Jeri Riggs

Photos

QSOS-154a.jpeg
QSOS-154b.jpeg

Title

Jeri Riggs

Description

Jeri Riggs discusses her quilt, which has won entry into the Husqvarna Viking MasterPiece Competition. The international contest showcases over 50 quilts, and an exhibition will travel to museums for a year. She discusses her design process, her personal reasons for quilting, her opinions on various quilting techniques, and the differences between traditional and art quilting.

Identifier

QSOS-154

Subject

Quilting
Quilts--Design.
Art quilts
Quilts
Quilts in art
Textiles
Quilts--United States--Exhibitions.
Quilts--Design

Interviewee

Jeri Riggs

Interviewer

Jo Frances Greenlaw

Interview Date

11/02/2002

Interview sponsor

Nancy O'Bryant Puentes

Location

Houston, Texas

Interview indexer

Sarah Cleary

Transcriber

Rachel Grove

Transcription

Jo Frances Greenlaw (JFG): Good morning. This is Houston, Texas at the Quilt Festival and we are interviewing this morning which is Saturday, November the second, 2002. We're interviewing Jeri Riggs, and the interviewer is Jo Frances Greenlaw. That's J-O, F-R-A-N-C-E-S, Greenlaw, G-R-E-E-N-L-A-W. The scribe is Pauline Salzman, P-A-U-L-I-N-E, Salzman, S-A-L-Z-M-A-N. Jeri Riggs is J-E-R-I, R-I-G-G-S. We are commencing this interview at 9:15 a.m., Saturday, November 2, 2002. Well, we are down here on the exhibit floor where Jeri has won. [laughter.] Can you tell me what this is?

Jeri Riggs (JR): We're in the exhibit gallery of the 2002 Husquerna Viking Masterpiece Contest "A Voyage of Discovery."

JFG: There you go. She took care of that.

JR: My quilt is one of fifty finalists, but I don't know how many people entered, so it's very interesting, but there's quilts from all over the world--from Russia, from the Netherlands, from Connecticut, all over the place, so it's nice company to be in.

JFG: Well, it's bright and colorful, so tell us a little bit about that quilt so we can lay the groundwork about what we're going to be discussing.

JR: Well, that is one of my larger quilts. I make small ones and large ones, and the large ones did the best. The quilts evolve as they go along, and this one I made right after another one that's on the exhibit floor that won an honorable mention, and I was working in a small space, and I used a lot of freezer paper, and freezer paper now comes in fifteen inch widths, so the center of the quilt's thirty inches. It's two widths of freezer paper, [laughter.] and I had made the stencil [inaudible.], and I was playing with colors and with the designs and wanted to get a lot of curve and trying to figure out a way that I piece them easily and quickly because I have fibromyalgia so I can't spend a lot of time doing any repetitive things because I have to get up and move around a lot so I figured out a way to flip the edges over and iron it down and get them on there. It's very complicated and I wondered how I was going to the quilt bigger, and the other quilt I had done--I had done a lot of circles in the outside, and I really enjoyed the circles, so I liked the idea of spirals, because they are a symbol of growth and possibility. They start really small, and then they expand as they go outward sort of like the way our lives go. They get bigger as we go along, and they're complicated, but I didn't like too many more like Flying Geese because I've used that a lot so one morning I was thinking about how to integrate spirals together and how to do some sort of a curved thing, and I came up with that interlocking design which I really like, because I could do it in a square format and then repeat it and have it just whorl through the edges, so the quilt ended up being sort of symbolic for me of a period in my life where a lot of transitions were happening. I think I was making it before--must have been before World Trade Center which was like a period of demarcation for a lot of us in New York. I live twenty miles from the World Trade Center and so all the quilts that I made before that time were very cheerful and very optimistic, and I was coming out of a period of time where I'd been very sick for years and years and years, and I feel like quilting has really sort of changed my life in a lot of ways, and that year I had become president of guild. I had entered a lot of contests. That quilt had been accepted after it was finished in lots of shows, including Art Quilts at the Sedgwick – 2002 and I was very excited about solving the puzzle of how to get it to be larger and integrate the colors, so it's a very interesting piece for me just to feel very successful that I had accomplished it.

