Interview with Kay Marburger, November 5, 2011

Quilt Alliance
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:00 - About the touchstone quilt: "Lafayette Hero of Two Worlds"

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Thank you. This is Cindy Dollar Brown. Today's date is November 5th, 2011. It is 11:15 A.M, and I'm conducting an interview with Kay Marburger for Quilters' S.O.S., Save Our Stories, a project of The Alliance for American Quilts. Kay Marburger and I are at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. Kay, will you tell me about the quilt you brought today?

Segment Synopsis: Marburger discusses her quilt "Lafayette Hero of Two Worlds." It was the first quilt that she designed and made from scratch. Marburger's quilt guild was asked to make quilts for an event in Lafayette, Louisiana honoring Marquis de Lafayette. She talks about her guild's process for creating three quilts. However, the guild was able to send four quilts to the exhibit. Marburger decided to make a fourth quilt based on her own idea that the guild hadn't chosen before. Her touchstone quilt features a silhouette of Marquis de Lafayette standing with one foot in the United States and one foot in France.

Keywords: "Lafayette Hero of Two Worlds"; Fayette County, Texas; Houston, Texas; International Quilt Festival; La Grange, Texas; Lafayette, Louisiana; Marquis de Lafayette; Quilt Purpose - Anniversary; Quilt guilds

Subjects: Art quilts; Quilts--United States--Exhibitions

00:03:23 - Making the touchstone quilt

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So I started thinking about that. I really had not been quilting that long at that time, and I really didn't have an idea about how to go about doing this; but I just kind of sketched, and I just kind of drew, and then I kind of figured out by looking at maps, and kind of tracing the shape of the United States and France, and kind of playing around with enlarging things, and I got my basic outline or background design for the quilt.

Segment Synopsis: Marburger continues discussing the process of making her quilt, "Lafayette Hero of Two Worlds." She explains how she planned and made sketches for the quilt, as well as the materials she used and the techniques for putting it together. She chose thematic fabrics to represent each country, including a fleur-de-lis design for France and illustrations from the American Revolution for the United States, along with prints that featured the sky and water. Marburger used a combination of piecing, fusing, and long arm quilting when constructing the touchstone quilt.

Keywords: "Lafayette Hero of Two Worlds"; American Revolution; Binding; Design process; Fabric - Print; Fabric - Solid/plain; Flags; Fleur-de-lis; France; Fusible applique; Fusing; Fussy cut; Handi Quilter; Long arm quilting; Long arm quilting machine; Sketching; United States

Subjects: Art quilts; Quiltmakers--United States; Quilts--United States--Exhibitions

00:09:48 - Exhibiting the quilt in Lafayette, Louisiana

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Our guild sent off three quilts to the exhibit in Lafayette, Louisiana, and it opened, basically it was open October through November of 2007.

Segment Synopsis: Marburger discusses the first exhibition of her quilt at the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, Louisiana. She did not plan to travel to the exhibit, but Marburger and her husband decided they would take a motorcycle trip to see it. Marburger did not realize the exhibit had used the image of her quilt for its marketing materials until she got there. She was surprised to see an enlarged version of her quilt on a poster promoting the exhibit. Her quilt was also hung prominently at the front of the gallery and published in a book for the exhibition.

Keywords: Acadiana Center for the Arts; Published work - Quilts; Quilt Purpose - Exhibition; Quilt shows/exhibitions

Subjects: Lafayette (La.)

GPS: Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, Louisiana
Map Coordinates: 30.223714, -92.019376
00:13:14 - International exhibit tour and DAR Museum

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And the woman that was curating that exhibit had told us that they were going to try to find other venues for this exhibit.

Segment Synopsis: Marburger tells about how the exhibit in Lafayette, Louisiana attracted international attention. The wife of the United States' Ambassador to France arranged to have some of the quilts displayed in France. While Marburger's quilt was not shown in France, one of the other quilts made by her guild was included in the exhibit. Marburger explains how her quilt went on to be exhibited at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Washington D.C. The DAR Museum also used an image of her quilt on its invitation for the exhibit's opening reception. Marburger traveled to Washington, D.C. later that summer to see her quilt and the rest of the exhibit.

Keywords: Canada; Daughters of the American Revolution; France; Honoring Lafayette: Contemporary Quilts from France and America; Netherlands; Quilt Purpose - Exhibition; Quilt guilds; Quilt shows/exhibitions; Show and Tell (quilt guild)

Subjects: Quilts--United States--Exhibitions; Washington, D.C.

GPS: Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Washington, D.C.
Map Coordinates: 38.893722, -77.0409238
00:19:25 - Historical research / Artistic background / Plans for the touchstone quilt

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Is it unusual for you to do some much historical research and you know, have a theme like this for a quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Making the touchstone quilt was a new experience for Marburger, because she had not created her own quilt design before. She typically chose fabric and patterns that she liked when making quilts. Marburger did not consider herself to be a great artist. She explains that she cannot draw realistic pictures, but she loves to doodle. The touchstone quilt features a silhouette of Lafayette, because it was easier to create than a more realistic portrait. Marburger does not have specific plans for the quilt. She stores the quilt at her home and occasionally takes it out of storage to admire her work.

