Modern Quilting with Carole Lyles Shaw

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:54:41 Modern Quilting with Carole Lyles Shaw


Episode Summary

Lisa speaks with Carole Lyles-Shaw, an internationally recognized modern quilter, quilting instructor, and author. Carole shares her sewing story including her affection for her home guild in Baltimore and building a new modern quilt guild in her current city. And she did this while writing, teaching, designing, and creating. Carole also reveals why quilting is an entire universe of creative possibility.

Read Full Transcript

Modern Quilting with Carole Lyles Shaw

[00:00:00]Lisa: [00:00:00] Hello Stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please the official podcast of Black women's stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host. Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.

[00:00:25]Hello everybody. And welcome to the stitch please podcast. This is the official podcast of Black women stitch. And I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. Very happy, thrilled, and delighted to be talking today with Carole Lyles Shaw. Carole is a amazing quilter whose [00:00:45] focus is in the modern quilt tradition. And so I'm very happy to have her here.

[00:00:50] I also have to say that I met Carole a few years ago at the 54 40 retreat of African American quilt Guild was celebrating their 25th anniversary. They had a retreat and I met. Carole there. And it was such a blessing to meet her. I was coming from a place where I knew of course, about the robust African-American trip, quilting tradition, but I didn't know very many other African American quilters in my own community.

[00:01:20] And so to go to this retreat and see this. Staggering work by a variety of different aesthetic traditions from Black women and [00:01:30] Carolee is there teaching a class in it. Might've been curves, Parisian curves. Am I missing that title up? But she was teaching something and then we went to dinner and it was just, it was just a really wonderful time to see.

[00:01:44] So how many Black women in positions of creativity, but also in creative leadership? And Carole was one of those people. And so this was long before Black women's stitch was, was what it is now. It was still very much a strong idea and I was still wanting to have a retreat and I was still, and Carole was so patient with me.

[00:02:06] Every question I had with, how do I do this? Or what do you think about that? She was just amazing. And so I'm really glad to be [00:02:15] here, and talking with her. Carole, welcome. And thank you for all that you do.

[00:02:20] Carole: [00:02:20] Thank you so much, Lisa. I love that introduction. Absolutely fantastic. You really are. So I'm so glad to be able to have this conversation with you, especially about your sewing story.

[00:02:35] Lisa: [00:02:35] And so can you tell us a bit about your sewing story? How did you get started? How did you get started down the path of quilting?

[00:02:44] Carole: [00:02:44] Love to share it. And first of all, I am honored to be here. I do remember our meeting and how we just collect and then talk about it. So many things. And I was in awe of your sewing skills, that those [00:03:00] garments you were making, It seemed like magic suddenly they were there. But my sewing story begins many years ago when I lived in Baltimore, which is home, shout out to Baltimore. And I. One day woke up and I was 40, probably unsure, in years and age, 40 years and age. And, I woke up one day and decided that I was going to make quilts for my nieces and nephews.

[00:03:32] I did not. So I did not own a sewing machine. My goodness. You just thought you just had you know what I like to do my knee and nephews, neat quilts in their lives and they need me to be [00:03:45] the one to make them. Okay. So you started with this idea. That's all right. I describe it as an angel. Just sitting on my shoulder, whispering in my ear.

[00:03:53] That's the only way I can explain it. Excellent. so from there I went to the library, I got some books. I went to Joanne fabrics and bought some things fabrics based on what those books said, I should buy. And I started making pretty traditional quilts, nine pounds match and log cabin. And those kinds of basic, patterns.

[00:04:19] I also looked at magazines and so forth, but then. I stumbled across the art quilting world. [00:04:30] And that was great for me because even as I was making the quilts for my nieces and nephews, I was changing up the patterns because I just didn't want to make, 7,500 square triangle over and over.

[00:04:45] That was just too boring. but anyway, I was self-taught I watched the TV shows that were on at the time on the public broadcasting stations. Yes. There was a lot of cool there's a lot of good quilting TV. Absolutely. And then it was, just a couple of people who were making those videos, a couple of women and I just admired what they were doing and, Just, it was just a wonderful world, but there [00:05:15] weren't a lot of resources then like now, it's a thousand fold bigger in terms of resources for self-taught quilters.