JFG: A challenge. What is the name of the quilt?

JR: "Thinking Inside the Box."

JFG: "Thinking Inside the Box?"

JR: And that title was given by my husband. [laughter.]

JFG: The materials you used are?

JR: 100 percent cotton, cotton fabrics, mainly commercial, some of them hand dyed by me and Melody Johnson, and the batting is cotton- Warm and Natural and the back of the quilt is a single whole cloth piece that was hand dyed by me.

JFG: It's quite colorful and very catching to the eye. So how did you choose this quilt when you have others that are hanging in the show?

JR: Well--

JFG: For this interview I should say.

JR: For this interview? This poor quilt has been photographed upside down, sideways. It's been published in every orientation except for the right way so I thought this would be its one opportunity to go down in history in the right orientation--[laughter.] since I love this quilt. I miss it. It's going to be on tour for a year, and I kind of miss it.

JFG: Well, don't you think it would look just as beautiful upside down?

JR: No. [laughter.] No, because it's a caldron. The caldron is rising out--

JFG: I see.

JR: And the fire is kind of growing out of the bottom of the cauldron. The flying geese that go through represents the a pain that I'm in most of the time and how the pain like runs through my life as current, but there's this wellspring of--I don't know what you call it--spiritual uplifting, basic energy that curves upwards, and that's how I seek the peace that other people go to church. [laughter.]

JFG: This is a wonderful opportunity to have you explain the symbolism, because most of us would not know that, and it's a wonderful opportunity. Well, what are your plans for this quilt? Where do you think it will go or what will you plan to do with it?

JR: Well, this quilt's going to be on tour with the Viking Exposition until August of 2004, and I didn't put this one up for sale, because I really love it, and my husband likes to collect my quilts, so he doesn't want me to sell any of them, but some of them have been sneaking out of the house unbeknownst.

JFG: Well, what can you do with all your quilts? You must have several.

JR: I have a big house.

JFG: Oh. [inaudible because talking at the same time as Jeri.]

JR: And I have them hanging up.

JFG: Yes. Well, how did you get started quilting? Where did this begin with you?

JR: Well, I originally trained as a psychiatrist and I worked as a psychiatrist for ten years. I'd always sewn. I'd made all my own clothes, and I had saved scraps of fabric over the years thinking that I would make little baby dresses, and I had son, [laughter.] and I thought, 'What am I going to do with all this fabric?' so I started a mother's group, and one of the other women made quilts. I had made a quilt in 1984, and it was very unsatisfactory to me. It was sort of decorator fabric to go with my curtains. I had used scissors, and I used cardboard templates. By seven or eight years later it was like a revolution had occurred, because rotary cutters had been invented, and so when my friend showed me all the newest things I said, 'Wow, this is fun. It's not tedious anymore,' so I made a quilt, and then I made another quilt, and then I made a whole bunch of quilts, and then I got sick with fibromyalgia about three years later, and I had to quit my job. I had to basically go into hibernation from my life. I lost everything that had meant something to me, because I was really sick, and at the same time my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and I was eight months pregnant with my second child, and it was like the dark night had descended that point. I think around that time Paula Nadelstern's "Water from the Moon" appeared in the American Quilter's Society Magazine, and that quilt just did something to me. It was like so amazing. I had to take her class, so despite the pain I was in and all the stuff that was going on, I took the class where I learned some of her techniques, and my husband got better. Turned out his tumor was treatable, and I had the baby, but I still had fibromyalgia, which is a condition involving a sleep disorder and pain and a lot of other symptoms. So one day I discovered that piecing quilts was like the most pain free moment that I could have during the day, and I was working on these sort of kaleidoscopic wedge quilts, and I was cutting fabric and sewing it and getting up and ironing and sitting down, and it was very helpful and soothing to me to do this, and I pieced the last seam of this one particular mandala quilt, and my infant pulled a book off the bookshelf, and it was Jung's mandala symbolism book, and I just said, [quick breath of surprise.] 'That's what I'm doing. I'm trying to heal myself by making these mandalas,' because at that time I was really into centered mandalas, circular, kaleidoscopic kind of quilts, and it was really interesting, because it was a validation for what I had been experiencing, but it was also like the universe is telling me. 'This is where you ought to be.' So it was weird. [laughter.]

