but you know, at least in my generation, I'm 57 years old, so in my generation you're not going to get a whole lot of believers.

AS: Okay.

BW: Could be, there are a lot of younger people but then they're using, they're stitching with metal or monofilament or, I don't know. Go down to Snyderman Gallery, you can barely see any fabric, I mean, half of its metal or non-traditional materials.

AS: And one of the important things, it seems to you, is the fabric and the fiber.

BW: Absolutely. I'm very tradition bound.

AS: The acrylic paint.

BW: Yeah.

AS: That's probably the most out of the ordinary element here or non-textile.

BW: That's right. That's a non-textile. But right. I like to stitch. I really like it.

AS: So the--

BW: I like putting the needle in, taking the needle out. I really like that.

AS: I've heard that before.

BW: That really means a lot to me.

AS: How would you like to see, I think we've already, we've actually already talked about this a little, fiber art work preserved or maintained or how it's position expand?

BW: I don't know. I'd like it. I like the word fiber taken out. You know, materials, I don't get it. There are lots of sculptors that work in paste and plastic and g-d only knows. There was a wonderful show at the ICA of Polly Applebaum who did all these floor, beautiful floor sculptures out of velvets that she had painted and velveteens. Somebody like Polly Applebaum took fabric off the wall and again, decontexturalized the materials and so the concept was more important than the materials. I think that people are going to be put in this box because they're working within a box.

AS: This is a fabric ripped taut can go on the wall? Do you ever work in shapes other than a flat model? To break out of that?

BW: Yeah. Not at this size. And I haven't figured out, you know, there are a lot of people who are doing drawings that are kind of tumbling off the wall and onto the floor. I've seen all sorts of really interesting work, but that doesn't mean people aren't still doing beautiful brush drawings or sculptures that are just of alabaster. There are still millions of ways to skin the cat. If I have, I think that there is the issue of level. Artists have to get to an artistic level where the material is going to take care of itself. The Gee's Bend women have such a high artistic level in spite of whether they knew it or not. Their level was so high that it didn't matter that it was fiber.

AS: So you have that sort of pathetic substance level in the art world?

BW: I think so. I think people have to just think that you do good work. But for instance, Nancy Crow, I think, has done that. And Nancy Crow does make beautiful, traditionally based, hand quilted pieces which are very, so strongly designed, and so well controlled. She's terrific. And she works in a very traditional medium and I think she's as good as anybody out there. You know, painter or not. Okay? So it's really the artistic intent that I think is really going to bring people in or out.

AS: As that becomes stronger, they'll be accepted into the art world more?

BW: I think so, but well, I also think that everybody's really into presentation. How you box it, how you package it. I think there's a big package with that and I think that's the way of the world. Everything is in a box. Everything is marketed. Everything is, kind of, focus grouped and I think art is getting that way as well.

AS: So is it all starting to look alike then? This grouping?

BW: I think a lot of it looks alike, but I think more and more 'high end craft art,' whatever you would call it, is so highly precious and beautifully finished but I think it's narcissistic and I don't think it has much content. It's all in the finish.

AS: Right.

BW: So there's a problem there. People are very impressed with finish. The buyers are very impressed with finish. And so roughness (my work is a little rough) and my work is a little, you know, technically it may not be as accomplished as other pieces and that's a problem for me.

AS: Is that something that you would do intentionally? Or--

BW: It's just how it looks. Kind of how it looks and yeah, I kind of do, do it intentionally, yeah.

AS: Are there any important issues having to do with your art or with quilt making that we haven't talked about that you'd like to bring up?

BW: Well, I can't think of it, you know, I love what I'm doing. I'm really happy that shows like this exist. I'm happy they're taking me. I don't know whether I really fit, but that's fine. And, you know, I don't necessarily feel comfortable in the quilt world, but that's ok too.

AS: Good. Well thank you very much. It is 1:45. This is Amy Tetlow Smith and this is interview number AQATS--

BW: My name is Bette Uscott-Woolsey.

AS: 19119-018. The Art Quilts at Sedgwick and Bette is going to say her name one more time.

BW: Bette Uscott-Woolsey

AS: Thank you very much.

BW: Okay, you're welcome.

[tape ends.]

Interview Keyword

Painters
Painting
Acrylic paints
Techniques
Surface art
Gee's Bend Quiltmakers
Fabric
Appreciation
Acceptance
Attitudes
Art quilts
Fabric art


Citation

“Bette Uscott-Woolsey,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed June 23, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/2461.