[00:05:25] But one day I went to an art quilt exhibit at a local community college near my house, and I looked across the room. And I saw another African American woman there. And then I realized, that she and I were the only ones in the room, in this gallery who were African American. She came immediately over to me and as I describe it, she just scooped me up in her arms and she introduced [00:06:00] herself.

[00:06:00] Her name is Barbara Pietilla. And, She mentioned that she had quilts in the exhibit and I had been admiring her quilt and I told her who I was and that I was, a budding quilter just getting started. And she said, come with me, you got to join our group. I got some people you need to meet. She had started the African American quilters of Baltimore.

[00:06:28] And, that Guild, I had been going for awhile. so I went to the first meeting, met a whole bunch of quilters, and I brought some of the quilts that I had been playing around with. And those women were so [00:06:45] generous and excited. Now at the time, Barbara was the only art quilter in that group. The rest of the members were basically making, traditional quilts and they were using heirloom sewing skills, which I'm sure you can appreciate.

[00:07:03] Oh my goodness. They were hand quilting, 12 stitches or less to an inch needle, turn applicate to make Baltimore album quilts. I mean their skills.

[00:07:18]They looked at what I was doing and how I was starting to move into art quilting and this, and I brought up, I think a couple of my traditional quilts too. [00:07:30] And they said, Carole, you're doing interesting things. But I think you need to learn how to sew

[00:07:38]because you really don't want those quilts to  fall apart the first time they get washed. Oh my gosh. Teach me. So they did the generosity of spirit is. Still warms my heart to this day. I always give them credit for helping me really launch my career cause I had ideas, but I didn't really have the tools to execute them. So they gave me some really good fundamentals.

[00:08:12] And to this day I can do [00:08:15] needle turn application. I don't, but you can, there's precision piecing if I really want to, but it's all thanks to them. They taught me that and they taught me a lot of other things. They taught me about color and design and fabric and just all the things we need to know as.

[00:08:39]people who love textiles at the same time, I was really also in lots and lots of parts, museums and galleries looking at modern art because that's where my design aesthetic really comes from. So that's how I got started

[00:09:00] [00:09:00] Lisa: [00:09:00] so much about this story that I absolutely love. I think the thing, the first, one of the first things that stands out to me is I have, of course been in this position of being like the lonely only.

[00:09:12]The lonely, only Black person in the place, or the way that we can find each other. Like we go to the sewing expo and it's thousands of people and a handful of Black women. And the most part when we see each other, we stop and speak. That's the basic courtesy. Yeah. But, but.

[00:09:29] Then we could have a conversation where you from, what do you think too?  really, I have gained so much from just these random, chance encounter. I remember once we went to the building or, which is this fancy house in Asheville, [00:09:45] In North Carolina. And I mentioned it because we did this for vacation last a couple of two years ago.

[00:09:50] And I'm telling you, Carole, I was playing my favorite game, which is I'll give the kids a dollar for every Black person I happened to see in this place. I'm like, we're not gonna see any Black people here today. And for everyone, I see I'll give you all a dollar and I will keep all of my money because the only Black people we're going to see are the ones in this car. but we met this Black lady and she was like, one of the wisdom was me and my kids and her. And she turned out to be a photographer and we had this great conversation. She was in the AFL CIO leadership and. At the end of the day, it turned out she was a photographer. My son, who was like, maybe what 12 at the time was getting into photography.

[00:10:28] She sends him an [00:10:30] actual camera in the mail. She sent him a Nikon camera. She was like, I have this extra camera. I would love to give it to a new photographer and she did. She said, girl, I'm just saying, I love Black women because we know how to take care of each other. And that is I'm at it at the best of times, this is what we can do for each other.

[00:10:50] And so the idea that you were at this, that you were at this, art quilt exhibit, and there's another Black woman there whose work you just happened to be admiring. And instead of just, her just receiving the praise, she. Wants to connect with you. And another thing about that story is that you took your quilts.

