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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: --November 2nd. It is 4:45 PM and I am conducting an interview with Susan Derkacz.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer introduces her subject, Susan Derkacz, whom she is interviewing for the Quilt S.O.S. Oral History Project.

Keywords: Derkacz, Susan; Introduction; Quilt S.O.S.

Subjects: Artists; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women; Women’s voices

00:00:21 - Quilt brought for the interview, “Audrey II”

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Partial Transcript: We just love this bright colors in this quilt you brought today. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz discusses the design and materials of the quilt she has brought to the interview to discuss with the interviewer. They talk about the fabric, the borders on the quilt, and the flowers which are featured on the quilt. She talks about the construction of the quilt and how she has created a strong quilt using specific borders and techniques. The name of the quilt is “Audrey II”, named after the plant from “Little Shop of Horrors”, which Derkacz’s husband participated in while she was creating the quilt. She discusses why she brought the quilt to the interview, its significance, and how the quilt is used in her home.

Keywords: Audrey II; Little Shop of Horrors; Quilt batting; Quilt borders; Quilt patterns

Subjects: Artists; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women; Women’s voices

00:05:08 - Initial interest in quilting

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Partial Transcript: So, tell me about how you got interested in quilting.

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz talks about her educational background in art, in which she earned a degree in college. She discusses how she was interested in quilting as an art project and talks about her first quilt project, which she did not finish. She recalls a book her grandmother gave her about quilting she used to learn how to quilt, as well as taking classes at the quilt store she was employed at.

Keywords: Art degrees; Interior designers; Quilt projects; Quilting as art; Quilting classes

Subjects: Art school; Artists; Career changes; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:07:19 - First memories of quilts and quilting

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Partial Transcript: So, what’s your first memory of a quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz recalls both of her grandmothers owning antique quilts, which was her first experience with quilts at a young age.

Keywords: Antique quilts; Domestic crafts; Older women and quilting; Women and quilting

Subjects: Artists; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Textile artists; Textiles; Women; Women’s voices

00:08:08 - Daily quilting routine

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Partial Transcript: And tell me ho--like, how often you quilt or how much a week, or something?

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz discusses how many hours per day she quilts and why she tries to delegate her quilting time to 2-3 hours per day, working at a slow pace. She talks about the physical drawbacks which come with quilting for too many hours in the day, including carpal tunnel.

Keywords: Carpal tunnel; Daily routines; Quilting routines; Repetitive tasks

Subjects: Artists; Carpal tunnel syndrome; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:08:53 - Quilting family members

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Partial Transcript: Are there other quilters, like, in your family?

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz talks about how her only family members who were interested in quilts in any way are her two grandmothers, one of whom took up quilting at the age of 75. She also discusses how her family has grown to take her quilting seriously, particularly after she won a quilting competition. She talks about how artists are often not taken seriously.

Keywords: Artists and families; Families and quilts; Quilting competitions; Women and quilts

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

00:10:04 - Quilting as catharsis

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Partial Transcript: Using quilting to get through a difficult time, has that happened to you?

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz recalls her father having a heart attack and an unsuccessful operation while she was working on the “Seymour’s Dream” quilt. She discusses how quilting became a means of catharsis for her during her time at the hospital, where she took care of her father while he was recovering. Derkacz talks about how quilts often are “icebreakers” and encourage conversation. She recalls being on PBS for a quilt interview and her family’s reactions to her television appearance.

Keywords: Anecdotes; Art as catharsis; Audrey II; Quilt designs; Sick family members

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

00:11:58 - Favorite and least favorite aspects of quilting

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Partial Transcript: So, what is your most pleasing part of quilting for you?

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz talks about her favorite aspects of quilting, which include designing the quilt and picking out the fabrics to create the design. She discusses her interior design background and how it assists her with selecting fabrics. Derkacz recalls how difficult it had previously been to create brightly colored quilts, due to a lack of availability in commercial fabrics. She also discusses her least favorite aspect of quilting, which is continuing the same design for days at a time in order to complete it.

Keywords: Bright fabrics; Commercial fabrics; Designing quilts; Favorite aspects; Least favorite aspects; Routines

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

00:13:35 - Aspects of a great quilt

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Partial Transcript: What do you think really makes a great quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz talks about what makes a great quilt, which she believes is a mix between “visual stimulation” and “good workmanship”. She believes design and color are more important than the mechanics of the quilting itself.

