Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Hollis Chatelain, November 2, 2001

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:03 - Technique in monochromatic pieces

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Partial Transcript: This is JoAnn Pospisil. Today's date is November 2nd, 2001. It's 9:15am and I am conducting an interview with Hollis Chatelain for Quilters Save Our Story Project.

Segment Synopsis: Chatelain describes a quilt that is in front them, "Blue Men." She talks about her process as a quilter, and her work with monochromatic pieces. She discusses color selection as well as technique.

Keywords: "Blue Men"; Africa; Artwork; Borders; Camels; Colors; Creation; Distortion; Emotion; Feeling; Lines; Methods; Monochromatic; Progression; Quilts; Techniques; Thread; Training

Subjects: Portraits on quilts; Quilting; Quilting--Patterns; Quiltmakers; Sewing

00:08:50 - Next projects, selling projects, and the inspiration for "Blue Men"

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Partial Transcript: So where do you see your quilting going now that you've--I mean, this is such a masterpiece.

Segment Synopsis: Chatelain talks about her next project and about selling her quilts to make money. She then talks about the Tuareg tribe in Africa that inspired the "Blue Men" quilt. While in Africa, she formed a relationship with them because they would sell her the various crafts they made. They're called the blue men because the indigo dye that they use in their turbans turns their skin blue. She notes which of the men she knew personally and some stories associated with them.

Keywords: Africa; Blue tint; Brighter; Camels; Caravans; Colors; Commissions; Craftsman; Friends; Future; Indigo; Inspiration; Jewelry; Learning; Leather goods; Next steps; Nomadic; Pricing; Quilting; Sand; Selling; Sun; Teaching; Tribute; Tuareg; Turbans; Yellow

Subjects: Art, Tuareg; Portraits on quilts; Quilting; Quiltmakers; Sewing

00:14:32 - Teaching and family

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell us about other quilt-related activities that you do?

Segment Synopsis: Chatelain teaches classes at the quilt show, and she teaches at a quilt shop back home. She teaches dye painting, design, marketing, and color. While she doesn't have a history of quilting in her family, she has taught her daughters, but she doesn't try to pressure them because of the competition with their mother that others seem to project when they compare her daughters' work to Chatelain's.

Keywords: Classes; Color; Competition; Cross stitch; Daughters; Design; Drawing; Dye painting; Family; Generations; Marketing; North Carolina; Quilts; Teaching

Subjects: Quilting; Quilting shops; Quiltmakers; Sewing

00:16:34 - What makes a great quilt

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Partial Transcript: In your opinion, what makes a, a really great quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Chatelain describes the differences between an art quilt that is hung on the wall versus a bed quilt made for use. She talks about some quilting techniques that she does to challenge herself. She talks about what parts of the quilting process she enjoys and does not enjoy. She describes her realistic quilt portraits like they are her children. By creating this piece, she gets to spend more time with these people, but when they are sold and go away, she starts to miss them and creates more to cope.

Keywords: "Blue Men"; "Resident Alien"; Art quilts; Bed quilts; Binding; Challenge; Design decisions; Enjoyment; Experiences; Focal points; Great quilts; Intention; Labors of love; Learning; Opinions; Purpose; Qualities; Reasons; Skills; Stitches; Teaching; Techniques; Tradition; Use

Subjects: Commemorative quilts; Portraits on quilts; Quilting; Quiltmakers; Sewing

00:22:14 - Making money and who is buying her artwork

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Partial Transcript: Since you said you do this, uh, to actually earn money, uh, your family is very cooperative, I assume?

Segment Synopsis: Chatelain is the family breadwinner, so her family is supportive of her quilting. She talks about how she came to do this job. She was a photographer and was into drawing and painting. She didn't know how to sew, so she took a sewing class. She mentions how her abstract pieces are easier to construct. She also talks about the gender and relationship breakdown of who purchases her art.

Keywords: Abstract; Art; Breadwinners; Corporations; Deadline; Drawing; Family; Gender; Husbands; Individuals; Intricate; Livelihood; Marriage; Money; Multiple projects; Museum quality; Painting; Photographers; Sewing; Support; Two dimensional art

Subjects: Quilting; Quilting--Vocational guidance; Quiltmakers; Sewing

00:26:20 - Quilting community / Dyed fabrics

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Partial Transcript: Do you actually belong to a quilting group at all?

Segment Synopsis: Chatelain is part of a quilters guild and critique group that helps each other think about marketing and shows. Chatelain does not buy manufactured fabric, but rather dyes her own fabric. She then goes back to the "Blue Men" piece. She says she is very impressed with the IQA. She notes her painted ghost camels. She feels that part of a good artistic quilt is that it invokes emotion.

Keywords: "Blue Men"; Applications; Creativity; Critique groups; Double dyed; Dyed fabrics; Emotions; Feelings; First memories; Ghost camels; International Quilt Association (IQA); Manufactured fabrics; Marketing; Painted; Quilt guilds; Shows

Subjects: Quilting; Quilting--Vocational guidance; Quiltmakers; Sewing