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00:00:00 - Interview Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is Pam Schultz. Its February 12th at 10:28 and were interviewing Rosemary Davidson we are at the First United Methodist Church in Battle Creek

GPS: United Methodist Church, Battle Creek MI
Map Coordinates: 42.31637 , -85.18009
00:00:25 - Tell me about the quilt you brought in today

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Partial Transcript: This is the first quilt I made after I joined the guild.

Segment Synopsis: Davidson describes the quilt she made in 1991 to enter a challenge to mark the 10th anniversary of her guild, the Cal-Co Quilters Guild. Composed of ten pieces which meet together in the center, the quilt is made up of blue, green, and pink colors. Davidson won an award from her guild for this piece.

Keywords: Cal-Co Quilters Guild; Design process; Guild activities; Piece Quilt; Quilt Purpose - Home decoration; Quilt competitions; Quilt guild; awards; doll clothes; handwork; homemade clothes; quilt challenge; sewing

00:04:06 - Tell me about your interest in quiltmaking.

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Partial Transcript: When I was younger and the kids were younger I made--I learned to sew, actually by making doll clothes.

Segment Synopsis: Davidson began sewing at a very young age and eventually gained the skills to use her mother's Singer Sewing Machine. She recalls often watching her mother work on clothing and fabrics with the machine. She made her own wedding dress, which was later featured in a local magazine.

Keywords: Knowledge transfer; Learning quiltmaking; Scene Magazine; Singer Sewing Machine; homemade clothes; learning to sew; treadle sewing machine; wedding dress

00:06:48 - On early quilt memories and the effect of quilt making on her family

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

Segment Synopsis: Davidson notes that while recovering from accidents she has been immobile, spending most of her time at home. She does most of her work by hand, rather than with a sewing machine. She recalls learning that her mother did some quilting, making utilitarian quilts the family used. One of Davidson's sisters also makes quilts. Davidson has many boxes in her home storing her quiltmaking supplies; she relies on male family members to help her lift boxes to find what she needs.

Keywords: Embroidery; Generational quiltmaking; Knowledge transfer; Quilt Purpose--Utilitarian; applique; quilt magazines; quilt-as-you-go

00:10:33 - Experiences with quilts through good times and bad

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Partial Transcript: Tell me if you've ever used quilts to get through a difficult time.

Segment Synopsis: Davidson recalls hand quilting in a hospital waiting room while her husband was in surgery, as well as the struggle of not being able to quilt when recovering from a shoulder injury. She has had enjoyable experiences with friends attending quilt shows and contemplating why quilters make the choices they do.

Keywords: Friendship quilts; Quilt shows/exhibitions; Quiltmaking for family; quilt-as-you-go

00:12:35 - What do you find pleasing about quiltmaking?; What do you not enjoy about quiltmaking?

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Partial Transcript: The creativity part of it. You start with an idea. You then have to figure out how to make that idea become concrete and you look for--or maybe you have a particular pattern. 'Gee, that's neat

Segment Synopsis: Creativity is the key according to Davidson for making quilts. Turning idea in your mind into a physical object. It acts as a sense of self expression and represents you as a person

Keywords: Design process; English paper piecing; Foundation piecing; Hand quilting; cat; hang piecing; lighthouse quilt design; quiltmaking classes; quiltmaking process

00:15:53 - What art or quilt groups do you belong to?

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Partial Transcript: Well, I belong to the Cal-Co Quilters' Guild. On the national level I belong to the National Quilting Association. Our guild is a chapter.

Segment Synopsis: For years Davidson has been a member of quilt organizations on a local and national level.

Keywords: Cal-Co Quilters Guild; Hospice Quilts; National Quilting Association (NQA); binding; guild activities; hand sewing

00:16:33 - On technology, fabric choices, techniques, and studio

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Partial Transcript: Have advances in technology influenced your work?

Segment Synopsis: Davidson notes the difficulty she has in using a rotary cutter because she does not have the strength to hold the acrylic ruler firmly. She prefers cotton fabrics. She notes some techniques she uses, as well as hints and tricks, such as freezer paper for applique and buttons for the centers of flowers. Many are made in the comfort of her home.

Keywords: Applique; Embellishment techniques; Fiber - Cotton; Fiber - Cotton or polyester blend; Rotary cutter; Technology in quiltmaking; Work or Studio space; button; ruler

00:19:43 - How do you balance your time?

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Partial Transcript: Well right at the moment I do nothing long term except sit but I do something active and then I'll feel like sitting down then I'll sit down and quilt a little bit and then I'll get some new energy and up and at them.

Segment Synopsis: Davidson generally sits down and quilts for periods of time between chores. She tries to balance her time but its gotten more difficult as shes gotten older. Her design wall is composed of styrofoam and an old piece of flannel.

Keywords: Design Wall; Quilt Purpose - Home decoration; Time management; flannel; quilt-as-you-go; quiltmaking process; styrofoam

00:21:51 - What do you think makes a great quilt?;What makes a quilt artistically powerful?;What makes a quilt appropriate for a museum or special collection?

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Partial Transcript: Good workmanship. Good choice of fabrics that go together. And carry out whatever idea the quilter had, providing if they had--if you go to a show and the quilter said I did this because of so-and-so. I think that's important.

