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Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave and I am doing a Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories interview with Edna Patterson-Petty. Edna is in East St. Louis, Illinois and I'm in Naperville, Illinois so we are conducting this interview over the telephone. Today's date is January 11, 2009 and it is 10:28 in the morning. Edna thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with me.

Edna Paterson-Petty (EPP): You are welcome.

KM: Please tell me about your quilt "Road to Redemption."

EPP: First I will tell you sort of how it came to be. I got a call November 13 asking if I would like to participate in creating an inaugural quilt. There were forty-four people to be chosen [exhibit "Quilts for Obama: Celebrating the Inauguration of our 44th President," at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. from January 11 to January 31, 2009.] and I had to make a quick decision because Carolyn Mazloomi said that you had to commit yourself, once you said 'yes,' because they were going to move forward. I knew it was a great opportunity so I said, 'Okay' and then I thought for some reason that I had until December 31. And then the next day I got an email, which was a group email stating that the quilts were due to be in [Washington.] D.C. on December 15, which speeded up the time frame that I had given myself. Once I got over that initial shock, my ideas began to flow. I'm always jotting down little vignettes, ideas or doodles for future inclusion in an art quilt or whatever when I'm watching TV. I have a book of ideas that I've done for years since art school. Sometimes I just kind of go through those things and look to see if anything applies to what I want to do now. For some reason this redemption song by Bob Marley came into mind and so I said, 'Well the "Road to Redemption,"' would be my title. We had restrictions on the art quilt. It could not have a lot of images of Obama on it, it couldn't have a lot of things dealing with slavery and things like that, so with those limitations I had to think of how can I tell the story that I wanted to tell without using all of the other things that were restricted. The road idea came first and since I like to recycle I had some rich colored silk draperies that I wanted to use. I didn't know what I was going to do with them, but when I looked at them I thought this is perfect because I had already taken the draperies apart and had them laid out and so the rich stripe colors which is sort of like a cinnamon color, cayenne and turmeric (if you think of the seasonings) was perfect. Those types of colors are just very rich. I used cotton fabric to lay out my design and I didn't sew anything at first, I just laid it out. I chose a 36 [inches.] by 36 [inches.] back drop and I laid that down and I started laying my fabric pieces on top trying to decide what I wanted to do. Like I said, I created the road first and then at the end of the road I had the presidential seal and then a small image of Obama's family after he was chosen as president elect. Then I was like what can I do to balance this piece out that still tells the story. I then thought of hands and I'm looking through my little journal, and I had drawing of a pair of hands. One hand is black, one hand is white because of his ancestry and then I called that the ancestor's hands and from the hands there was a growth of foliage. There was some other fabric that I had saved and it had sort of a grayish black and white type of foliage and I cut that out to the shape that I wanted and that was about the growth leading up to the change that he is promising to bring to America but even though it was foliage it was dark, but I thought about the dark times and things people had to go through in order to get to that day. After that growth emerges up the side, the right side of the piece then there was a red heart or flower and it's in bloom and from that flower was emerging the words about hope and change and humility and all that. On the opposite side, which is the left hand side I used the same foliage but inside there was a vignette inside the foliage that showed a little bit about civil rights, there is a pair of feet and that was symbolic of the marching, there is a bus that was symbolic of Rosa Park and the bus boycott and then there was a tiny image of a shackle and that is for slavery and then there was a stack of books which is education and then I had the word vote because of the voter registration and all that people had to endure to have the right to vote. There is a growth that is going around this little encapsulation and then it goes up the path and at the end of that growth is a door and the door is slightly ajar and the dove is emerging through the door and it has keys in its beak and the keys are symbolic for a brighter day, brighter future and not just for one group, but for all people. That is how the piece came to be. It just started to unfold as I was laying my pieces out. Once everything was in place then I started actually attaching it down. And it was just an overwhelming feeling to be chosen, but to also be able to have everything ready. I didn't have to go out and buy anything. All I had to do was just go to my studio and just start using what I had. That was really great for me.

KM: Is this typical of how you work?