[00:11:08]you are very new at this and you go to  this collection of women who are extraordinarily skilled at sewing [00:11:15] and extraordinarily skilled at quilting. And with the heirloom techniques, like you said, the needle turns an application, hand stitch 12 to just to the doggone inch by hand.

[00:11:25] What I mean, just incredible. And instead of saying, Oh girl, what on earth do you think you are doing? Why are you bringing that stuff in here? That's weak sauce. say, this is what you're doing. you've got good instincts. Let us get your skills up. We're going to help you level up. And they did that without shaming you, without making you feel like you. We're not capable. and that's something that I just really love. and I do remember going to the library to get quilt books. I remember actually putting in order request for our library to [00:12:00] buy and quilt books because the internet just wasn't as popping as it is right now.

[00:12:04] And you couldn't just find everything that you needed with a click of a few buttons you had to get a catalog and the catalog had the book in it and and so I told him we actually got a lot of good recipes that way, too. Yeah. So I love this. So as a self-taught quilter, how did you, how do you, what do you imagine are the steps that you. I don't know, it just feels amazing to me that you started in this business of just saying my nieces, my niece and nephew needs some quilts, and I want to be the one to make them to someone who is writing books and co-founding a quilt, a modern quilt guild of their own. And now teaching classes all over and [00:12:45] exhibiting work all over.

[00:12:45] How do you, when you look back at this part of your journey, like how do you imagine that you, what steps did you take to get there? Because it's so impressive.

[00:12:56]Carole: [00:12:56] it's so funny when I try to think back to the very first quilts that I was making, after buying a sewing machine at Sears, I

[00:13:10]Lisa: [00:13:10] Kenmore machines were good machines.

[00:13:12] Carole: [00:13:12] Kenmore machines were good machines. They were, it was solid, came in a nice wooden cabinet and everything. I don't know. I do know, let me not be overly self deprecating here. I've always been first of all, interested [00:13:30] in anything that had to do with art and color. So this textile a world really felt like an extension of my lifelong interest in that sense.

[00:13:46] And I just figured I can learn to do anything as my aunt. One of my aunts used to say, if you can read and remember, you can learn to do almost anything. And that stuck with me and I've taught myself a lot of things. Speaking of photography, I taught myself photography. way back in the day. I took a few classes in painting when I thought maybe I want to paint, and explored [00:14:15] that.

[00:14:15] But, I've always figured I can learn to do this, sometimes a great thing

[00:14:21]that when I'm teaching. I use that really as much learning framework. This is just fabric. It's a sewing machine. We're not landing a seven 57 here. You can learn to do anything here. It may take you a little while to get that level of skill, to master it, but the fundamentals, anybody can learn those.

[00:14:50] Anybody. If a five year old can sit in front of a sewing machine and sew a seam. What's so hard. We as adults, [00:15:00] we are bombarded with messages about perfectionism. And mastery. And, we forget that if we use our curious, openness, our childlike mind, the world is available to us.  we need to encourage, new quilters of any age and tight, or someone new to a type of quilting. My classes are very much grounded in of course, modern quilting and improvisation. And I get lots and lots of students who are new to be one or both of those styles of creating a quilt.

[00:15:45] [00:15:44] And I just tell them, for some of what you already know about quilting and come to this with an open mind and learn a new set of tools and that's all it is. It's a new set of tools or a different set of tools. but I'm open. Come ready? Come be ready to have come ready to happen. Have some fun and please come ready to make some mistakes.

[00:16:10]because in improvisation, especially, I'm always saying we have intention, they're there's steps. There's there are processes that I teach in my classes. I said, however, and some point in implementing that [00:16:30] technique, there will be an unexpected result. Unexpected outcome. That's right. Heart of improvisation.

[00:16:41] It's the discovery? not really. No. And my students will say this. Okay Carole. So you always say, start with an intention, but don't worry about the end result. The end will emerge. So we don't have to know what the end result will be. I said, exactly. And it is 180 degrees different from most, either very pattern based approaches or traditional quilts, precision teasing.

