Interview with Sally Ambrose, October 4, 2002

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Today is October the 4th, 2002.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer introduces her subject for her interview, Sally Ambrose. The interview is being conducted as a part of the Quilters’ S.O.S. Oral History Project.

00:00:17 - Quilt brought for the interview

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about the quilt you brought in today, Sally.

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose discusses how the quilt was first started by her husband’s grandmother for her son, who was killed before it was finished. Ambrose talks about how other family members contributed to the quilt and her personal difficulties with finishing the quilt. She tells the story of the son who was killed. She then talks about who she will give the quilt to and how she intends to keep the story with the quilt.

Keywords: Fabric arts; Fabrics; Family heirlooms; Family stories; Finishing projects; Quilt stories; Women and quilting

Subjects: Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Family; Family histories; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:02:40 - Beginnings in quilting

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about your interest in quilting. How--when did you start quilting?

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose discusses taking quilting classes and how she moved beyond those classes and began quilting her own patterns. She talks about her other family members who are quilters. She tells the interviewer what she does with her quilts, mostly displaying them at her home.

Keywords: Decorative quilts; Family quilters; Practical quilts; Quilting classes; Quilting patterns

Subjects: Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:04:00 - Favorite aspect of quilting / Qualities of a great quilt

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Partial Transcript: Tell me what you find pleasing about quilting.

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose talks about how designing quilts is her favorite part of quilting, as she now has arthritis and cannot quilt for a long period of time. She believes the stories behind a quilt make it a great quilt, more-so than the quality of the fabric or the construction of the quilt. She details the personal story of making the quilt which she brought to the interview, including the emotional process of creating a quilt with such a personal family story.

Keywords: Art quilts; Aspects of quilting; Crafting; Craftwork; Emotional connections; Family stories; Personal enjoyment

Subjects: Arthritis; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Family histories; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:05:42 - Technical aspects of quilting

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Partial Transcript: Are you a n--are you a hand quilter? Or are you a machine quilter?

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose discusses how she prefers to quilt by hand, and her favorite part of quilting: designing.

Keywords: Hand quilting; Machine quilting; Quilting preferences; Technical aspects of quilting

Subjects: Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Machine sewing; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:05:59 - Personal importance of quilting

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Partial Transcript: Why is quilting important to your life?

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose talks about why quilting is so important to her. She discusses the various people she has met through quilting and the importance of the community within quilting. Ambrose then discusses how quilts are a common thread amongst people in American culture. She talks about the aspects of a quilt which make it artistically powerful and the qualities of quilts which are put in museums and special collections. Ambrose discusses the mission of quilts and how a quilt can be considered “museum quality” even if it is not a technically “quality” quilt.

Keywords: American quilts; Commonality; Exhibit quilts; Museum quilts; Quilt communities; Quilt culture; Quilting as an art

Subjects: Community; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:07:57 - Uses for quilts / Qualities of a great quilter

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Partial Transcript: How do you think quilts can be used?

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose discusses the various expressive qualities of quilts. She also talks about the wide variety of practical uses of quilts, as decorations and blankets. Ambrose then talks about the emotional qualities of a great quilter. She declines to answer a question about using quilting to get through a difficult emotional time.

Keywords: Art quilts; Decorative quilts; Emotional connections; Emotional qualities; Expressive qualities of quilts; Practical quilts

Subjects: Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Emotions; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:09:27 - Memories of quilting

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Partial Transcript: How do you think quilters learn the art of quilting?

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose talks about learning quilting from other quilters. She tells the interviewer a personal anecdote about watching her grandmother quilt as a child. Ambrose recalls creating her first quilt, which was a quilt for her newborn niece. She tells the story of creating this quilt and what happened to it after she created it.

Keywords: Baby quilts; Creating quilts; Creative processes; Family quilters; Novice quilters; Tomboys

Subjects: Children; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Family; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:11:54 - Plans for the quilt brought in for the interview / Preservation of quilts

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Partial Transcript: What are your plans for this particular quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose talks about giving the quilt she brought for the interview to her son. Ambrose discusses how she believes quilts can be preserved for the future by being given proper care and giving people the stories which go along with the quilt in order to foster appreciation.

Keywords: Family heirlooms; Family stories; Future of quilts; Quilt care; Quilt preservation; Textile preservation

Subjects: Children; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Family; Family histories; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:12:53 - Machine quilting versus hand quilting

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Partial Transcript: How do you feel about machine quilting versus hand quilting?

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose discusses her preferences regarding machine quilting and hand quilting.

Keywords: Hand quilting; Machine quilting; Personal preferences

Subjects: Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:13:17 - Quilts given as gifts / Quilter friends

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Partial Transcript: You talked a little bit--bit about the quilt that you made for your niece?

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose talks about how the people she has given quilts to use them in their homes, as a decoration or as practical blankets. She discusses how most of her close friends are quilters and talks about how she has become close with her fellow quilt appraisers.

Keywords: Appraisal of quilts; Common interests; Community friends; Quilt appraisers; Quilting communities; Textile appraisals

Subjects: Community; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:14:34 - Quilting in her home region

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Partial Transcript: How are quilts reflected in your community or your region?

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose discusses the quilters in the community she lives in and how it is beginning to venture into art quilting, usually preferring traditional quilting patterns.

Keywords: American quilts; Art quilting; Art quilts; Community quilters; Quilting in America; Traditional quilts

Subjects: Community; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:15:38 - Hours per week spent quilting

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

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose discusses how her arthritis limits her quilting abilities, keeping her interest in quilting through appraising quilts.

Keywords: Arthritic pain; Older women; Physical pain; Quilt appraisers

Subjects: Arthritis; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:16:07 - Sewing groups

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Partial Transcript: Do you belong to a sewing group, or a bee, or a guild?

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose discusses the sewing group she belongs to and how it has no common goal. They show and tell their pieces and enjoy each other’s company.

Keywords: Quilting groups; Sewing circles; Sharing projects; Women and crafting

Subjects: Community; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:16:26 - Miscellaneous questions

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Partial Transcript: Have you ever used your quilting as part of, uh, a way to help others, such as fundraisers?

Segment Synopsis: Ambrose talks about how she makes baby quilts for fundraisers and full-size quilts for disenfranchised boys. Ambrose discusses how she has never been involved in commercial aspects of quilting. She also talks about how she teaches quilting to friends, but not in a class setting. Ambrose discusses her travels from quilting, particularly in quilt appraising. She tells the interviewer about her quilt and fabric collections. Ambrose talks about various groups she has been a part of in relation to quilting.

Keywords: Appraisers; Baby quilts; Commercial quilting; Fabric arts; Fabrics; Full-size quilts; Fundraiser items; Quilt appraisers; Quilts for charity; Teaching quilting; Textile careers; Travelling for work

Subjects: : Quilts; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Textile artists; Textiles; Women