JFG: So quilting anyway--

JR: So quilting became a salvation.

JFG: Very emotional for you. That's marvelous. So what age were you when this all began to happen? You said your first one was 1984.

JR: Right, and then that particular one was 1994--

JFG: Oh, ten years later.

JR: '95. Yes.

JFG: So you were in your thirties?

JR: No. I turned forty in 1995, so I was around thirty-nine, forty.

JFG: Still a young quilter. Well, how many hours a week are you quilting today? Are you still at it everyday a little bit?

JR: Yes, everyday. Probably between two hours and half an hour, depending on the day and how much pain I'm in and what other activities I have to do and what the children need. [laughter.]

JFG: These are both boys?

JR: Two boys. I went on and had a second boy, and then I said, 'All right, no little dresses.' [laughter.]

JFG: Do you think they'll ever pick up a needle and try a quilt?

JR: Well, my older son made a quilt.

JFG: Oh.

JR: He was very fascinated by the whole process and made a crazy quilt, which he's very proud of when he was seven. My younger son really like to piece pillows, and he's made a whole little collection of pillows with patterns on them, so they're both into it.

JFG: Sounds like an innovative thing you could develop, young boys quilting and publish it.

JR: Well, I've been teaching a little in the schools, and the boys get very fascinated by the patterns and by just what you can do with it. It's really fun.

JFG: Are you volunteering to teach these things?

JR: Yes, once in a while.

JFG: Is quilting an income source for you?

JR: No.

JFG: It's an enjoyment.

JR: It's like therapy.

JFG: Therapy?

JR: [laughter.]

JFG: Are there other quilters--Do you have sisters, mothers, aunts, or--

JR: I don't have any quilters in my family. My mother couldn't sew a stitch even on a sewing machine, so I got her sewing machine. I had a 1953 Singer, which I made everything on until my husband brought home a box for me one day, and I said, 'I don't need another microwave oven.' He said, 'Open the box,' and it was a Bernina, and I said, 'What's this? I don't need another sewing machine.' [laughter.] I was afraid to use it for six months, and I finally started using it, and now that's all I use.

JFG: It's got all the special things to it I imagine.

JR: Even though I wish I had the one with the alphabet, and I need more fancy stitches, and now I really need the one that does embroidery.

JFG: [laughter.]

JR: It's like an addiction.

JFG: So quilting is impacting your family. How is your husband involved in this?

JR: He supports my habit. He encourages me to collect my quilts. He takes care of the children while I'm off on these kind of jaunts. I go to Houston and I've been to Paducah. He's been to Paducah. Relaxes me good. He's very helpful and very wonderful.

JFG: And are there in the quilting processes something you prefer? Is there one part of it that you enjoy doing?

JR: Well, I really like to sew.

JFG: [laughter.] So that's a plus.

JR: I'm lured by fusing, but I don't use it. I really like the security of finished edges. I like to piece. I like sewing. What can I say? I don't do any handwork, because I have so much pain in my hands when do anything for any repetitive length of time, and I want things fast.

JFG: So I guess we need to explain this is a machine quilted quilt.

JR: It's entirely machine quilted except for the binding edge.

JFG: Do you have any quilts that are in collections or museums?