EPP: You know I don't have a specific style of working. What I do, I guess to someone they would say it is a specific style, but to me it's just that I get an idea and let that brew and sometimes I will get an idea from a title, sometimes from a feeling, sometimes from something someone has said. So I work things over in my head for a long time and then just start working from there. I have a strange way of getting to a finished product. I have the process that goes on first. I don't always have to lay it out on paper. I can work it in my head. One thing I've learned to do is to trust my instincts. If I start doing something and it doesn't go exactly like I had in my head I don't fight it, I let it take the path it wants to go in and work with that because like I said I learned the hard way that sometimes when you try to force something that is exactly what it is, it is forced and it doesn't flow smoothly. I have a strange way of working and laying out things, but it works for me.

KM: Do you know why there were limitations of images and no slavery?

EPP: I think because when you have forty-four people that are going to create a quilt and you don't give them limitations you could have a wall of nothing but images, because today a lot of people print up the images, print it out on fabric and then include it in the quilt and that type of thing. I think that was what Roland Freeman who curated the show was wanting to have more creativity. If you have a whole lot of images that are going to cover your fabric then you can get the quilt quickly done and maybe not necessarily telling the type of story that he wanted each person to tell. Roland Freeman is the curator of the show and he wanted everyone to just kind of tell the story from the best that they could without having to rely on all the other imagery., He said it would be okay to use a little bit of imagery if you needed to but he didn't want it to be heavily laden with it.

KM: What is the title of the exhibition?

EPP: The title, it is just "Inaugural Quilts for Obama" [Quilts for Obama: Celebrating the Inauguration of our 44th President.].

KM: Where is it going to be?

EPP: It is going to be, I'm sorry I don't have that address in front of me but it is, actually today at the Historical Society in [Washington.] D.C. and the reception is at 2:00 today. I think it is the second floor of that building.

KM: How long is it going to be up?

EPP: When I talked to him yesterday it was supposed to be up until the 31st, but he is hearing that they might want it to be up for longer. Because when we sent our quilts we were told to be prepared to be away from them for at least a couple of months. Things are unfolding because the way this all came together was so quickly. Normally when someone is curating a show it takes six months to a year to get ready for the show. Well Roland [Freeman.] was putting this together November 4 when President-elect Obama was chosen so he had a very short timeframe and so with Roland being in [Washington.] D.C. he called Carolyn Mazloomi who lives in Ohio and she in turn called the artists to find out about their participation. The way everything has been going it has just been through the phone or email and everyone is just having to kind of work feverishly in getting everything done.

KM: Have you seen any of the other quilts?

EPP: I saw a couple that was online because some people have posted their images or if they were interviewed or something then they showed pictures online. I've seen a few like that but all forty-four. No I have not.

KM: Too bad.

EPP: I'm hoping that, I don't know if it will, but I'm hoping that like a catalogue or a book or something comes from this event that we can see. For those of us that were not able to go, we can see all of the pieces together.

KM: That would be wonderful.

EPP: Yeah, that would be great.

KM: That would be wonderful. Tell me about your interest in quiltmaking.

EPP: I have a strange interest in the way it evolved because I never thought of myself as a quiltmaker, I just thought of myself as an artist. My beginning started when my mom used to make bed quilts and she always recycled our old clothing and so I would have to prepare the fabric, cut the pieces, take the waist bands off the skirts or remove zippers. And on the old pants open the legs up and just square things off. We had a jar that the buttons went in and a little bag that the zippers went into. So that was my first introduction into fabric, but I never had an interest in actually making quilts because my mom didn't know how to sew by sewing machine, she used a needle and thread. When I tried that I pricked my fingers too much so I didn't like that part of it, so I was just satisfied with helping to prepare the fabric for her. It wasn't until my being in high school that I decided to take sewing because we had to take home ec and I didn't want to take cooking because I was the oldest of seven so I already knew how to cook. I had to do a lot of cooking at home, so I took sewing. I developed such an interest in it that my grandfather bought me a sewing machine so I started sewing quite a bit. Because of lack of funds I learned how to make my own clothing. It was just a course of events. In my adult life I decided to go back to school and then I got into art school and my background was fabric and studio arts and so I learned how to dye fabric and to weave and that type of thing and then it just sort of fell back over into the quilting area. It wasn't that I went into school wanting to be a quilter or anything like that, and I still don't necessarily classify myself as a quilter. It is just that I love fabric and what ever way I could manipulate fabric. And the way that it was described to me as to what a quilt is that there is a top, and there is a middle layer and there is bottom and so therefore that is a quilt and so I went with that approach to it. Sometimes I would do soft sculptures that had all of these elements to it. It was other people that classified me as an art quilter and I just kind of went along with it, but I do other things as well.

