Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Uncommon Threads

Did anyone else happen to hear the interview with Gayle Pritchard, author of Uncommon Threads: Ohio's Art Quilt Revolution, on NPR's Diane Rehm Show this morning? If I had known it was going to be on, I would have posted earlier, but just happened to catch it as I was running errands. The book seems to be a history of the "art quilt" movement beginning in the 1970's and the first Quilt National and continuing into the present. Gayle Pritchard did a good job in presenting material, although she must have been disappointed at the level of understanding of the topic shown by both Diane and the callers. Diane herself clearly knows little about quilting (although she says it may be something she would like to do when she retires!), and I thought it was apparent that she didn't "get" some of the quilts pictured in the book. (Of course, potato chip bags sewn together are not for everyone.) Many of the callers had stories about what their grandmother used to do, but few had anything substantive to say about quilting today. Still, it was good to see this subject get some recognition. Interestingly, many of the callers were men.

There are some photos from the book and a link to the book at Amazon on the link to the Diane Rehm Show.

6 comments:

Hedgehog said...

Thanks for the tip - I'm a regular online listener, but am usually a few days late.

Kay said...

Glad I posted; at least someone gets the benefit of knowing in advance about this.

Gayle said...

Kay, a friend sent me your blog comments after I returned home from my Washington DC appearance on The Diane Rehm show. Your keen observation about the nature of most of the calls is correct, but I was still pleased to have had the opportunity to appear before such a large audience and have the chance to explain, if only a bit, about our field. They also posted quilt images on their site; they are still up in the archives section. Of course, I had no control over the calls that came on air. I do know that there were hundreds of calls and emails that were not aired. They also had so many visitors to their website to view the quilts, that it crashed; another example of the huge interest in this field.
The next day at the Textile Museum I had a chance to present a lecture on the topic before my book signing. It was a packed house, and there were a lot of great questions.
As the kick-off week for my book, it was top-notch. I will also be presenting at the University of Nebraska symposium in March, at the International Quilt Study Center, in addition to more talks all over the area, which are updated regularly on my website.
Glad you got to hear the show, and thanks for your comments.

Kay said...

Gayle, how nice to hear from you! I hope you did understand from my comments
that I meant only
praise for your presentation. I particularly admired your response to some of
the caller comments, and
the fact that the book and quilting in general got air time is wonderful. I
have wondered for quite a
while why NPR has not (as far as I know) given any coverage to the resurgence of
quilting of all kinds or
the big shows like the ones in Paducah or Houston. Certainly some of their
other cultural coverage
deals with topics of less popularity. I think they have the mistaken idea that
quilting is for old ladies, as
indicated by Diane's comment that it will be something to do in retirement. I
enjoyed the show, the
pictures on the web site, and will look for your book. Thanks again.

Gayle said...

As I said previously, I think that those in the field still have a long way to go in educating our public. There is no doubt in my mind about that. My experience, though, at lectures and book signings, is that the public is eager to know about our field and quite interested in the work. The show certainly had a taste of what art galleries and museum venues experience the first time they host an art quilt exhibition: a stunning response from the community, and, usually, more visitors than they have previously experienced!
I will look forward to your thoughts on the book, should you have the time to read it. Thanks for sharing,
Gayle

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