While in Houston, I decided to drive to La Grange, Texas (an hour and a half from Houston) to visit the new Texan quilt museum founded by Karey Patterson Bresenhan and Nancy O’Bryant Puentes.
Karey kindly accepted this interview for which I sincerely thank her.
1. What makes this Museum special? Can you explain that in a few words?
We feel the Museum embodies the spirit of the buildings in which it is housed, and of the quilts that are displayed there. Its buildings were constructed with integrity by artisans taking simple materials and transforming them into something special through their skill and work ethic. It’s the same “can do” attitude shared by generations of quilters who, through their skill and determination to create something of beauty, turned scraps of ordinary fabric into wonderful quilts.
2. What is the difference with other Museums?
Perhaps we should leave that question to be answered by others! All we know is that it’s the next natural step in our lives, which have been spent working on behalf of quilts, quilting, and quilters.
3. What made you start this beautiful Museum?
The Texas Quilt Museum has been a dream of ours for decades! However, we have been very busy establishing our company Sewn, extending a love and respect for patchwork throughout Europe and Asia, taking care of our families, writing books, starting two non-profit international quilt organizations, as well as two local quilt guilds, and other work that was important to us. But when we saw these two old buildings which had such beautiful bones, we knew that the time was right to rescue them and make them the home for a new non-profit Museum.
4. How are you selecting the collection of the Museum?
At present, the Museum is not a collecting museum. Rather, it will bring four fine changing exhibitions each year to showcase in its three galleries.
5. You start this Museum together with Nancy O’Bryant Puentes can you tell us what your work together makes such a succes?
We are cousins who were raised much as sisters, so we think alike about many things, including the importance of instilling a respect for quilting as a dynamic and ever-changing art form, and, in the case of antique quilts in traditional quilting countries, as cultural icons. The Museum’s motto is “Quilts. . .History in the Making,” and that truly is how we regard them. Quilting is a tie both to past generations and to future ones.
6. How did you get involved in the “Quilt” world?
We are both fifth-generation quilters and quilt lovers, and grew up with quilts on our family’s beds. We learned to quilt at multi-generational family quilting bees at our maternal grandmother’s house in San Antonio, Texas, when we quilted the tops that our great-grandmother had pieced for each of us for our weddings.
7. Do you have a favourite designer or a style?
We have an instinctive love of beautiful antique quilts, and we especially love heavily and beautifully quilted applique quilts. Those tend to be quilts with minimal batting, making them rather flat, thin quilts, since it’s hard to achieve that kind of quilting with thick batts. But we also love unique folk art quilts, great pieced quilts, and funky art quilts, so it’s hard to pin us down, really!
8. Who or what inspires you in your work?
Our mothers and our grandmother continue to inspire us, and even though they are no longer with us, we feel their presence every day. We know they would be thrilled with the establishment of the Texas Quilt Museum and its mission to recognize the importance of quilts, foster respect for quilters, and further the art of quilting.