KM: How do you define, do you define yourself as an artist?

EPP: As an artist yes, but I don't necessarily define myself as a quilter. I define myself as a multi-media artist because I like to do mosaics, I like to do sculptures and I just recently learned how to weld so I like to do a multitude of things.

KM: I would love to learn how to weld.

EPP: It is fun. It is intimidating but once you learn it it is fun.

KM: I would like to learn that.

EPP: It doesn't take very long. The best thing to do is if you want to do it is to take that step and find a good teacher. I actually took it at the junior college, so it was a class of beginners. I was the only woman there but everyone else in the class was studying to be welders. All I wanted was the basic things, you know to learn how to weld to do sculpture and things, and so once I learned the basic steps, they then let me go on my own in terms of working. I just had to kind of follow the basics like the guys. Because that was not a career choice for me I didn't have to learn all that they had to learn. You might enjoy it.

KM: Do you think you might ever combine welding and quiltmaking?

EPP: I think I would. I like to salvage things, because you know I told you very early I learned how to salvage fabric from working with my mom. I still do that. I can be--what is the word, I can be driving and see something on the side of road or old piece of furniture or something and I salvage it and I kind of try to figure out how can I give it a new life, so it would be fun to figure out how to maybe create some type of armature or frame or something that is small enough to be inside and then I could incorporate fabric to it some how. I would love to do that. I love to marry different things together and see how it works. If it doesn't work, I would just try something else. I love trying to do that.

KM: How do you balance your time?

EPP: I don't. [laughs.] Art is my life. So I'm doing that all of the time and then when I'm not doing it I try to spend more time with my husband and of course my daughter or just kind of go to gatherings or something like that. I'm still gathering information even when I'm at events because of the way I think. I will see something that might evoke a feeling in my to do list, you know you store things away. Like, you might see something and you store it away for a future reference and that is the way I do, not necessarily that I'm going through everyday trying to get information, its just that if something comes up I just kind of file it away and then come home and I might jot it down for future reference for something I might want to try. Even though when I do other things to balance out the art, the idea of art, is not very far away. That works great for me because if art was taken from my world all of a sudden and I couldn't do it anymore, then that would really be the end of my life because I'm so in tune to it and want to do it all the time. I actually dream about art. When I'm looking at movies on TV, I'm looking in the background to see what is on the wall and the way the furniture is even though I'm watching the story too, so I'm just very into it.

KM: Do you belong to any art or quilt groups?

EPP: Mostly online. There is a quilter's group I belong to and I join a lot of different groups as well. There is a mosaic group that I belong to, and actually there are about two or three other quilting groups I belong to. I will work with some of the quilting groups because they will have those round robins where you just kind of do your own thing you know creating a fabric square and then pass it on to the next person, etc. So I will participate in a lot of things like that, so that just keeps me involved with other people in doing the arts and I learn a lot about something that maybe I haven't done or would like to do, or just do it for the inclusion of it all. I enjoy doing things like that because by doing that it takes me back to that feeling when I was in art school and you had lots of people to be around, the creative people. And there was a painting class right across the hall from you or the sculpture class is in the next building or something like that. Even though this is the internet, it still gives me that feel of participation and giving and taking and that type of thing. Right here in town where I live, I'm the most creative person I know so if there are a lot of things going on it would be something that I would have to pull together and that type of thing. There is no group. There has always been talks of quilting groups but it just never came to be. I have to get my creativity and group participation where I can.

KM: Describe your studio.

EPP: My studio is in my basement and I hate to call it the basement because you know when you say basement that's what you think of, but that is where my studio is. But actually I work all over my house but in terms of storing my stuff it is in the studio. That is where my sewing machine is and a lot of my supplies. When I'm working on an art quilt and I do the basic sewing and it is all laid out, then I will come upstairs and do any needed hand work. I might sit in front of the TV and do some hand sewing on my art piece. Actually, the studio is wherever I am.

