Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Joyce Starr Johnson, November 1, 2001

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:01 - Family and quilting

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Today is November 1st, 2001. This is Jana Hawley at the International Quilt Festival interviewing in--quilter, Joyce Starr Johnson.

Segment Synopsis: Johnson has brought a quilt that her grandmother made in 1940. Johnson describes the pattern and colors of the quilt. When asked how she became interested in quilting, Johnson says that in graduate school, one of her peers became pregnant and the others decided to make a quilt for the new mother. Johnson was mostly self-taught, but did take some workshops. She uses more traditional patterns with nontraditional color combinations. When asked about the impact that quilting has on the rest of her family, Johnson says that she thinks her husband and son wish the quilting things weren't laying around or that she doesn't need a whole room for her sewing things.

Keywords: 336; 648; 1940; Ancestry; Clutter; Color coordinated; Crib quilts; Daughters; Experimentation; Family; Generations; Graduate schools; Grandmother's flower garden; Hexagons; History; Hobbies; Impact; Keepsakes; Lessons; Log cabin pattern; Memories; Nontraditional color combinations; Paternal grandmothers; Patterns; Personal interests; PhD; Primary colors; Print; Quilting; Quilting books; Quilting--Periodicals.; Quilts; Solid; Stitches; Traditional patterns; Wear; Whole cloth quilts; Workshops

Subjects: Artists; Fabrics; Quilting--United States--Patterns.; Quilting.; Quiltmakers--United States.; Quilts--Design.; Quilts--United States--Exhibitions.; Textile artists

00:08:55 - Quilting as therapy / The value of process and aesthetics in quiltmaking

Play segment

Partial Transcript: For many quilters, uh, the process is therapy. Has there been a time in your life when quilts have served as, as a way of getting through a difficult time?

Segment Synopsis: Johnson says that there was a time when all she wanted to do was lay in bed, but she forced herself to go downstairs and quilt, which helped her. When asked about what she considers to be a great quilt, Johnson talks about aesthetics and dedication, and how even when a quilt isn't aesthetically pleasing, she can still recognize the work put into it and admire it. She values innovation in patterns and color in a quilt's construction. For Johnson, a quilt not only is fine art, but can be representative of how people lived.

Keywords: Admiration; Aesthetics; Art; Artistically powerful; Beauty; Clothing; Color; Confidence; Culture; Cutting; Dedication; Design; Enjoyment; Fine art; Great quilt; Imagination; Innate ability; Innovative; Life; Made for a reason; Museum piece; Patterns; Pleasure; Pockets of time; Process; Quality; Quilting; Therapy; Wall hangings; Wearables; Work; Worn

Subjects: Artists; Craft and art; Fabric arts; Quiltmakers--United States.; Textile artists

00:14:09 - The value of an unfinished quilt

Play segment

Partial Transcript: How is that some cultures though have a--an innate ability about design and color?

Segment Synopsis: Johnson thinks that it is okay to not finish a quilt or a creative project because, for her, it's about the process and doing much more than having a completed project to look at. She talks about the differences between machine and hand quilting and what her preferences are.

Keywords: Applique; Artistry; Colors; Confidence; Cultures; Design; Experimentation; Hand quilting; Machine quilting; Quilting; Unfinished

Subjects: Appliqué--Patterns.; Artists; Fabric arts; Quiltmakers--United States.; Quilts--Design.; Quilts.

00:18:05 - Traditions in her quilt patterns and her family

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Do you feel like your quilts that you make, uh, reflect the community or region of the country that you come from?

Segment Synopsis: When asked about how her community or region affects her quilting, Johnson says that her quilts are more traditional in their patterns and fabrics, which contrasts with her life and home that is very contemporary. She notes that quilting allows for a form of expression or art that most could do, including farm women in the past. She talks about her grandmother who tatted in quilting, and her grandfather who was an artist.

Keywords: American life; Art; Artists; Farming; Form of expression; Grandmothers; Historic; Quilting; Quilting Bees; Representation; Tatting; Traditional

Subjects: Artists; Fabric arts; Families.; Quiltmakers--United States.; Quilts--Design.; Quilts.; Textile artists

00:23:05 - Using quilts over preserving quilts

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Tell me how you think quilts should be used. A finished quilt, how should you use it?

Segment Synopsis: Johnson is asked how she thinks quilts should be used, and she talks about making baby quilts, wall hangings, and other purposes. Johnson wants quilts to be used and isn't focused on preserving them. She also talks about how she plans her quilt projects.

Keywords: Art; Baby quilts; Family; Gifts; Planning; Preservation; Quilts; Uses; Wall hangings

Subjects: Arts and crafts.; Craft and art; Crib quilts.; Quilting.; Quiltmakers--United States.; Quilts in interior decoration.