Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Paula Golden, May 3, 2003

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:44 - Discussion of Golden's quilt, "Dancing To My Spirit"

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Partial Transcript: --(sighs)--So this is Le Rowell and today's date is May third, 2003.

Segment Synopsis: Paula Golden says that the name of her quilt is "Dancing To My Spirit" and was inspired by a soapstone carving from the Inuit culture. She says the quilt required her to learn things outside of her artistic abilities, such as having two vanishing points. She learned how to reflect this image by using quilt books. She states that some of the original quilts she made from this piece ended up being charity quilts due to not looking correct. Golden mentions that she gave the quilt to a show, and when it returned, the beads were hanging off of it. She says that the beads were hand stitched and also explains that quilts have stories to share.

Keywords: "Dancing To My Spirit"; Dancing To My Spirit (Quilt); Quilt preservation; Quilt purpose - Charity; Quilt shows/exhibitions; Quilting; Quilts

Subjects: Quilters; Quilting; Quilting.; Quiltmakers; Quiltmaking; Quiltmaking process; Quiltmaking purpose; Quilts

00:07:22 - Golden's life while quilting "Dancing To My Spirit"

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Partial Transcript: What was going on in your life?

Segment Synopsis: Golden says that she was in her late thirties to early forties, and as a woman entered a time where she listened to what was important to her and not society. She says that she was faced with many different choices and freedoms. Golden emphasizes that there are a lot of "shoulds" in a woman's life, and that the quilt reflects straying from the shoulds and dancing to her own spirit. Eventually, quilting shifted from a simple hobby to a passion for Golden and she began to teach at the local rec center.

Keywords: "Dancing To My Spirit"; Dancing To My Spirit (Quilt); Female artists; Female quiltmakers; Gender roles; Quiltmaking class; Quiltmaking classes

Subjects: Quilters; Quilting; Quilting.; Quiltmakers; Quiltmaking; Quiltmaking process; Quiltmaking purpose; Quilts

00:10:13 - Golden's background

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Partial Transcript: Um, I grew up overseas.

Segment Synopsis: Golden shares that she grew up overseas and lived in Germany for ten years. She says that traveling was a rich opportunity to learn about other cultures and countries. When she moved to America, Golden recalls not knowing how to do things like using a pay phone and not knowing what McDonald's was. At 22, she tried to make her first quilt. She met her husband in 1980 and moved to Hawaii and took a Hawaiian quilting class. She says that quilting is beneficial for getting through tough times.

Keywords: Art education; Hawaii; Quilt purpose - Therapy; Quilting; Quiltmaking; Quiltmaking class; Quiltmaking classes; Quilts

Subjects: Hawaiian quiltmakers; Hawaiian quilts; Quilters; Quilting; Quilting.; Quiltmakers; Quiltmaking; Quiltmaking purpose; Quilts

00:17:21 - Golden's design from Hawaii

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Partial Transcript: What was the design you came up with?

Segment Synopsis: Golden says her Hawaiian design was a paper-cut design and reflected a golden sunrise at Bellows Beach. She says in Hawaiian culture you should have a ti plant at the entrance to your home to ward off evil spirits, as well as a Bird of Paradise. She tried to reproduce this in her quilt and they came out looking like triangles. She also mentions that pineapples are on the quilt as well.

Keywords: Bellows Beach (Hawaii); Bird of Paradise; Cordyline fruticosa; Hawaii; Hawaiian quilts; Palm lily; Pineapples; Quilting; Quilts; Ti plant

Subjects: Hawaiian quiltmakers; Hawaiian quilts; Quilters; Quilting; Quilting.; Quiltmakers; Quiltmaking; Quiltmaking process; Quiltmaking purpose; Quilts

00:19:49 - Influential teaching

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Partial Transcript: Talk a little bit more now about you--your teaching.

Segment Synopsis: Golden starts off by saying that she was the recipient of the 2001 Teacher of the Year award from Professional Quilt Magazine. She says she was surprised to be selected. She says that she began teaching a year after taking a class in Hawaii and researched Hawaiian quilting. Golden has been on Jinny Beyer's staff since 1995 and is intimidated by the skill of the other quilters, but says that she has learned from them.

