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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Okay, this is an interview of the Q.S.O.S. Quilter's Save Our Stories project of The Alliance for American Quilts.

Segment Synopsis: Steiner introduces Chambers for the interview of the Quilter's Save Our Stories project of the The Alliance for American Quilts. Chambers currently lives in Mena, Arkansas.

Keywords: Mena, Arkansas; Quilt Alliance; Sharon Gaylord Chambers

GPS: Mena, Arkansas where Chambers lives.
Map Coordinates: 34.5862, -94.2397
00:00:47 - Tell me about the quilt you brought in today.

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Partial Transcript: It is a folk art quilt. I was teaching in Texas with a small group and wanted to share my enthusiasm about just taking patterns, putting them together and creating a folk look.

Segment Synopsis: The quilt that Chambers brought in is a folk art quilt. It was kind of a mystery quilt because Chambers did not know what the end result would look like. Chambers used a plaid background for this quilt.

Keywords: Fabric - Plaid; Quilt Purpose - Teaching or learning sample; Teaching quiltmaking; folk art

GPS: Texas where Chambers belongs to a small group of quilters.
Map Coordinates: 31.9686° N, 99.9018° W
00:02:07 - What special meaning does this quilt have for you?;Why did you choose this quilt to bring to the interview?;What do you think someone viewing your quilt might conclude about you?;How do you use this quilt?; What are your plans for this quilt.

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Partial Transcript: It just, as I have progressed in my quiltmaking I tend to lean towards that style, more than anything else so it represents me and something that I have done and way of being creative.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers feels this quilt exemplifies the quiltmaking style that she has become known. It represents her current approach, which she calls “folk art quilting.” She brought it to the interview because she perceived it as “different,” particularly due to its use of plaid. She feels the quilt shows her creativity and ability to “think outside the box.” Chambers brought this quilt to the interview because it was so different. The way the quilt was put together was a good representation of folk art quilting. Chambers thinks that someone could conclude about her that she can be creative and that she is outside the box sometimes. Also, that she encourages her friends to be a little more outside the box. Chambers uses her quilt as a wall hanging display at her house. Chambers do not have any plans for her quilt.

Keywords: Fabric - Plaid; Quilt Purpose - Home decoration; creativity; display; hanging; style

00:04:15 - Tell me about your interest in quiltmaking.

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Partial Transcript: Give me a lead as to what you mean by interest. I spend all my waking hours thinking about quilts.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers expresses that she spends all her free time thinking about quilts. She enjoys quilting and wants to continue doing that. She talks about the pleasure she has in choosing fabric and working on quilts.

Keywords: fabric

00:05:08 - At what age did you start quiltmaking?;From whom did you learn to quilt?

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Partial Transcript: I started making quilts in 1974 and so that would probably have been my mid-thirties.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers began making quilts in her mid-thirties. She made her first quilt when her husband requested she make him a quilt out of corduroy. She tried to enter this quilt into the Texas State Fair, but it was rejected.She taught herself how to quilt and her husband gives her a lot of suggestions on what quilts to make. She brings out the quilt to enjoy every October.

Keywords: Learning quiltmaking; Scrap quilts; Texas State Fair; corduroy; first quilt

00:07:03 - How many hours a week do you quilt?

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Partial Transcript: Oh I try to do two or three hours, applique in the evening, so you're probably looking at two to three hours a day, five to seven days, so that's, I'm not real quick, twenty hours, thirty hours.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers estimates that she quilts about two to three hours a day, for about five to seven days a week, she quilts about twenty to thirty hours a week.

Keywords: applique

00:07:21 - What is your first quilt memory?

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Partial Transcript: That one is hard because it starts out with the story of the corduroy quilt and I don't have any memory from childhood because there was never any quilts in our lives so that would probably be the first memory.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers does not have memory from her childhood about quilts because she was not around her any during that time. Chambers’s first quilt memory was the corduroy quilt she made for her husband. She remembers attending her first quilt show and discovering quilt shops. She began to read quilting magazines, where she heard about the International Quilt Festival.

Keywords: Dallas Quilt Guid; Dallas, Texas; International Quilt Festival; Quilt guild; Quilt shows/exhibitions; Scrap quilts; corduroy; fabric; quilt magazines; quilt store; quilting bee

00:09:14 - How does quiltmaking impact your family?

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Partial Transcript: Oh, it, that's a hard question because it impacted completely. I decorated my house with my quilts, my quilts are with me all the time, whatever project I've been living in. they. the children, grew up with having quilts on the beds, so they know and appreciate them.