JR: Not purchased by them. At the current moment I have one hanging in the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York which is part of the "America: From the Heart" exhibition. I haven't sold any quilts except for two but they're to individuals so they're not in any museums.

JFG: How do you feel about quilts going into a large collection or an archive or museum?

JR: I think it's great. It's wonderful. It gives people an opportunity to see them. One of the most wonderful exhibits I saw was the Ardis and Robert James collection. The one that was shown at the Neuberger Museum near me, and it was fantastic to see in one room all of the greats and Michael James and Nancy Crow and Wendy Huhn and like they had an Anna Williams, and they had Susan Shie and they had all these fabulous people that I'd read about in magazines and books, and it was very exciting. I don't think you had one in there, but [laughter.] I love your quilts.

JFG: Let us interject that Jeri is talking to our scribe, Pauline Salzman who is also an award winning quilter and has some pieces hanging in the show. Well, what about a quilt makes it most outstanding to you? What makes a great quilt in your mind?

JR: Well, I'd have to say color is my first love, and I've always been attracted to really bright colors. I think because I'm nearsighted, and I don't see subtle. I really don't do subtle that well. I like graphic, bold colors, and but I also am really attracted to certain kinds of form and design. I like very symmetrical things with slightly off kilter parts to them or quilts that you have puzzle over for a while. What do they mean? How did they accomplish this? I like quilts with a sense of humor, which is why I love your quilts, Pauline. [laughter.] I try to put a bit of humor in mine, but quite often it's so subtle nobody gets it. [laughter.] I have another quilt in this show called "There's No Place Like Home," and it's in the Tactile Architecture quilt exhibit, and that one I find very humorous, because it's about my saga to build my dream house and how the neighbors fought us, and my father-in-law was an architect, and he designed this beautiful house for us with a quilting studio and the whole shebang. We bought property, and we were all set to build it, and we didn't realize that the neighbors didn't want a house there at all, so they pulled every string in the book to block the project, and we couldn't understand why they were doing--we're nice people. I make quilts. I love people. I love quilts. I love color. Why don't they want us neighbors, and we went back and forth, and it was finally about November after we got involved in a law suit, that I started making a quilt, and making the quilt allowed me to release the project and just let it go. It was really useful to have that outlet so that quilt has a sense of humor to it because it's sort of tongue in cheek.

JFG: So quilting is an emotional outlet for you?

JR: It is.

JFG: And worked through times, bad times?

JR: Yes, I have found it to be not only a personal opportunity for me to achieve a kind of solace and a kind of center, and but it's also been a fantastic social outlet, and some of us liken it to a twelve step group centered around good things rather than negative things. Anybody can go to a quilt meeting. You don't have to even make quilts. You just have to like them. You have to be willing to be just amazed, and so I got involved in three guilds.

JFG: [laughter.]

JR: And when I moved from Boston where I lived for twenty years back to New York where I grew up, I didn't know a soul. I was very sick. I had two small children. I had just given up my entire career, and I just started really building my life again, and the first thing I did was find a quilt store and figure out where the nearest guild was, and I went to meetings, and it was so funny to be actually be accepted and not have to go in and say, 'I'm in so much pain. I can't sleep,' but to say, 'Look what I made,' and have everyone go, 'Oh, that's wonderful,' so it was very supportive. It was a way to get into a supportive group of people without having to--I don't know. It was just so life affirming.

JFG: And I'm hearing you say that the people in the quilt world are very important to you. Can you explain how that happens and why?

JR: [5 second pause.] Well, I've been watching the phenomenon get bigger and bigger, and I've been watching people find their level, find their niche. Some of my friends have become teachers and have traveled, and I find that the relationships that I've developed have been more meaningful to me. People talk about historical quilts as being made by groups of women who get together and talk and share stories and support each other, and I find that even today when we're sort of doing it in a solitary fashion, the getting together and the commiseration and the discussion and the sharing of obsession is really formal and very uplifting, and it's a different kind of relationship than you get at the PTA or get at the doctor's office or the soccer field. It's really--it's like a secret society. [laughter.]