Keywords: Artistic qualities; Great quilts; Quality quilts; Quilt colors; Quilt designs; Quilt mechanics; Workmanship

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

00:14:23 - Appropriate qualities of a museum quilt

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Partial Transcript: So, what makes one a, a, a quilt appropriate to be selected or considered “museum quality”, do you think?

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz names design and workmanship as important aspects in selecting a quilt to put in a museum, but she believes it ultimately depends on the kind of museum the quilt will be in and the curator.

Keywords: Modern art museums; Museum quality quilts; Museum quilts; Quilt exhibits; Quilts for display; Textile museums

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

00:15:26 - Kathleen McCrady

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Partial Transcript: So, who do you think are some great quilters?

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz discusses who she believes is a great quilter, a woman named Kathleen McCrady. She talks about why McCrady is a great quilter, naming personal qualities as well as the quality of her work.

Keywords: Great quilters; McCrady, Kathleen; Personal qualities of artists; Quilters as artists; Quilting techniques

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

00:17:20 - Machine vs. hand quilting

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Partial Transcript: Now, this is all hand appliqued…

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz talks about her personal preference for hand quilting, though she believes machine quilting has its own unique and valid techniques. She discusses with the interviewer why machine quilting has become the preferred technique to hand quilting, as it is faster and easier for some quilters to do than others, particularly people who have arthritis or other hand pain.

Keywords: Arthritic hands; Hand applique; Hand quilting; Machine quilting; Older women and quilting; Quilting techniques

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

00:19:43 - The personal importance of quilting

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Partial Transcript: So, tell me about why quilting is so--what, what makes it so important in your life?

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz talks about how she enjoys the visual aspects of quilting, with making quilts as well as viewing them. She discusses quilting as a creative outlet as opposed to a utilitarian craft.

Keywords: Creative outlets; Creative projects; Importance of quilting; Utilitarian quilts

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

00:20:27 - First crafted quilt

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Partial Transcript: Tell me again about the first quilt.

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz discusses, in detail, the first quilt she created. She describes the quilt’s pattern and technical aspects and the fabrics she used for it, which came from her scrap bin.

Keywords: Anecdotes; Dog quilts; First quilts; Scrap quilts; Young married couples

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

00:21:53 - Southwestern influence on her quilt designs

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Partial Transcript: How do you think that your quilting reflects, uh, the region, the Southwest region, where you live?

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz talks about how the colors she uses in her quilting reflect the region she lives in, the Southwest. She tells the interviewer the reason she uses white backgrounds on her quilt, to show off her hand quilting techniques.

Keywords: American Southwest; Design influences; Hand quilting; Quilt designs; Quilting techniques

Subjects: Artists; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Southwestern States.; Textile artists; Textiles; Women

00:23:00 - Quilting in the lives of Americans, past and present

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Partial Transcript: So, what do you think is the importance of quilts today in American life, or even in the past?

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz talks about how quilting in the past was important because the quilts tell the stories of family members and are handed down as family heirlooms. She believes quilting is important in the present because it is a good gift for important life events, such as weddings and the birth of children. Derkacz calls herself a “firm believer” in the significance of quilting in American women’s history. She believes quilts both serve a utilitarian and artistic purpose for women of the past, as a way for women to both pass the time and make a statement through their creations.

Keywords: Craft history; Creative expression; Cultural significance; Gifts for newborns; Quilts and women; Quilts as gifts; Quilts in American history; Quilts in culture; Wedding gifts

Subjects: American women, 1600-1900; Artists; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Families; Gifts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Weddings; Women; Women’s voices

00:24:33 - How quilts should be properly used

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

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz advises quilt makers to create a quilt label for their quilts on how to use them. She discusses how people should be educated to properly use quilts in order to respect and conserve them. She tells an anecdote about a husband’s coworker who brought quilts in for her to assess and how she properly educated the coworker to take care of them properly. She tells the interviewer how she creates quilts to be used by family members and children. Derkacz talks about how utilitarian and competition quilts have different meanings to her.

Keywords: Anecdotes; Competition quilts; Conserving quilts; Proper use of quilts; Utilitarian quilts

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

00:27:05 - Final thoughts

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Partial Transcript: So, we're getting toward the end of this interview.

Segment Synopsis: Derkacz talks about how the Quilt S.O.S. project is important in order to preserve the stories of the quilts which people create, as many of the stories of quilts are not written down by their creators or owners.

Keywords: Creative processes; Creativity in crafts; Quilt S.O.S. Oral History Project; Quilt stories

Subjects: Artists; Crafts & decorating; Decorative arts; Quilting; Quilts; Textile artists; Textiles; Women; Women’s voices