[00:17:11] You do know the end result and you know what it's supposed to look [00:17:15] like, what it has to look like. That's all with improvisation, because you can always do something different. Whatever comes out. If you love it, you leave it. If you don't love it, you change it.

[00:17:29]Lisa: [00:17:29] I love it. Oh my gosh. Okay. So I wanted to follow up with a couple of questions first.

[00:17:33] I think I'm going to need some definitions because I'd love some what to hear your perspective on how you define the genres of these quilts. I think that I'm doing, I think that I'm melding in my mind. Three different things. So could you, so I guess I'm going to ask you to define, according to your own perspective, what is an art quilt?

[00:17:56] What is a modern quilt? Would you [00:18:00] imagine improvisation going. Under modern quilt, like a subset, or would that be a totally separate style of quilting as well? So maybe tell folks, what is an art quilt.

[00:18:11] Carole: [00:18:11] Okay. Yeah. And this is always a challenging question.

[00:18:16] No wrong.

[00:18:18] I know, but I'm trying to give a coherent answer.

[00:18:24] Okay. And art quilt for me. art quilting. Is a style of textile work. Okay. Where the maker wants to achieve a [00:18:45] new and unique outcome, not a pattern, not following a style or even a technique or a format that other people have done. In other words, the art quilter is always striving for a unique result.

[00:19:04] Now, art quilting also usually involves surface design that is doing something to the fabric itself. It could be printing on it. It could be painting on it. It could be burning it or rusting it that is using something rusty and wrapping the fabric around it sprinkling it was water and letting the rush [00:19:30] put a, an imprint on the fabric.

[00:19:32] There are all kinds of surface design tools and techniques and art quilt is, in terms of its purpose. Its fundamental purpose is to also adorn some area of the home. Just like we hang paintings or sort of sculpture in our rooms, in our, the living room, bedroom, wherever and art quilt is made to be home Frank.

[00:20:01] Lisa: [00:20:01] Okay. Okay.

[00:20:02] And typically not. Washable. It's usually not for the bed now that said,

[00:20:12] so it's primarily, would you say it's primarily [00:20:15] and aesthetic object and by aesthetic objects, I'm saying that it's like it's untouchable it's that the value of it is what happens when someone looks at it, like when you go to a gallery or you have it in your home, it's about the.

[00:20:30] It's about the sensations, or the thoughts that art piece prompts in the viewer. That's how you engage in art, quilt through looking at it through as opposed to holding it or sleeping under it or something like that does that.

[00:20:44] Carole: [00:20:44] That's perfect. Now that said there are art quilters who make their quilt.

[00:20:52] And who sleep under it for a night or two or three before it's [00:21:00] given to whoever might purchase it or be put on display somewhere.

[00:21:05] Why do you think people do that? That's interesting.

[00:21:09] I think it's, and I have done it too with a few, with some of my larger art quilts. I think it's a last moment, bonding with the piece itself.

[00:21:23]The quilt itself. And I think it also gives homage to the quilt, the traditional quilt origins of the art quilt. our coding is also grounded in traditional quilt making. Made for the bed to cover and comfort and keep people more. [00:21:45] And I think that's at least that's my thinking about what prompts us to do it.

[00:21:52] like we're huddling and cuddling and loving it before we send it out into the world.

[00:21:59] Lisa: [00:21:59] Oh, that's beautiful.

[00:22:01] Carole: [00:22:01] Yeah.  with textile as in, any of the plastic arts, I guess we call them where you're manipulating with your hands tech, quilt making is very much a hands on process, even if you're, printing photographs.

[00:22:20] Onto a piece of fabric to use in an art quilt. it's very physical art, and the hand, on textile is. that [00:22:30] goes back thousands of years. So there's some true memory there, I think. Yes. Yes. Yes. That's true. Okay.

[00:22:43] Lisa: [00:22:43] So how does the modern quilt then compare to the art quilt? I guess I'm trying to think about, do we see these as, Things that might be siblings, right?