Keywords: International Quilt Festival; Marquis de Lafayette; Quilt shows/exhibitions

Subjects: Art quilts

00:22:14 - Interest in quilting / Learning quiltmaking

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So how did your interest in quiltmaking begin?

Segment Synopsis: Marburger discusses how she became interested in quiltmaking. She started sewing in high school and sewed clothing for herself and her children. Marburger visited the grand opening for a quilt shop in her town to see the fabric. She was surprised by the variety of fabric and learned that the shop offered quiltmaking classes. Members of the shop were also starting a quilt guild. Marburger attended a meeting and spoke with someone that she knew about machine quilting. She then took the machine quilting class and enjoyed it so much that she decided to continue learning how to quilt.

Keywords: Fabric selection; Fabric/Quilt shops; Learning quiltmaking; Machine quilting; Quilt guilds; Quilt shops; Quilter's Cottage; Quiltmaking classes

Subjects: La Grange (Tex.)

00:26:45 - Marburger's first quilt

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What was that first quilt like? Do you remember it?

Segment Synopsis: Marburger remembers her first quilt. The pattern was Grandma's Cuddle quilt, and it was quilt-as-you-go. Marburger describes the techniques she used to make the quilt pieces and put them together. After making the first block, Marburger caught on quickly and found it simple to sew all of the pieces together.

Keywords: Batting/wadding; Grandma's Cuddle Quilt - quilt pattern; Learning quiltmaking; Quilt-as-you-go; Strip/string piecing; Techniques

00:28:00 - Learning quiltmaking techniques

Play segment

Partial Transcript: How has your quilting evolved from that first quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Marburger talks about how her quilting has changed since she made her first quilt. She found that she prefers to have lots of colors and variety in her quilts, instead of making the same block over and over again. Marburger enjoys piecing, and she says "it's a challenge, it's fun, it's interesting, it's exciting." She continued to take other quiltmaking classes about foundation paper piecing, making quilted clothing, and hand quilting.

Keywords: Foundation piecing; Hand piecing; Hand quilting; Jack in the Box - quilt pattern; Learning quiltmaking; Piecing; Quilted clothing; Quiltmaking classes; Scrap quilts; Techniques

00:33:55 - Favorite quiltmaking techniques / Long arm quilting

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Do you have a favorite process or technique now?

Segment Synopsis: Marburger talks about the techniques she uses to quilt now. She describes transitioning from hand quilting to machine quilting. Marburger used to hire professional long arm quilters to complete her work, until she decided to buy her own long arm quilting machine. She was encouraged to go to the International Quilt Festival to look at long arm quilting machines. Marburger discusses the process of setting up her Handi Quilter long arm machine and learning how to use it. Although Marburger has used her long arm machine to finish quilts for her guild's projects, she mostly quilts her own work and doesn't quilt for hire.

Keywords: Free motion quilting; Gammill; Guild activities; Hand quilting; Handi Quilter; International Quilt Festival; Long arm quilting; Long arm quilting machine; Machine quilting; Quilt guilds

00:39:42 - What makes a quilt artistically powerful / Mentors

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Your quilts are very artistic, so what do you think makes a quilt artistically powerful?

Segment Synopsis: Marburger discusses the importance of having a recognizable theme in a quilt. She also finds the use of bold and vibrant colors to be particularly important. Marburger also talks about participating in her quilt guild and other members who have mentored and encouraged her, especially Jo Knox. Kristi Grigsby, the owner of Marburger's local quilt shop, and her mother Jackie Asbill, also designed many of the patterns she has used, especially for English paper piecing.

Keywords: Aesthetics; English paper piecing; Guild activities; Hand applique; Jackie Asbill; Jo Knox; Kristi Grigsby; Machine applique; Mentors; Quilt design; Quilt guilds; Quilt shops; Quilting Bee

00:44:05 - Importance of quiltmaking / Meaning for women's history in America

Play segment

Partial Transcript: I think we're getting close to the end of our time, so I'm going to ask a couple more questions, and then I'm going to ask you if there's anything you want to add at the end. Why is quiltmaking important to your life?

Segment Synopsis: Marburger talks about the importance of quiltmaking in her life, as well as for women's history in America. Although Marburger has never considered herself to be extremely creative, she enjoys making things, and quiltmaking provides her with a creative outlet. Quiltmaking gives her a connection to other people, especially when she makes quilts as gifts. Even though no one in Marburger's family quilted, she feels connected to women in the past who made quilts. She believes that women were able to express their creativity and individuality through quiltmaking, while also providing for their families. Marburger encourages the recipients of her quilts to use and wash them for the same reasons.

Keywords: Quilt Purpose - Gift or presentation; Quilt Purpose - Utilitarian; Quilt history; Quilt purpose - Art or personal expression; Quilt purpose - Birth; Quiltmaking for family; Quilts as gifts; Social quiltmaking activities

Subjects: Quilts--United States--History