KM: How do you quilt your quilts?

EPP: After I've laid them out and get everything the way I want, then I do a lot of machine stitching. Once I do my machine stitching, a lot of times there is some hand stitching that is going to go someplace. Hand stitching for me, well you know to make a whole quilt by hand is too slow and I get anxious so I don't like to do that. I think it takes me back to when I was little. The slowness of it all. Well some people say they get a lot of joy in doing a whole lot of hand stitching. It is okay, but it is not my first love. I love the sewing machine. I actually lay things out that way first and so sometimes I add embellishments like buttons or beads or something like that, so sometimes there is a lot of hand stitching. That is okay because then it is just doing the finishing work. But to create a whole quilt by hand I think that would be torture.

KM: What advice would you offer someone starting out?

EPP: I would, regardless of what your passion was in terms of the creativity, do it for you. I think that helps a lot because when you start something and you are trying to do it to please other people then you run into a lot of road blocks because you are waiting for validation from everyone when the validation should really come from yourself, when you are doing what brings you joy and what you want to spend your life time doing. That is what has worked for me for years, is just creating for me. When someone else like it, that is a plus, that is icing on the cake, but whenever I do, even when I did the "Road to Redemption" I went into my zone and I was laying it out the way I wanted to see it. I wasn't thinking about what other people are going to say about it, or if other people are going to like it. It satisfied me. I was able to put all of my emotions into it, and that would be my advice for anyone, whatever you are doing, put you into it and let it go from there because once I started on the "Road to Redemption" it sparked a whole series. Normally I don't do series, but now I'm doing a series based on that quilt and I'm on number three, and I can't believe I'm on number three, actually I finished number three and I can't believe it because I started November 13, this is just now January 11, and I have finished my third quilt and I've started on the fourth one. I dream about the other three that I'm going to sew.

KM: Wow, so that is six.

EPP: No, I'm going to do seven. I'm going to do a series of seven and I've already got my titles wrote out so once I decided I was going to do this the titles started coming first and then I started creating pieces to go with the title and it is all with the same background fabric which is the curtain that I was telling you about. It is all that same color and that is the only connection. Well, that is not the only connection, the connection of the fabrics being the same. The image of Obama will be some where in the pieces as well, but just making it work for each title is a challenge. After I did "Road to Redemption," then the second title was called "A Bright and Sunny Day" and then I went on like that. The one that is called "A Bright and Sunny Day" is going to go to the show for Sue Walen.

KM: Tell me more about it.

EPP: That was based on when Obama came to St. Louis and 100,000 people were there and it was just a bright and sunny day. It was a very beautiful day and I just remembered that image and so on that quilt. There is an image of a sun and then there is an image of the people and then I took the, embroidered collar from a dashiki that someone had given me and used it to create a circle and placed it around the group of people and at the base of that circle is a pair of hands, again my black and white hands for the ancestry and it is touching this circle as if some one would be peering into a portal seeing what is going on. I recycled a t-shirt that had and there is the American flag on it and it also had three daisies and so in those three daises there are images of Obama in the center and to the left is an image of his grandmother and to the right is the image of his wife. Then I have a tree, and to me tree is symbolic of strength and stamina. A tree goes through a lot with all the climatic changes and stuff, and through it all the tree is still there. Sometimes it might topple a little bit but basically the tree is still there. On the tree, I have words of hope. There is a little pool that is around the base of the tree which again that fabric came from dashiki that someone gave me and since it was blue it represented my water. Then I have a jug and the jug is tilting over and the word love is coming from the jug. It is pouring love into the healing blue water. That hopefully is symbolic and some how will touch us all and we will become more helpful and respectful of each other and think about what our likes are instead of thinking about all of our differences. Maybe think about the things that we do and share in the things that we do have in common and just kind of move in that way a little bit and people are just getting along. That is kind of what that piece is all about. The whole idea of that started with the image from him being in St. Louis. I will take one little image of something and just try to create a story line around it.

KM: Why has Obama inspired you to make so many quilts?