JFG: Ya Ya Sisters.

JR: Well, no, some of us have likened it to a cult [laughter.] and I think it has some of the same elements. You know there's this indoctrination phase when you have to prove that you're worthy of being in the cult. You have to absorb all the names. You have to know who are the key players. This is a whole world, and it's been really interesting to watch it develop and to be a part of it.

JFG: Among your quilting friends, do you have those that are more into the traditional style of quilting? Where as you are with the ongoing, challenging, artistic type of quilting? Do you mix? Do they mix?

JR: Well, I am president of a very traditional guild in Scarsdale. Scarsdale, New York. And our guild is really small. There's about a hundred people. Some of them range in age from eighty-five down to about thirty. Most of the people are in their sixties, so I'm kind of a young person, and it's a funny niche to be in.

[tape recorder shut off and turned back on again.]

JFG: We're back again after a short little break there. We're with Jeri Riggs talking about her Husquarna Viking quilt.

JR: And the question asked was do I have friends who are traditional quilters, and it's a funny continuum that people belong on, because some days I really feel like I'm a traditional quilter. I use the traditional tools. I piece. I appliqué. I sew. I like pattern. I like the formality and structure of pattern. I use regular, normal colors, but I like to go beyond that and stretch myself and enter into the art realm. Sometime I would like to retreat to the traditional, because it's very comforting, but I'm attracted to the daring and the new materials and just the design aspects of art quilts. My guild is composed of a lot of really traditional people, but I think even if you make traditional quilts, you're attracted to the beauty of everything and art quilts really bring that beauty to a concrete form, so there aren't that many art quilters in that group, but there are a couple, and the people that want to learn more about it--you know they're very enthusiastic so I'd say most of my close friends are art quilters.

JFG: Well, what makes an art quilter? Do they need an artistic sense?

JR: Yes. [3 second pause.] Think so.

JFG: Never really work from patterns? It's all from within?

JR: Well, I don't know. I mean I'm looking at Barbara McKie's quilt, "Let it Bee" and yes, it's an art quilt because she used nontraditional materials. She's using photography and computer printing. She's using the methods of art, and it's not a formal pattern kind of a structured quilt, but then you think about appliqué quilts, and those are traditional, and those are often using similar elements. I'm not sure really what makes an art quilt, whether it's the use of symbolism and imagery to express an idea, but then you have abstract quilts. [6 second pause.] I guess it's a sense of daring. It's a sense of wanting to try something different, sense of having your own individual vision that you want to create.

JFG: So since you're from the northeastern quarter of the U.S. and we're down here in Texas. Do you see a difference in the regional influences in the work you do, in the work you might see from a southerner, a westerner--

JR: I haven't thought about it that way.

JFG: So your quilts don't really represent your region?

JR: No, I don't think so.

JFG: They're more you.

JR: I really have been focusing more on my own selfishness, [laughter.] my own personal inner vision. Yes, I don't know. I'll have to do some research and get back to you on that.

JFG: What about the influence this has been and the success that it's been for women, the new interest in quilting? Have any thoughts about how it's impacted women's lives, women's history?

JR: Oh, I think it's huge. It's fantastic. Just coming to a convention where there's 50,000 people and ninety percent of them are women. It's really miraculous. The fact that women have a way of connecting with each other and of making something lasting and beautiful appeals to everybody I think. It's really like a movement. You know my mother didn't have that. What did she have? You know what did she do? She got together, and they talked about the children, and they talked about the husbands, but they didn't really talk about sort of their own passion I don't think. People collected antiques but to have an opportunity to express yourself and to make art is such a privilege, and it's such a wonderful thing, and having it be accessible to so many women now is really--it's just beautiful. It's wonderful. It's an opportunity for people to be--centered on something beautiful rather than on the trials and tribulations, which we all have.