Segment Synopsis: Quiltmaking has had a very big impact on Chambers's family. In addition to spending lots of time making quilts, she displays them in the home and her children used them on their beds.

Keywords: Quilt Purpose - Bedcovering; Quilt Purpose - Home decoration; children

00:09:52 - Tell me if you have ever used quilts to get through a difficult time?

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Partial Transcript: Oh yeah. Always. The, that is to me when you can sit down and quilt, actually do the hand quilting on a quilt, you can lose yourself in time, and then you have your little barrier from the world

Segment Synopsis: Chambers has used quilting to help her get through some difficult times. During her recovery time after having both knees replaced, quilting made it easier to pass the time. She likes to have a quilt to work on during uncomfortable situations.

Keywords: Hand quilting; husband; machine quilting; quilt marking; surgery

00:11:47 - What do you find pleasing about quiltmaking?

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Partial Transcript: Taking, the finished product when you finally finish one and it looks good and you’re proud of it that is an accomplishment, it’s like raising a child.

Segment Synopsis: What Chambers finds pleasing about quilt making is the finished product. Chambers feels as if it is like raising a child.

Keywords: Becky Goldsmith; Hand quilting; Piece O’ Cake Designs; applique; color; design

00:13:46 - What aspects of quiltmaking do you not enjoy?

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Partial Transcript: I'm not a good machine quilter. I keep forcing myself to machine piece but I'm not a good machine piecer so I really try to avoid doing that, but I'm right in the middle of a machine piecing one now just to force myself [laughs.]

Segment Synopsis: Chambers expresses that she is not a good machine quilter. She also does not like to machine piece. She says she has to force herself to use a sewing machine and is currently using one to piece a quilt from Civil War reproduction fabrics, in order to try to keep up her skills.

Keywords: Civil War reproduction fabrics; Courthouse Square - quilt pattern; Fabric - Reproduction; Home sewing machine; Machine piecing; Machine quilting

00:14:28 - What art or quilt groups do you belong to?

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Partial Transcript: Within Mena [Arkansas.] we have a guild and there's such a thing as, and we have a wonderful quilt shop show every year here, so I've kind of moved on from the Dallas [Texas.] area because we've been here now ten years,

Segment Synopsis: Chambers belongs to a quilting guild in Mena, Arkansas, where they have quilt shows every year. Chambers has moved on from her group in Dallas, Texas because she has been in Mena for about ten years. She has a regular quilting group, with women who sit around a quilt frame in a church and socialize while hand quilting.

Keywords: Dallas, Texas; Hand quilting; Knowledge transfer; Quilt guild; Social quiltmaking activities; church; quilt shop; quilting frame

00:16:18 - Have advances in technology influenced your work? If so, how?

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Partial Transcript: Give me an example of the technology.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers is slowly progressing in using the new technology that is available. She comments on the improvements from making her own cardboard templates in the 1970s to using rotary cutters and mats. Chambers does enjoy drawing and cutting her own stuff but have enjoyed the process of not having to some days.

Keywords: Accuquilt; Cardboard templates; Long arm quilting machine; Machine applique; Plastic templates; Rotary cutter; die cutter

00:17:38 - What are your favorite techniques and materials?

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Partial Transcript: Techniques, I love applique, that's my favorite. Materials, do you mean by working with, or fabric, or?

Segment Synopsis: Chambers favorite technique is applique. Chambers favorite material is freezer paper because you can use over again when making templates.

Keywords: Plastic templates; applique; freezer paper

00:18:29 - Describe your studio/the place that you create.

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Partial Transcript: This is just a delightful place. We moved to Mena, Arkansas, we are on almost thirty acres of woods, don't want to have any pasture, don't want to have cows or chickens, and so I, we built a second garage

Segment Synopsis: Chambers favorite place to quilt is a room she had built on top of her second garage, that doubles as a guest room. She likes being able to leave her work in progress without cleaning up. Chambers says she has a huge window she can see the mountains from.

Keywords: Mena, Arkansas; Work or Studio space; fabric

00:19:53 - Do you use a design wall? If so, in what way/how does that enhance your creative process? If not, how do you go about designing your quilts?

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Partial Transcript: Yes, yeah, yes its very important. I think another tool that is important is the reducing glass.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers does use a design wall as well as a reducing glass. Chambers connects the two because when using a design wall, she looks through the reducing glass and can see the errors in her design.