EPP: It is because well not just because he is an African American but, that has a lot to do with it. But it was his message. A message of inclusion for all people. It was not about black America or white America. It was just for all America and when he was talking about the United States and I really felt the meaning of that, it just touched me. I've never watched politics. My husband has always been involved in politics but when Obama ran all of a sudden I became attached to the election and was constantly watching the TV. I was watching CNN and MSNBC and I was able to talk to people about different views. If they asked me questions about, well this particular person or that, I was just watching, I was able to talk about it. I was like a fiend watching it, so I was full of emotions about the whole thing and then I just remembered about Martin Luther King and when he died. And then the title "Forty-four" came to mine. And then here and now Obama is becoming the forty-fourth president forty years after he died. It was all the emotion stirred in me and so when I watched the elections all the way up until they said President-Elect Obama I burst into tears. It was like a well running over. I just was so full of emotions so that is how all of this started, it (my creativity) is still going based on all that emotion that I was going through in the course of watching the political outcome and hearing what people were saying, even the negative things of what people were saying and how politics brings out the ugliness in some people and all and it was just taking all of those emotions and putting it together, and how can I do something with the emotions other than just feel it and wear it. That is how the series came to be. It's just so much emotions inside and it all inspired so many quilts. I chose seven because seven is the number of completion and it is a spiritual number and so I just right away knew that I was going to do seven quilts. I didn't know at the time how fast I would start doing them because I hadn't, yet finished number one, but once I finished number one then right away I had already started laying number two out. I would get to a certain point on one quilt and when I needed to rest I would then lay out my other 36 [inches.] by 36 [inches.] I had already gotten it ready, because I had prepared my whole piece of fabric because once I opened the curtain up I laid it all out the way that I wanted it to be and I cut into my equal parts and also it was just, it was just meant to be I think, it was just meant to be.

KM: What are your plans for this series?

EPP: I want to show them, and of course I want to sell them and I just want to let it go. If I could I would like to show them all together. I don't know if that is a possibility because someone already said they want to buy the one, "Road to Redemption." The third one, well there is a person that is having her annual brunch at her house every year, it is a business woman, and she calls it the Martin Luther King Brunch. This is the Obama Martin Luther King Brunch or Martin Luther King Obama Inaugural Brunch so she always has a very large cake and so the image of this third quilt is going to be on the cake. I already gave her the image yesterday so she is going to have it put on the cake. I don't know how they do that but they design it and when they get the icing on the cake it looks like the image so that quilt has to be there. I don't have a laid out plan for what is going to happen to all the quilts, I think that will be revealed to me once I finish them all. I just know I'm driven right now to get them done, and I just kind of figure it out as I go just like the way these quilts have been revealed to me. I've just been going to the next one and next one all just based on the feeling. Like I said I work from my instincts and I trust my instincts and I guess it will all be revealed in the end what is going to happen with them.

KM: Tell me more about Sue Walen's exhibit [the exhibition, "President Obama: A Celebration in Art Quilts," will be from February 9 to March 5, 2009 in the main gallery (King Street Gallery) of the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, Silver Spring, Maryland.].

EPP: The way her's came to be, Sue had put the call out for artists. It was totally different from the exhibit where I was chosen as one of the forty-four artist. It was a personal call where they asked you if you would do it, but Sue did the online call for artist from one of the quilting groups that I'm on. At that time she was trying to figure out if it could be done and trying to find a venue for it and all of that. I told her that I was interested and I would create something for it. Actually she was the first to say something online about the idea of a show, and then I got the call from Mazloomi after I had committed to Sue about doing the quilt for her exhibit. I created my first quilt. Sue's date was a little bit different than the date for the first quilt, so that way I could meet both deadlines. It would be okay. I wouldn't have to call Sue and say, 'Well I'm sorry I can't do it.' I was still able to do it so I got that quilt done now all I have to do is get it into the mail to the destination at the college and everything. It is such an irony the way it has all come about because I don't even know if Sue Walen and Carolyn Mazloomi even know each other. But being on that quilting list is how I got the information.

KM: Isn't it amazing that we have two quilt exhibits centered around one president?

