Saturday, 23 March 2013

Oral history and quiltmakers

20th anniversary logo

Press release!!!

Do you remember? In November 2011 I interviewed a couple of quiltmakers during the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. I was one of the many interviewers that helped to interview quiltmakers for the Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories (Q.S.O.S.), a Quilt Alliance project.

The Quilt Alliance helps document, preserve and share the oral histories of quiltmakers. It was great to participate on so many levels. I loved meeting the quiltmakers, I loved interviewing. I loved listening to their stories. I loved participating in this oral history project.

We all have stories to tell and hearing the stories from these quiltmakers was a wonderful experience. An experience that I would love to repeat. If I had the money to finance another visit to participate in an other SOS project, I would be booking my next flight at this moment. Sadly, finances are a little tight and I don’t see me booking a ticket any time soon.

Oral history are tape-recorded historical information obtained in interviews concerning personal experiences and recollections. It was great to hear the quiltmakers speak about their lives and how their lives were intertwined with their quiltmaking. Oral history is the systematic collection of living people’s testimony about their own experiences. Documenting these people’s memories have historical importance. There are so many other subjects, besides quiltmaking, that need to be told and documented. If we do not collect and preserve those memories, those stories, then one day they will disappear forever.

I interviewed Michelle Settle. Michelle chose Bows and Arrows as her touchstone quilt for the interview. It is great to see the interview in print. It is even more amazing that I was able to help share her story. Please, read her interview! I’m pretty proud of myself. Reading the interview I feel tears come to my eyes. It amazes me how much she shared with me, and now you.

Interview Image

I want to thank Amy Milne, executive director, and the other employees of the Quilt Alliance for making this a wonderful experience for me. Emma Parker, QSOS project manager, I want to thank you personally for reminding how much I love interviewing and sharing what others tell me. I love listening and telling other people’s stories. I love getting people to talk about themselves. I’ve know this for a long time, this is where my passion lies.

I would like to ask my readers, the following question, how can I make this my vocation? How can I combine: listening, background research, interviewing, processing the interviews and publicise my findings (and become a writer)? I’m convinced that if I was able to share the stories of you and (palliative) patients with the world, I would be the happiest person on earth. Writing my blog and receiving your feedback and comments is another affirmation.

Wondering when the other interviews that I did in Houston will be published. As soon as I know the answer to this question, I will share it with you.

1 comment:

Amy Milne said...

Helen, this is so lovely. And in answer to your question--the rest of the interviews done at the 2011 International Quilt Festival will be posted as soon as we receive approval from the interviewees, so on a rolling basis over the next weeks. We were so honored to have you come so far to participate with such passion. Let's talk about a Q.S.O.S. sub-project! Much love, Amy