Keywords: Design Wall; reducing glass

00:20:18 - What do you think makes a great quilt?;What makes a quilt artistically powerful?

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Partial Transcript: The balance of color.

Segment Synopsis: Chamber thinks that the balance of color makes a great quilt, with no element standing out above others. She mentions how she draws inspiration from antique quilts, adapting the colors and designs to make it her own.

Keywords: Antique quilts; balance; color

00:22:10 - What makes a quilt appropriate for a museum or special collection?

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Partial Transcript: Just if somebody likes it and wants to spend--[laughs.]

Segment Synopsis: Chambers first states that it must be something someone is willing to spend money on. She also notes that a quilt must be in good condition and well taken care of. She thinks the quilts in “Lone Stars III: A Legacy of Texas Quilts, 1986-2011” are museum quality.

Keywords: Antique quilts; Texas

00:22:55 - What makes a great quiltmaker?

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Partial Transcript: Oh that's, I don't know, dedication, the desire.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers says that what makes a great quiltmaker is the dedication and desire, as well as the support from others.

Keywords: dedication; desire; support

00:23:13 - Whose works are you drawn to and why?

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Partial Transcript: Oh yes. Not that I want to duplicate a lot of them, but I recognize their work and I think, "Oh yes," and quite of few of them.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers expresses that like the work of Pat Campbell and was fortunate enough to be involved with her. Chambers also took one of Campbell's classes. She mentions other artists whose work she loves.

Keywords: Jacobean applique; Libby Lehman; Pat Campbell; applique; quiltmaking classes

00:24:22 - Why is quiltmaking important to your life?

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Partial Transcript: It allows me to be somebody.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers says that quiltmaking is important to her life because it allows her to be somebody. She was a homemaker but did not want to be identified by her job. She became known as the “quilt lady.”

Keywords: Female quiltmaking; homemaker

00:25:43 - What do you think about the importance of quilts in American life?

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Partial Transcript: That’s an interesting question and that’s a harder one to come up with. I don’t see in everyday life at this present time is quilts being important in life.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers also says she does not see quilts being important in life in this present time. She thinks an individual quiltmaker’s family must appreciate the quilts for them to have importance.

Keywords: Quilt history; children; family

00:26:37 - In what ways do you think quilts have special meaning for women's history in America?;What has happened to the quilts that you have made or those of friends and family?

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Partial Transcript: Women have used the quilts to make it through the trauma in history you know, the civil war quilts, the bible quilts, its in a way they can express their feelings with their designs.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers say that women used quiltmaking a way that they can express their feelings with their designs and to cope with traumatic events. Chambers has given a few quilts to her family members, but she has kept most of them because she wants to be sure they are well-cared for. She is uncertain of what will happen to her quilts in the future.

Keywords: Civil War quilts; Female quiltmakers; Quilt Purpose - Gift or presentation; Quilt history; Quilt preservation; Quiltmaking for family; bible quilts; quilt purpose - personal expression

00:28:10 - What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today?

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Partial Transcript: I think finding time to do their craft, their art. You really have to be alone to do that.

Segment Synopsis: Chambers says that finding time to do their craft is the biggest challenge for quiltmakers. With women working outside the home, they do not have the leisure time to work on quilts.

Keywords: Female quiltmakers; Time management; art; craft

00:28:48 - Quilts in “Lone Stars III” and teaching quiltmaking

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about your quilt was in the Texas quilt book

Segment Synopsis: Chambers lastly talks about her two quilts in “Lone Stars III: A Legacy of Texas Quilts, 1986-2011,” including a Princess Feather four-block quilt in red and green and a Jacobean applique quilt. She recalls being so surprised when she learned her quilts would be published. She also talks about how she teaches for her quilting guild. She gets great pleasure from seeing how the women who take her classes bring their own creativity to her patterns.

Keywords: Barbara Hartman; Fabric – Batiks; Jacobean applique; Machine piecing; Pat Campbell; Princess Feather – quilt pattern; Quilt guild; applique; guild leadership; scrap quilts; teaching quiltmaking; “Feathered Rose”; “Lone Stars III: A Legacy of Texas Quilts, 1986-2011”

00:35:48 - Support from husband and fellow quilters

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Partial Transcript: I have just one more question, and that is because your husband is the one who suggested you start quilting, what does he think of all of this?

Keywords: Amish; Iowa; Material Girls; Pat Campbell; Quilters Newsletter Magazine; husband; quilt guild; quilt magazines; support; travel