[00:22:53]there's the art quilt. And then the sibling would be the modern quilt. Or do we see this as a hierarchical relationship? The art quilt then birth, the begats the modern quilt.

[00:23:07]Carole: [00:23:07] I guess if I were going to use a metaphor, maybe it's a solar system.

[00:23:12] Lisa: [00:23:12] Oh, I love that [00:23:15] artists. That's why you think like that.

[00:23:17] Carole: [00:23:17] And for me, the sun in a solar or solar system, the sun would be traditional quilting. all those quilts made by hundreds, thousands, millions of women and men over the years who, Actually, maybe I want to change this metaphor a little bit, but anyway, if we think of all textile making as the sun, okay, I'm going to, I'm going to broaden this.

[00:23:42] All I love is the sun. And then w the first planet that I would go to in the solar system would be the planet of traditional quilt making. But there's another planet, that's fun out [00:24:00] of all the stuff that all the planets in our solar system were made from another planet called art quilting. And then there's another planet called traditional clothing.

[00:24:11] And then there's another planet called modern quilting. And modern quilting comes from the same source that sun, and it's very much related to traditional quilting because modern quilts start with the block, the traditional block, the square, the half square and triangle. It's the hexagon. those are the basic building blocks of traditional quilting and modern quilting.

[00:24:42] However, when you get to the [00:24:45] modern quilting planet, what happens to those blocks is very different. We have very, new, fresh color schemes that are constantly actually being reinvented when most modern quilters or quilters using a modernist Spanish, when they started making quilts, they. Wanted to use a new colors, more modern colors, late 20th century, mid to late 20th century colors.

[00:25:20] There wasn't a lot available in cotton fabric. If you wanted to find some colors that weren't muted blues and grays and muted, [00:25:30] yellows, and, civil war colors and homespun look and stuff you had to maybe go over to the dressmaking department to find cottons with different colors.

[00:25:45] Now of course, Moda and Kona and all of them have, hundred and 75 different colors of solids alone. It's true. There's another nuclear. It comes out. It's amazing. but, and if we wanted to find fabrics, That weren't little tiny Calico designed, little, teeny, tiny flowers, and a little flowers and little dots and all that stuff.

[00:26:09] You had to go to the dress department. And that's where I bought a lot of [00:26:15] my early, what am I trying to say? My early fabrics for my early quilts. Cause I was starting to play with the idea of. Modern quilts before I knew what the modern aesthetic was interesting, but I'm not alone. Yeah. many people were, I won't say I'm not trying to say I'm the only one, but then some folks who were really thinking, critically about where they were headed with their aesthetic.

[00:26:46] Created the core elements or design principles of modern quilting, and we're still playing and reinventing even those design principles today. [00:27:00] modern quilting is still emerging. but the fundamental, design principals really come out of mid 20th century painting. A minimalist paintings, influenced minimalist quilt, making meaning limited color palettes limited lines in the design, in the blocks themselves.

[00:27:26] So minimalism, Pop art and, mid century modern art also influenced early and still can continue to influence is to this day, in terms of design aesthetic. yeah, we're, it's all related. It's a continuum. These are [00:27:45] not boxes with rigid sides.

[00:27:48] Lisa: [00:27:48] I love that metaphor. They're not boxes with rigid sides.

[00:27:52] Carole: [00:27:52] I keep changing my metaphors.

[00:27:54] Lisa: [00:27:54] I love the metaphor more the merrier.

[00:27:58]Carole: [00:27:58] yeah, and the modern quilt Guild, which is an international Oregon formal organization. Eden has a category at our quilt shows called modern traditional, to honor the fact that it is a continuum and in that modern traditional category, you have to clearly show what element of traditional quilt making you are interpreting.

[00:28:30] [00:28:30] And expanding, but not so far that we lose sight of where it began.

[00:28:37] Lisa: [00:28:37] Wow, that sounds like it'd be a very difficult category to judge

[00:28:40]Carole: [00:28:40] any of the categories and you say, okay, shouldn't be over here. And the negative use of negative space, or shouldn't be over here in, whatever thing that category emerging trend that I. Absolutely love. And I will say I'm one of the early proponents of this trend, not the only, but one of the early ones and that's called maximalism.