EPP: Obama--I know this was has inspired so many artists. I've gone online and just did a search for Obama art quilts. It is just so amazing that not just quilts are being created but sculptures. Even CNN had a little thing on there where they were spotlighting different Obama art. They were just saying how now there is a Marvel Comic book, and it is coming out this Wednesday. He is on the cover of the comic book so he has inspired a whole group of people. It has just been great that one person can have such a positive impact. We are hoping that we don't build up something so great in ourselves that we are so let down because he is human and all of that and may not do all that he promises, but it has been such great inspiration and I know that if it has worked for anyone else as it has for me its just phenomenal because it is just such a great feeling. The world is just ready for a change. It is truly ready for a change and for everyone to be more inclusive because like we are talking back and forth on the internet. I don't know Sue. I have never met her but we are talking. There are a lot of people that I don't know but we are able to have conversations. We are not about you are black or you are white or you are this or you are that. We are talking about our general interests and that type of thing, so that is what we need in the world people being able to talk about their differences and sharing their likeness and just living and not trying to destroy anyone. That is kind of what he has inspired, I think. I could be wrong but that is the way I feel about it.

KM: How do you want to be remembered?

EPP: A lady that saw a lot and everything she did she tried to make the world a better place through her creativity. I like to tell stories through my art. I like to create my own beauty. Where there is no beauty at times I like to create it that way. I like working with people to try to help them find out what their strengths are because a lot of people say well I'm not creative I can't do this and I can't do that. We all have some strength and I like to help others define their strength. It doesn't have to be about art, even though I might use art as a vehicle but it could be that person is good at cooking or speaking or whatever and we all have a story to tell. And for the people that I work with, or am around I want to help them tell their story.

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

EPP: The biggest challenge, maybe having a venue. I don't think the challenge is creating the quilts but having a venue to show the quilts or someone to want to purchase a quilt. I think that is the biggest challenge. The easiest thing is getting the quilt together and putting your ideas in cloth and that type of thing and people like Carolyn Mazloomi, Roland Freeman, Sue Walen, those are great people to have to help quilters have a venue to show the work that they are creating. If we were always just separate and just creating and then put it to the side and then just create the next one, then no one is seeing it so the biggest challenge is just having the right people to help get your work out there, to set up things so that they can be seen and hopefully be bought.

KM: Is it difficult to let go of the quilts?

EPP: Not for me, I don't know for other people but not for me, because my satisfaction is in the creative part. The process and the end results of it, that is where I get my satisfaction. I always have them professionally photographed so I have an image of it and I have the feeling that goes along with it and I record the story to go along with the image and I'm okay. It is just like your children, you don't hold them up under you for ever. You set them forth and set them free and that type of thing. That is the same thing I do with my art, I'm okay.

KM: Is there any piece you made that you won't sell?

EPP: I do have some pieces on my wall that I have not sold and won't sell because they were just for me. I've had people that have admired them and all but I will just say no that is for me. There is a lot of things that I create as gifts for the sake of getting that feeling out and I'm okay about letting it go. Special pieces I do have them.

KM: Tell me about your special pieces. What makes them special and why do you want to keep them?

EPP: Because it was through my own evolvement. For a long time I was trying to find my way, what my purpose was and so a lot of times it was just self-growth are I was working through something. You know how you might feel a little bit depressed or something like that and you are working on a certain piece and as it evolves it kind of has taken bits and pieces of you. And by putting those emotions into the art then there is such a revelation or release so pieces like that are what I have up on my wall. Now not every single thing on the wall has that same attachment, some pieces that are on the wall that I have actually sold. But there are some things I won't sell just because it has that type of meaning for me. It is about something that I worked through or something that I felt was just something I need just for me. Something I need to look at or I need to have around me. I go in that direction. It is not that I start working on something and say that as I'm creating it that this piece is going to be just for me. It is usually just the feeling it evokes at the end of the time that I finish it that I might say, 'No this is something that is special, it only has a meaning for me.' Someone else might like it, but it has a special meaning for me so I don't want to let it go.

KM: What does your family think of your art work?