Keywords: Hawaii; Hawaiian quilting; Jinny Beyer; Professional Quilt Magazine; Quilt magazines; Quilting; Quiltmaking class; Quiltmaking classes; Quilts; Teacher of the Year

Subjects: Hawaiian quiltmakers; Hawaiian quilts; Quilters; Quilting; Quilting.; Quiltmakers; Quiltmaking; Quilts; Teachers; Teaching

00:27:15 - What makes a great quilt

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Partial Transcript: Um, what do you think makes a great quilt?

Segment Synopsis: Golden says she thinks that if the quilt conveys something about the quilt maker, then it is a great quilt. She says that with passion and putting your heart and soul into the quilt, the color scheme and design will reflect that.

Keywords: Color balance; Quilt design; Quilt purpose - Art or personal expression; Quilt purpose - Artistic expression; Quilting; Quilts

Subjects: Quilters; Quilting; Quilting.; Quiltmakers; Quiltmaking; Quilts

00:29:37 - How to learn the art of quilting / Quilting as a craft

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Partial Transcript: So, how do, um, these great quilters learn the art of quilting?

Segment Synopsis: Golden thinks that by being quiet and listening to yourself rather than other people's opinions that great quilters can learn. She says that everyone has artistic abilities and that it is inside of us. She says that quilting is a craft that uses art and technique. She defines craft by saying it is the type where it is researched and explored, not a hobby.

Keywords: Art quiltmaking; Arts and craft; Hobby; Knowledge transfer; Learning quiltmaking; Quilting; Quilts

Subjects: Arts and crafts; Craft and art; Quilters; Quilting; Quilting.; Quiltmakers; Quiltmaking; Quilts

00:34:15 - Quilting in American life

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Partial Transcript: What do you think about the importance of quilts in American life?

Segment Synopsis: Golden states that quilting has always been important. She believes that quilting is a way of giving women an opportunity to express themselves. Due to being ostracized from the political world, women could still have their voices heard by creating a quilt that spoke on their thoughts and support. Golden also says that quilts connect generations. She says that she feels accomplished and connected to the past when she purchases orphan blocks and completes them into a quilt.

Keywords: Antique quilts; Blocks; Female quiltmakers; Gender in quiltmaking; Quilt shows/exhibitions; Quilting; Quiltmaking; Quilts

Subjects: Quilters; Quilting; Quilting.; Quiltmakers; Quiltmakers--United States; Quiltmaking; Quilts; Quilts--United States; Quilts--United States--History--20th century

00:36:35 - The future of quiltmaking

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Partial Transcript: What is the future of quiltmaking?

Segment Synopsis: Golden is hopeful that in the future, more people will get involved in quilting. She says she wants to see quilt making classes in schools as it provides historical and geometrical aspects. In her guild, the Cabin Branch Quilters, she is excited to see younger people involved in quilting, with some bringing their daughters.

Keywords: Art education; Cabin Branch Quilters; Family; Learning quiltmaking; Quilt guilds; Quilting; Quiltmaking; Quiltmaking class; Quiltmaking classes; Young people

Subjects: Families.; Quilters; Quilting; Quilting today; Quilting.; Quiltmaker's club; Quiltmakers; Quiltmaking; Quiltmaking process; Quiltmaking purpose; Quilts

00:40:15 - Impact of the Cabin Branch Quilters Guild

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Partial Transcript: It's--for some reason, things just--you know, I think I'm an airhead sometimes.

Segment Synopsis: Golden says that her guild has done many things for the local community. They have made lap quilts for children and women's shelters. She shares that they have donated money to the Virginia Quilt Museum, a GED program, and a homeless shelter, as well as many others. She also says that she belongs to the American Society of Quilters, the Quilter's Unlimited in the Northern Virginia area, and the American Quilt Study Group.

Keywords: American Quilt Study Group; American's Quilter Society; Quilt guilds; Quiltmaking; Quiltmaking communities; Quiltmaking community; Virginia Quilt Museum

Subjects: Quilters; Quilters Unlimited of Northern Virginia; Quilting; Quilting.; Quiltmaker's club; Quiltmakers; Quiltmaking; Quiltmaking purpose; Quilts; Virginia Quilt Museum.