[00:29:05]And those are with a very, A number of elements, but one of the elements could [00:29:15] be very vibrant, intense color use, and less use of negative space, perhaps no negative space as we traditionally define it. so it's a highly pattern, vibrant, visually vibrant, aesthetic. And in fact, a couple of years ago, one of the winning quilts at our annual conference, con was a maximalist quilt, which was a surprise to many people because.

[00:29:54] Those of us. Who've been saying, Hey, there's a new trend maximalism. We felt very vindicated [00:30:00] in our formal, arena. But, but there are hundreds of thousands of modern quilters, or I should say quilters making modern quilts. Because quilters also don't fall into any particular box. We can do whatever we want.

[00:30:18] Lisa: [00:30:18] That's That's right. I'm really loving this. And it really feels that the metaphor about the solar system seems like it really is a really good one to describe the aesthetic and the formal considerations of this, basically this universe of quilts. So that's a good one, good job.

[00:30:37] I want to take a quick, I want to take a quick break. And when we come back, we're going to, we're going to talk more about, I'd love to talk more about the [00:30:45] Guild that you helped to found as well as to talk about quilt con, cause I've never been and some of the classes that you teach and your books. So we still have lots to talk about everybody.

[00:30:56] So stay tuned. I will be back after this quick break.

[00:31:00]the stitch podcast is really growing. I want to thank you for listening to the podcast and ask a favor. If you are listening to this podcast on a medium that allows you to rate it or review it. For example, Apple podcasts or iTunes, please do. So if you're enjoying the podcast, if you could drop me a five star rating, if you have something to say about the podcast and you wanted to include that a couple of sentences in the review box of [00:31:30] Apple makes a really big difference in how the podcast is evaluated by Apple, how it becomes more visible.

[00:31:37] It really is a way to lean into the algorithm. That helps to rake podcast. So if you had time to do that, to drop a little line in the review feature of the podcast, that would be really appreciated and would help us to grow even further and faster.

[00:31:55]all right, everybody. Welcome back. And I am speaking today with Carole Lowel Shaw about modern quilts and the whole universe of quilting, but Carol's interest has been in the modern quilt. Tradition and that this interest is so profound that she is a cofounder of the Sarasota [00:32:15] modern quilt Guild in Sarasota, Florida.

[00:32:17] Can you tell us a bit about the organization and what prompted you to create it?

[00:32:22] Carole: [00:32:22] Sure. I, husband and I moved to Florida, I guess it was 2012, I guess now. and I didn't have a quilt community down here. we've. Just moved here because we liked the area. And so because having community, and I miss the African American quilters in Baltimore, my home Guild there.

[00:32:47]so anyway, I hadn't joined the modern quilt Guild as an individual member. And, through that membership, they connected me up with another member [00:33:00] who lived in this area. And she and I talked by phone. We visited a couple of the guilds, modern Guild chapters that were in our area. They were a little bit distant, but we went to their meeting.

[00:33:15] And she, and I kept talking and we decided we would start a Guild that was more central to Sarasota. That was served this region. And our thought was that we would find, five or 10 people and we'd be a little group and maybe we'd become a formal chapter, maybe not. we had the first meeting, first couple of meetings at my house.

[00:33:43] And, very quickly we had to [00:33:45] go find space to meet him. So you get more than five to 10 people.

[00:33:50]It grew from like the first time, I guess there were eight or nine of us. And then suddenly there were 15 people. And then we were getting emails from people who were in flux. We said, okay, I guess we better go find some space. So we found a free space at a local library. Yay libraries. Yes. Shout out the libraries and we continue to meet there to this day.

[00:34:16]and my friend, and I said, We want to make it an informal group, no drama, no competitiveness. [00:34:30] We're not going to do shows. We're just going to get together and help each other learn about modern quilting. And that's what we decided to do. So we've kept that. In our minds to this day, we do have a little more formal structure.