EPP: My children actually used to think that I was magical because when they were little they would see a lot of stuff, when I was doing a sculpture or sewing or whatever they would see a lot of stuff on the table or some place in the house and when they would wake up it would be in a different form. They never saw the process of what I was going through because I would put them to bed because I needed that quiet time. And also to them I've always been an artist that is what they always knew about me. They were born into it and my kids are grown now and so they have to tell their own story about how they feel about my art, but they don't know, they don't know me any other way. Mommy just always created and that type of thing. Now that my children, my oldest son, well my oldest son is deceased but the next oldest son is a therapist, because I'm also an art therapist and he went into therapy because he likes to work with children. He lives in Miami, Florida so he does that type of work. My daughter loves to make candles, but two of my grandchildren are artists, they just seem to come out of the womb wanting to create. It skipped kids but came to my grandchildren. They like it and of course when they want something on their wall or something like that, 'Mom, what do you have or what can you do?' or that type of thing. I love to give art, I love to sell art too, but I love to give art to my friends as special gifts, special anniversaries or birthdays or something like that, something that is personal from me to them that is designed just for them.

KM: Is there anything you would like to add before we conclude?

EPP: I think that I've shared pretty much with you, the series, I don't know what will evolve from that or what is going to evolve each day because I've gotten quite a bit of interviews based on me creating that first quilt. I've been interviewed quite a few times before, but not quite like this. I don't know what is going to be at the end of this, in terms of my creative world so I'm just looking forward to watching it unfold and just enjoying the ride and just enjoying my creativity and being the best artist that I can be. You know how everybody makes a New Year's resolution about losing weight and that type of thing, my New Year's resolution is always to be a better person than I was the year before and that goes along with my art as well, just being the best artist that I know how to be.

KM: Tell me a little bit about art therapy. Do you use quiltmaking at all in your art therapy?

EPP: I do a lot of workshops and I combine both the art therapy and the creativity. I don't necessarily go into a group saying this is therapeutic. What I do for instance when someone asks me, to do a workshop for them is to have them tell me what they want, what do they want to achieve. Especially if they have a theme in mind, what they want to achieve, and then I create something around that. I like to do chairs with children and I've done a lot of those. There was a school that was getting rid of a lot of the old school chairs; you know the little wooden chairs. So I collected quite a few of them, and I've done workshops with children where they were each given a chair but when they looked at the chairs they said I don't want this chair because the chair is all dirty and that type of thing. So they have to wash and clean the chair and then they have to prepare the chair to accept paint, you know to give it a new life. After cleaning the chair I teach them how to put a primer on it and then while the primer is drying I have them draw a design on some paper, because they are going to change the seat of that chair, and the back of the chair. They have to give that chair a new life, the kind of life that they would want it to have. When they are drawing there can't be any gang signs, can't be anything negative, also there can't be anything vulgar. It has to be just an honest drawing. After I okay the drawing then I show them how to translate that drawing from the paper onto that chair and that type of thing. After the drawing is on the chair, (whatever age group they are) it will be drawings based on what they can do. Then I teach them how to preserve the drawing, like putting the sealant on it and that type of thing. The whole workshop is about self-esteem, but of course I'm not telling the kids that it is about self-esteem. They are taking that chair from where it was to where it is and all of a sudden you can see the pride in their faces, because they can tell you every step of the way how they got to create that chair and they take great ownership and great pride in the outcome. So that is how I kind of include art therapy into any art workshop that I'm doing. Whether it is for children or whether it is for an adult, I will take the feeling of what it is that I'm supposed to be working on with them, whether self-esteem or whether it is about fulfillment. I've also worked with cancer survivors and so I did a thing about wellness and prosperity that I included into the projects that we were doing and I built my activity around that so they can get the type of fulfillment they need. That is how I include the art in the art therapy.

KM: I want to thank you for taking time out of your day and sharing with me. Good luck with completing your Obama series.

EPP: You are welcome. Like I said, I've started on number four already and I'm mid-way through that so I know that at the end of creating these seven quilts I'm probably going to pass out.[both laugh.] I can tell you that upfront, I'm going to pass out because I can feel my exhaustion coming but at the same time I feel exhilarated. I just feel excited, like someone running the marathon, they are exhausted, but they just can't give up they have to stay on the path. That is the way I am.

KM: That is a great way to conclude our interview, so thank you so much.

EPP: Thank you. And we were not even interrupted.

KM: No, we were not. We are going to conclude our interview at 11:13.