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00:00:02 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Uh, this Helen Kamphuis

Segment Synopsis: Introduction by the interviewer, Helen Kamphuis, of Marilyn Mowry and her quilt at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.

Keywords: Houston, Texas; International Quilt Festival

GPS: Site of the International Quilt Festival
Map Coordinates: 29.752,-95.357
00:00:45 - Tell me about the quilt you brought in today.

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Partial Transcript: I have to go backwards a little bit

Segment Synopsis: Mowry introduces the quilt she brought to the festival. She describes it as inspired by a quilt from the 1840s. Mowry goes on to describe the technical characteristics of the quilt, including its setting and borders.

Keywords: Borders; Fabric – Reproduction; Houston, Texas; Husband; International Quilt Festival; Karey Bresenhan; Nancy Puentes O’Bryant; Quilt shows/exhibitions; Terry Clothier Thompson; Wild Goose Chase – quilt pattern; antique quilts; design process; fabric designer; mathematics; reproduction quilts

00:03:58 - Background and identity as a quiltmaker

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Partial Transcript: I've made 350 quilts

Segment Synopsis: Mowry estimates she has made 350 quilts. She discusses her history with quilting, and goes on to talk about the group of women she quilts with, a group called the “19th-century Patchwork Divas." Also, Mowry describes how she obtains the reproduction 19th-century style fabric she uses in her quilts. She also talks about how she began quilting and became familiar with 19th-century style quilts. Helen then asks Marilyn about her style of quilting. Marilyn talks about how she was introduced to quilting as well. Going into detail about how she became familiar with older style quilts.

Keywords: "Lone Stars III: A Legacy of Texas Quilts"; 19th Century Patchwork Divas; Dallas, Texas; Fabric – reproduction; Fort Worth, Texas; Husband; Kansas City Star Quilts (publisher); Published work – Quilts; Social quiltmaking activities; antique quilts; block exchange; guild activities; knowledge transfer; quilt shows/exhibitions; quilting bee; reproduction quilts; “History Repeated: Block Exchange Quilts by the 19th Century Patchwork Divas”

GPS: Dallas-Fort Worth
Map Coordinates: 32.800,-97.571
00:06:21 - On collaborating with the 19th-Century Patchwork Divas

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Partial Transcript: How do you get your fabric then?

Segment Synopsis: Mowry explains how she and her fellow 19th-Century Patchwork Divas obtain the reproduction fabric they use in quilts. For the particular quilt she brought to the festival, she talks about how the blocks were created by other quilters in the group and obtained through a block exchange. As inspiration, the group members use state quilt documentation books that reproduce images of historical quilts that they try to document. The group does not work together to make quilts, but collaborate remotely and get together for an annual retreat. She says that her group meets a couple times a year. After that, Marilyn elaborates on why her group of quilters does not like to work together in a group; it is logistically challenging.

Keywords: Block Exchange; Dallas, Texas; Fabric – reproduction; Fort Worth, Texas; Group; New Jersey book; Retreat; State study book; Virginia book; antique quilts; guild activities; quilt retreat; reproduction quilts; state quilt documentation project; unfinished objects (UFO); “New Jersey Quilts 1777 to 1950: Contributions to an American Tradition.”

00:09:05 - Quilt retreat

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Partial Transcript: That retreat, the idea comes, you think of what you’re going to make?

Segment Synopsis: Mowry discusses the activities she and other quilters undertake at quilt retreats. In addition to the 19th-century Patchwork Divas retreat, Mowry participates in other weekend retreats, including one in which an author and fabric designer came to teach participants new techniques.

Keywords: Author; Nebraska; Social quiltmaking activities; fabric designer; quilt retreat

00:09:47 - Quiltmakers in the family and studio space

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Partial Transcript: No, well, I think one of my sisters does make quilts, and purses

Segment Synopsis: Mowry describes her sister and mother's interest in quilting. Mowry inspired her mother to learn how to quilt. She also describes the small room in her house she uses as her workspace. She sometimes has to look for a long time to find the fabric she is looking for in her storage. Next, Mowry talks about her studio area in this section and goes on to talk about her other activities she does when she is not quilting. She mentions that her group of "divas" has deadlines, however.

Keywords: 19th-century Patchwork Divas; Family; Sewing place; Sister Work or Studio space

00:10:41 - How many hours a week do you quilt?

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Partial Transcript: Everyday, everyday. I need to decide

Segment Synopsis: In a continuation of last section, Mowry describes her life outside of quilting and how they are intertwined. While quiltmaking, she often listens to books on tapes. She takes breaks to garden. Her 19th-century Patchwork Divas group has deadlines for projects, and she feels compelled to work hard to meet them.

Keywords: 19th-century Patchwork Divas; block exchange; exercise, Books on tape; internet

00:11:31 - More on 19th-Century Patchwork Divas and their reputation

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Partial Transcript: Why do you keep staying then in the group if they’re so--

Segment Synopsis: Marilyn talks about the difficulty of joining her quilting group. In addition, she describes the book based on the group.

Keywords: 19th-Century Patchwork Divas; Internet; Published work – Quilts; block exchange; quilt guild; quilting bee; “History Repeated: Block Exchange Quilts by the 19th Century Patchwork Divas”

00:12:52 - On working in a quilt shop

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Partial Transcript: It says on the form that you’ve also owned or worked in a quilt shop

Segment Synopsis: Marilyn talks about her time working at a quilt shop. She reminisces about the days she worked at the store, having early access to fabrics and quilt patterns.

Keywords: Fabric/Quilt shops; Quilt shop; registered nurse

00:14:02 - On her love of 19th-century quilts;How do you think quilts can be preserved for the future?