JFG: What do you think will happen to all these marvelous quilts--I don't how many hundreds hanging here today? How can quilts be preserved? How can we save them? What is the future for the many, many fabulous artistic pieces that are being produced?

JR: Well, there are a lot of new hands springing up, a lot of textile preservation people. A new museum just opened in Arkansas that I've heard of. There's people who are collecting them, and I think the collectors should be urged to learn how to preserve them. The James were instrumental in developing a collection of really classic art quilts and donating them to the University of Nebraska so that they would have a place to keep them. I think there should be more of that going on. I don't know. People are learning about it, how to store their quilts, how to take care of them, but I honestly don't know what'll happen. None of us know what'll happen.

JFG: Hate to think of losing any of it.

JR: I don't know.

JFG: It's so marvelous.

JR: But there's so much of it.

JFG: What about men quilters? Do you see many?

JR: I wish I knew more men quilters. I'm trying to encourage my children to do it.

JFG: That's a start.

JR: I think it's different for men somehow. I mean for women you have the acquisition of stuff. Women are very good at collecting stuff, and fabric is so feminine in a sense of--clothing has always been the women's area. Wrapping your children in warm cuddly things--I mean there's that whole feminine aspect to it, so it's great for men to enter into this, but they have a great sensibility. Ricky Tims' quilt just knocked me out walking down the hall. It's so great. [laughter.] I wish there were more men quilters.

JFG: We have just a few represented here.

JR: Yes, not too many.

JFG: We'd know them, unlike Ricky Tims. We know that name.

JR: Yes and George Siciliano's coming to our guild to speak, and I can't wait to meet him.

JFG: Oh. Do you have outside speakers often?

JR: Yes, we do, and then the other guild I'm a member of Northern Star Quilter's Guild which has 350 people, so they have a lot more money, so they can get people from all over the place, and we've had Jane Sassaman. We've had Laura Wasilowski, and we've had--Stephanie Reynolds has been there recently, and we've Charlotte Warr Anderson that's been to our guild. It's been a really great opportunity to meet a lot of famous quilters. You haven't been to ours yet? We have to get you. [presumably speaking to Pauline Salzman.] [laughter.]

JFG: Do you collect other well-known quilters' pieces?

JR: I wish I did. I wish I had the money for that. I do own a piece by Susan Shy [sp?] and a piece by Judith Larzelere--and who else? Faye Merrill Geller. That's about all. I've been able to own four.

JFG: Well, since you aren't really happy with selling your own quilts--do you sell your designs? Do you--are you just a sharing person?

JR: [6 second pause.] I really make them for my own personal enjoyment, and I haven't wanted to get into the greater world. I mean this year is my first foray into this kind of big arena, so I don't know what they future will bring. I'm not really motivated to do that, because it takes a lot of energy away from my quilting time, and I'd rather make more quilts than sort of spread the word. There's a lot of people better at that.

JFG: Do you do any teaching?

JR: Occasionally, but my illness makes it very hard to focus that much, and physically it's very demanding so I haven't really had that opportunity.

JFG: Well, we are soon to the end of our tape and the completion of this interview so let me give you freedom to interject anything you would like, tell us something we didn't mention.

JR: I just feel very privileged to be part of this movement. It's like a movement, and it has its own characters, its own actresses, and its own stardom. I think it's really exciting to be here, at Festival at this time in history and watch people come into their flowerhood. [laughter.] I don't know what else I would have done if I hadn't come into the quilting world. I can't imagine how wonderful it is to connect and what other way I would do that besides say music. If you were a musician, you might travel. You might have concerts. You might meet people that way. I think of some of the luminaries in the quilting world as like rock stars of today that they have this adoring public, and they glitter, and they're show people, and in a way art and music are very similar. You know they both bring something beautiful into form, and they're allowed to be shared, and I think that's really exciting to be part of that. This year I have six quilts in the show and in a lot of different exhibits, and it seems like all these threads are kind of coming together because this weekend is the ten year anniversary of my quitting medicine and getting into the quilting world.

