Interview with Philomena Mudd, March 11, 2008

Quilt Alliance
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00:00:01 - About the touchstone quilt: "Silent Tears"

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Partial Transcript: This is Karen Musgrave, and I am doing a Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories interview with Philomena Mudd. Today's date is March 11, 2008. It is 11:38 in the morning; and Philomena is in Louisville, Kentucky, and I'm in Naperville, Illinois, so we are conducting this interview by telephone. Philomena I want to thank you for taking your time to do this with me. We are doing a special Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories, because this is based on an exhibit called "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece." Philomena tell me about your quilt in the exhibit "Silent Tears."

Segment Synopsis: Mudd explains why she chose to make a quilt for the exhibit "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece" and what it meant to her personally because of her mother-in-law's experience with Alzheimer's disease. Mudd talks about her husband's family and how they cared for her mother-in-law. She explains the significance of the batik fabric colors she used for "Silent Tears." She talks about the connections between her quilting work and her husband's photography, including why she likes to use photographs on her quilts. She mentions the words she used in the quilt design. She discusses the source for the poetry and describes tracking down and talking to the author, Donna Pucciani. Mudd explains why she used designs of gingko leaves on the quilt. She describes Donna Pucciani's reaction to photographs of the quilt.

Keywords: Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece; Donna Pucciani; Fabric - Batiks; Family; Family life; Photography/Photo transfer; Poetry; Quilt design; Quilt purpose - Exhibition; Quilt purpose - Storytelling; Silent Tears

Subjects: Alzheimer's disease--Patients--Family relationships; Poets; Quilts--Design

00:08:05 - Visiting the exhibit / Family's response to the quilt / Recording an artist statement

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Partial Transcript: And then, I think we were in Rosemont, Chicago, the quilt was there.

Segment Synopsis: Mudd talks about meeting Donna Pucciani in person at the quilt exhibit. She describes her family's involvement in making "Silent Tears." She explains the process of applying to enter the exhibit as well as her reaction and the reactions of her family to getting in. She discusses what she would like to happen to the quilt. She reflects on the process of recording an artist statement for the exhibit CD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece; Artist statements; Donna Pucciani; Family life; Quilt shows/exhibitions

Subjects: Poets

00:14:24 - Learning to sew and quilt / Using quilts

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about your interest in quiltmaking.

Segment Synopsis: Mudd starts to explain how she learned to sew in high school, then is interrupted by barking dogs and the doorbell. She continues talking about learning to make clothing at Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville, Kentucky, and how she was encouraged to save fabric to make a quilt. She discusses making her first quilt out of fabric from her and her husband's clothing. She talks about how she uses her quilts, including the first one she made, and how she encourages others to use her quilts.

Keywords: Kentucky; Learning quiltmaking; Louisville; Patchwork quilts; Quilt purpose - Utilitarian; Sacred Heart Academy; Tied quilts

Subjects: Patchwork quilts; Sewing

00:17:36 - Time spent quilting

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Partial Transcript: How many hours a week do you quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Mudd briefly discusses how she tries to quilt every day.

Keywords: Time management

00:17:48 - Working with mentors

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Partial Transcript: And I have a mentor. Her name is Marti Plager.

Segment Synopsis: Mudd talks about working with her mentor, Marti Plager. She discusses Plager's reaction to "Silent Tears" and why she finds Plager's feedback helpful. She explains how she met Plager. She talks about some of Plager's work, including teaching classes and doing a one-person show. She talks about learning from Juanita Yeager and why Yeager moved away from Louisville, Kentucky.

Keywords: Juanita Yeager; Kentucky; Lousiville; Marti Plager; Mentors; Quilt shows/exhibitions; Quiltmaking classes

00:21:07 - Inspiring quilters

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Partial Transcript: So whose works are you drawn to and why?

Segment Synopsis: Mudd mentions the work of Marti Plager again. She explains why she finds the work of the Gee's Bend quilters inspiring, especially their use of color. She briefly talks about the work of Caryl Bryer Fallert and taking a workshop from Fallert.

Keywords: Caryl Bryer Fallert; Color balance; Gee's Bend quilts; Marti Plager

00:23:49 - Advice for beginning quilters

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Partial Transcript: What advice would you offer someone starting out?

Segment Synopsis: Mudd explains why taking a beginner's quiltmaking class is important. She talks about how simple quilting can be when starting with the right basic tools. She digresses to a reflection on "Silent Tears" as she looks at the quilt again.

Keywords: Learning quiltmaking; Quiltmaking classes

00:25:54 - Challenges confronting quiltmakers

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Partial Transcript: What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today?

Segment Synopsis: Mudd discusses upgrading the sewing machine she uses for quilting. She talks about the high cost of the quilting hobby and how that can be a challenge to the current quilting world.

Keywords: Challenges within the quilting community; Machine quilting

Subjects: Sewing machines.

00:27:57 - Home studio

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Partial Transcript: Describe your studio.

Segment Synopsis: Mudd describes the room she uses as a studio. She talks about taking out the carpet in her studio herself. She describes the lighting, equipment, and decorations in her studio. She briefly discusses how her studio makes her feel.

Keywords: Design walls; Home sewing machine; Home studio; Work or studio space

00:31:22 - Importance of quiltmaking

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Partial Transcript: Why is quiltmaking important to you?

Segment Synopsis: Mudd talks about why quiltmaking is important to her as a form of expression. She connects it to her work as a speech and language therapist.

Keywords: Quilt purpose - Art or personal expression

00:32:21 - Reflections on dementia

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Partial Transcript: Well I usually ask people if there's anything-

Segment Synopsis: Mudd talks about the work Ami Simms has done, including how Simms has been able to engage her mother in work. Mudd discusses her stepmother's diagnoses and her family's reactions to those. She reflects on the prevalence of Alzheimer's and other dementia-related diseases. She comments on the politics surrounding research. She and Musgrave briefly discuss where the money raised by "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece" will go.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece; Ami Simms; Family; Politics

Subjects: Dementia

00:35:28 - Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Well, I want to thank you for taking time out of your day to talk and share with me.

Segment Synopsis: Musgrave wraps up the interview.