Segment Synopsis: Davidson discusses that making a good quilt requires workmanship, unique patterns and fabrics, as well as creating your own ideas. According to Davidson age and uniqueness are what make quilts appropriate for a collection or museum. Davidson's own quilt may be valuable to her but maybe not to someone else.

Keywords: Antique quilts; Cal-Co Quilters Guild; Fabric - Multiple scrap; National Quilt Museum (Paducah); Published work - Patterns; Workmanship; community quilts; historical quilts

00:23:58 - Experimental Aviation Association quilt

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Partial Transcript: Twice this aviation organization that I belong to [Experimental Aviation Association.] asked each year for quilt blocks for a display that had to do with aviation. And for two different years I entered a block. They both were accepted

Segment Synopsis: Davidson twice created aviation inspired quilts for a contest sponsored by the Experimental Aviation Association. She based one upon a World War I era airplane and the other an A-10 fighter jet. These quilts received honorable mentions and fifth place among the Experimental Aviation Association quilt blocks.

Keywords: Embroidery; Experimental Aviation Association; Experimental Aviation Association Museum (Oshkosh, WI); Harriet Quimby; Iraq War; Quilt Purpose - Memorial; World War I; airplane; awards; quilt contest

00:27:36 - What makes a great quiltmaker?

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Partial Transcript: A patient person, for one thing, because these are not things you can hurry.

Segment Synopsis: According to Davidson, great quiltmakers are patient and cannot rush the process. Sometimes one must take a step back and rethink and wait, rather than hurry through a quilt's creation.

Keywords: Patience; Workmanship; quiltmaking proces

00:28:47 - Whose works are you drawn to and why?

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Partial Transcript: I like historic-type quilts.

Segment Synopsis: Davidson finds modern art quilts visually appealing, they don't connect to her the same way antique quilts do, since they are part of our history. She recently saw a quilt dated to 1830. Davidson can't pinpoint any particular artist but she enjoys Joe Cunningham and Gwen Marston's s rose and tulip quilts.

Keywords: "American Beauties: Rose and Tulip Quilts"; Gwen Marston; Joe Cunningham; Modern quiltmaking; Modern quilts; Quilt history; antique quilts; art quiltmaking; machine quilting; pioneers

00:30:44 - How do you feel about machine quilting vs. hand quilting? What about long-arm quilting?

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Partial Transcript: I think my attitude has come through. Machine quilting is beautiful and if that is the way you like to do things, fine.

Segment Synopsis: For Davidson, machine quilting takes away the soothing characteristics of the process. Though she knows how to use a sewing machine there is much more personal connection with the quilt when doing it by hand. She enjoys the diversity in quiltmaking, noting that if a quilter wants to use burlap bags to make quilts, that is fine with her. She admires the workmanship of machine and longarm quilting, although she chooses not to do it herself. She notes how expensive longarm quilting is.

Keywords: Hand quilting; Longarm quilting; Machine quilting

00:32:31 - On the role of quiltmaking in her life, community, and in American life

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Partial Transcript: Why is quiltmaking important to your life?

Segment Synopsis: Quiltmaking gives her something to do with her hands. It helps her feel busy and stave off arthritis. She recalls making a Michigan themed quilt, featuring the mitten shape of Michigan and the state bird. She notes that nature has inspired other of her quilts. She gives an overview of what she knows about quilt history, drawing back to knights and armor.

Keywords: Age of Chivalry; American Quilter's Society (AQS); Michigan; Quilt Purpose; Quilt Purpose - Personal enjoyment; Quilt Purpose -- utilitarian; Woman in Quilting; art quilts; arthritis; church; knights; nature; pioneers; quilt history; quilt label

00:37:10 - How do you think quilts can be used?;How do you think quilts can be preserved for the future?

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Partial Transcript: Well it depends on what kind of quilt it is.

Segment Synopsis: Davidson discusses the various purposes of quilts. Crazy quilts, for example, were made out of delicate fabrics and draped across pianos, while a utilitarian quilt can be a picnic blanket. For her quilts can be used in a variety of different ways for the future but mainly as show pieces. It all depends on the quilt maker and their intentions.

Keywords: Crazy quilts; Future quilts; Preservation; Quilt Purpose - Artistic expression; Quilt Purpose - Exhibition; Quilt Purpose - Personal enjoyment; Quilt shows/exhibitions

00:38:58 - What has happened to the quilts that you have made or those of friends and family? What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today?

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Partial Transcript: Well, I cannot speak for the quilts that I have made for my nephews, nieces, great nephews and nieces.

Segment Synopsis: Davidson has made quilts for many different family members, mostly as weddings gifts. She made one quilt in particular for her niece, which resulted in Davidson's first engagement with the guild. Davidson's niece still holds on to her quilt and makes sure that it is not thrown away and that it is cherished for years to come. Finally Davidson describes how time management is the biggest problem for quilt makers today, however the materials are available to help.

Keywords: Cal-Co Quilters Guild; Future quiltmakers; Materials; Quilt Purpose - Gift or presentation; Quilt Purpose - Home decoration; Quilt Purpose - Wedding; Quiltmaking for family; Raffle Quilt; Time management