JFG: What a big jump.

JR: Yes, it was sort of a strange transition to be in.

JFG: Well, if that is all that we're going to cover, I think--

JR: I just want to say that this is such a wonderful project, and I'm so glad that you have all decided to do this. Teresa Barkley is with the Manhattan Quilters' guild, and she was so excited about this project and encouraged all of us and Emiko Toda Loeb is up there being interviewed now too, so when I got that letter I was just like, 'Wow, they asked me.' [laughter.] It's a big honor.

JFG: It is a radical project. I'm so glad that sort of thing is happening here and Colleen and I love being part of it. Is there another place like the Houston quilt show where great, well-known quilters all can come together and--

JR: Paducah, I think is another place where people have been coming like a pilgrimage every year for seventeen years, but Houston is really the best I think in terms of the teachers, that sheer giganticness of us, and also the encouragement of art quilters and people who sort of dare to break the rules and go outside the box.

JFG: [laughter.]

JR: My illness has been such a box for me, and it's really constrained me from traveling and teaching and publishing and getting more involved in things, and I just don't have the energy to do it, but you know there's--those triangles do escape and come out from the borders. This is my second time in Houston, and I think I'm going to have to come back next year too. [laughter.]

JFG: Well, we are so glad we're here and that you agreed to be interviewed today by Quilt Save Our Stories Project. It is now--

JR: Can I add one more thing?

JFG: Yes, please do.

JR: About the Internet.

JFG: Yes.

JR: Because I didn't even mention that whole thing.

JFG: Oh, well, we'd love to know about the Internet.

JR: I mean the Internet has been such a huge opportunity for those of us who are more or less housebound in some ways and because you connect with so many people and people have websites, and you can go and look at the artwork. You can actually meet other people. I had the opportunity to go to the Brooklyn Museum of Art and see Judy Chicago's "Dinner Party" recently, which was like a landmark work, and I had always heard about this for years, and I was too young to really be involved in the seventies when it going on, but I went to just was blown away by the embroidery and the quilting and the fabric and the textures, and it was so contemporary in the use of textiles. I thought what a visionary to use textiles in that way, and I looked on the board, and I saw that Judy Mathieson worked on that project. 'Wow, I know her. She's on my e-mail list,' so I e-mailed her, and it was like so exciting to just be able to write to somebody and say, 'Look at these connections that you've come through history from the seventies until now,' and through the Internet you can communicate with these people. It's like it's so amazing. 'How did you do this thirty-five years ago?' You know this couldn't have happened so long ago without Karey Bresenhan who sort of singly handedly brought this into existence, and I just--she's amazing. She's so amazing, and she's such a nice person. I hope she hears this. [laughter.] I really want to thank her and the magic of Judy Smith on the Quilt Art list. I'm on that list, and that list has been just instrumental in connecting and networking and allowing people to share their work.

JFG: So I hear you saying that quilting is so much a part of people and not just the place.

JR: Right, oh, yes. The quilt is wonderful, and it's the people that really make it happen.

JFG: This has been wonderful. I'm so glad we had the chance to talk with Jeri Riggs today in Houston. We're concluding this interview at 9:50 on Saturday, November 2 in Houston--Jeri Riggs of Dobbs Ferry, New York. Your interviewer has been Jo Frances Greenlaw. The scribe has been Pauline Salzman and I believe that concludes us for today.

Interview Keyword

Gender in quiltmaking
Quilt purpose - Art or personal expression
Quilt purpose - Personal enjoyment
Quilting communities
Husqvarna Viking Masterpiece Competition
Machine quilting


Citation

“Jeri Riggs,” Quilters' S.O.S. -- Save Our Stories, accessed May 27, 2024, https://qsos.quiltalliance.org/items/show/2641.