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Partial Transcript: If I understand correctly, you were very focused on the history of quilting, have you participated in other preservation projects.

Segment Synopsis: Marilyn elaborates on what attracts her to antique quilts from the 19th century. She elaborates on why she likes the particular styles. Marilyn also talks about the challenges to create the style of quilts that she does, and why that is part of the reason she quilts. Mowry goes on to describe why she is attracted to quilting and provides an odd reason. She indicates that she likes it because it has made her like colors she didn't use to like, in this case, brown, a color frequently found on 19th century quilts.

Keywords: Brown; Fabrics – reproduction; Kansas City; Kansas City Star Quilts (publisher); Preservation; Projects; Quilt guild; Quilt history; color; period; quilt labels; reproduction quilts

00:19:05 - On using hand or machine quilting on reproduction quilts

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Partial Transcript: A lot of the divas

Segment Synopsis: Mowry explains the difference between hand quilting and machine quilting and why each technique is utilized. Mowry prefers machine quilting so that she can more efficiently finish her quilts, while other members of the 19th-Century Patchwork Divas hand quilt with large stitches.

Keywords: 19th-century Patchwork Divas; Barbara Brackman; Fabric – Reproduction; Hand quilting; Husband; Machine quilting; Terry Thomas Clothier; Utility Stitch; quilt history; reproduction quilts

00:22:31 - How she uses her quilts

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Partial Transcript: You don’t sleep under your own quilts?

Segment Synopsis: Mowry says why she doesn't sleep underneath her quilts. She notes that she may run out of room for storing her quilts. Also, she talks about a time when she revisited her collection of quilts when she had visitors from Australia and it rekindled the interest in her quilts. She is uncertain what will happen to her quilts as her children do not have the appreciation for them.

Keywords: Australia; Quilt Purpose – bedcovering; Sleep; reproduction quilts

00:23:09 - Does it worry you a little?

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Partial Transcript: Yeah. I have one son who I know is gonna sell them on eBay.

Segment Synopsis: Mowry talks about the possibility of one of her sons selling her quilts on eBay if she were to pass away. She goes on to say that this may not actually happen since they realize that her work is of professional quality since it was featured in a book.

Keywords: Son; eBay

00:23:37 - The importance of quilting in her life

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Partial Transcript: Why is it important for you though?

Segment Synopsis: Mowry talks about her style of quilting again in this section. She also speaks to why she does quilting, and how she does it for what she describes as somewhat selfish reasons. She notes that quilters who prefer other styles in more contemporary fabrics do not understand her love of 19th-century style quilts.

Keywords: Blended Quilts; Brights; Fabric - Batiks

00:24:35 - On quilting as “selfish”

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Partial Transcript: Sometimes I don't dust the house.

Segment Synopsis: Mowry talks about how her quilting can be construed as selfish, but she tries to keep her husband happy though. She continues to cook meals, but admits that maybe she spends too much time quilting.

Keywords: Dust; House; Husband; Meal; housework

00:25:03 - Which artists have influenced you?

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Partial Transcript: One that walked in this shop the other day

Segment Synopsis: In this section, Mowry discusses some contemporary quilters who have influenced her, as well as how she finds inspiration in some of the state quilt documentation project books, including those from Virginia, New Jersey, and the Carolinas.

Keywords: Barbara Brackman; Carolinas; Fabric - Plaid; Fabric - Reproduction; New Jersey; Published work – Quilts; Roberta Horton; State quilt documentation projects; Terry Clothier Thompson; Virginia; antique quilts; fabric designer

00:26:36 - Her desired quiltmaking legacy

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Partial Transcript: How do you want to be remembered as a quiltmaker?

Segment Synopsis: Mowry indicates that quilting isn't something she is overly concerned with being remembered for. She even goes on to say that she certainly doesn't want anything quilting-related on her tombstone.

Keywords: Daughters of the American Revolution; Proficient; Tombstone; legacy

00:27:26 - What aspects of quiltmaking do you not enjoy?

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Partial Transcript: I hate New Orleans stars

Segment Synopsis: Mowry talks about the aspects of quilting she doesn't like in this section, including several patterns she does not enjoy making. One part that she doesn't like is the repetition, such as having to make 50 blocks of the same thing for a block exchange.

Keywords: Courthouse Steps – quilt pattern; New Orleans Stars – quilt pattern; Wild Goose Chase – quilt pattern; block exchange

00:28:28 - On her son’s impressions of his father’s contributions to her quilting

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Partial Transcript: What do you plan with this quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Although she doesn't answer the question really, Mowry offers up an interesting anecdote about dropping her son off at the University of Texas and how her son was worried that the father would become involved in quilting and become effeminate.

Keywords: Father; House; Husband; Junior; Lottery; University of Texas

00:29:51 - What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today?

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Partial Transcript: The price of fabric, as cotton supposedly is going way up.

Segment Synopsis: In this section, Mowry predicts future issues that may arise in quilting. One example she brought up was a failure in the cotton crop in China, which could result in high prices for cotton. She also worries about the future of small local quilt shops.

Keywords: China; Design process; Fabric/Quilt shops; Fiber - Cotton; price; quilt shop

00:31:43 - Feelings about having her quilt published

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Partial Transcript: When you were invited for the interview, what message did you want to bring across?

Segment Synopsis: Mowry talks about how she was humbled by being presented in the "Lone Stars III: A Legacy of Texas Quilts" book.

Keywords: "Lone Stars III: A Legacy of Texas Quilts"; 19th-Century Patchwork Divas; quilt history

00:33:22 - Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Yes

Segment Synopsis: Mowry and Kamphuis conclude the interview.