Audio Recording "What makes a quilt pretty?"

About this Item

"What makes a quilt pretty?"
Contributor Names
Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
Schockley, Maggie (Creator)
Schockley, Maggie (Interviewee)
Created / Published
Hillsville, Virginia
Subject Headings
-  Quilt patterns
-  aesthetics
-  leaf quilts
-  maple leaf quilts
-  Ethnography
-  Interviews
-  United States -- Virginia -- Hillsville
-  Although Geraldine Johnson's notes indicate that this interview was cut short due to Mrs. Shockley's need to leave to take care of her mother, they nonetheless covered a lot of useful information within the limited time. Mrs. Shockley learned to quilt as a child, has made numerous quilts for her family, and sells quilt tops at a flea market. She talks a lot about her mother and has her mother's collection of quilt blocks. (Although not addressed in the interview, these blocks probably served as a reference collection, to remind the maker how the block goes together.) This interview is particularly interesting because of the amount of detail on the activities of an earlier quilting generation and because of Mrs. ShockleyÆs poignant comments about her realization that quilts are her motherÆs legacy.
-  Transcription: GJ: What is it that you think makes a quilt pretty or attractive? / MS: I think it's mostly the, I think the colors maybe. If your colors are, coordinated well. And the reason I say this, some of my quilts that I have, the colors are not matched too well, some of the older ones that Mommy had pieced where she just had just used whatever she had, and then sometimes she would have you know just like, two colors for each block. Now I don't really think that you have to have just two colors all over the quilt to make it pretty, but she would use just two colors to the pattern, which made the pattern show up more. And so I think that made a difference. I thought that made it prettier. Because, now the Basket quilt, and my Oak Leaf, Maple Leaf quilt, each one of those are different. Each basket is different and each leaf is different. So it really doesn't mean that you, you know I just think that you have to have pretty colors and get 'em placed right. And when I put them together, as my Oak Leaf, my Maple Leaf -- I have an Oak Leaf pattern, I haven't pieced that one yet. But my Maple Leaf, I put a dark and a light, you know or a bright, I don't put all the, try to get it spaced till the dark and the lights are scattered out all over the bed, sort of like the fallen leaves in the you know, the fall there. You don't see all the colors, they're mixed up and this is what is what I've kind of tried to do with this, is spread 'em out. The oranges and browns and greens, and yellows and so on, and not get 'em all, all the orange one place or yellow shades, or whatever. And that way.
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Sound tape reel : 7 in.
Call Number/Physical Location
AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R104
Source Collection
Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1982/009)
American Folklife Center
Online Format

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Credit line

Please cite the source collection title, collection number, and repository, for example:

Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project collection, 1977-1981 (AFC 1982/009), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Lands' End all-American quilt collection, 1992-1997 (AFC 1997/011), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Maggie Schockley, and Maggie Schockley. "What makes a quilt pretty?". Hillsville, Virginia, 1978. Audio.

APA citation style:

Johnson, G. N., Schockley, M. & Schockley, M. (1978) "What makes a quilt pretty?". Hillsville, Virginia. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Geraldine Niva, Maggie Schockley, and Maggie Schockley. "What makes a quilt pretty?". Hillsville, Virginia, 1978. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.