[00:34:47] We have 55 paid members. Hey, wonderful thing happened. We, all of a sudden we realized we had this huge waiting list of people who wanted to join the guilt.

[00:35:01] Lisa: [00:35:01] That's incredible.

[00:35:03]Carole: [00:35:03] And we, the small, because of the size of the space we meet in, and we didn't want to have to move to a bigger space, and become a big.

[00:35:12] Guilt. We just didn't want to be a big group of people. [00:35:15] We wanted to keep it small, intimate and friends. And like I said, no drama and little anyway, fortunately, a couple of people who had been visiting with us. Yeah. And, one woman, in fact, who has a local quilt shop in the area and several other people, they decided, why don't we start another Gilt?

[00:35:37] Oh, and, and so through the grapevine, I heard they were going to do this and I called them up immediately and said, how can we help? We hate having this waitlist. It makes us look like we're trying to be exclusive. That's not what it's about at all. We just don't want to pay for more space. That's right.

[00:35:57] That's right. It's like we have a lovely free [00:36:00] library space for the 55 of us and we can't fit a hundred. And so they said, Oh, we're so glad that you're happy about this. I said, happy works static. We're over the moon. How can we help? What do you need from us? let us know anything that we can do to help.

[00:36:19] So a lot of people from our waitlist. Start went to that startup guilt. And, I can't, I think, yeah, they're over 60 or 70 members there and we have only, maybe, I don't know, a handful of members who belong to both guilds. So it's really two different groups, but we do a joint show. We've been doing a joint, a free, it's not even a show.

[00:36:44] It's an exhibit. [00:36:45] We bring our quilts to a local park. in February close lines, it's a free event and any member can hang no prizes. No, nothing. Just. Come see modern quilts. I think seen some photos on your page from this event. is it near the water? Am I thinking this wrong? Like a Lake or something?

[00:37:08]and it's actually, on the Gulf coast, the Gulf coast. So this particular park. Is on the golf and you can see the water from the space that we rent to do this as this activity, we rent a pavilion there. So we do that and, and we just exchange a lot of information and, support each [00:37:30] other.

[00:37:30] And every way we can, we call ourselves sister guilds. Oh, that's been a really lovely, Outcome of, my friend and I saying, let's start a little group and you're able to maintain that. You're able to keep that you're able to say, okay, when we get to a point, we're going to just keep a waiting list and we're not trying to be snobby.

[00:37:55] It's not because we don't think that other people who are waiting are worthy, we're all worthy. But there's limitations that we have that have nothing to do with our disease to grow that, And so when someone else pops up, you don't see them as competition. You see this as a form of cooperation, like you are helping us, [00:38:15] and I just, I really loved that.

[00:38:16] Lisa: [00:38:16] I wanted to shift to, to talk some about the books that you've written. So I was thinking about the,  the modern quilt one of course, but. You are, and also the patriotic ones.  I'm not a big like patriotic person, but looking at your work, what I was able to discern from the way that you talked about it was that you did.

[00:38:36] I thought a really great job of basically in some ways, claiming. Some of the legacies of Americana for Black folks. That was something that I think that I recognize, that I appreciate about the work that you did in the patriotic, a quilt book. Can you talk a bit more about that? About what made you, to meet what made you offer a contribution to what's some might call [00:39:00] Americana or what some might call it, or as you call it yourself?

[00:39:02] the patriotic, quilt book.

[00:39:05] Carole: [00:39:05] You nailed. It came out of a, actually it actually came out of my art quilt work, which I still continue to make art quilts, but on a much more limited basis, occasional commissions and that sort of thing. But, I had just, I had been making art quilts that were honoring the service of African American men and women, particularly in the period of the, world war two and Korea, because at that time, when they served and my father and uncles were, [00:39:45] part of that generation, when they served, they actually.

[00:39:51]there were legal limits on their ability to participate in American life. The army was segregated, no voting rights were absolutely suppressed in brutal ways, particularly in the South of the U S segregation in the army, the Navy, et cetera. We all know that history. We know more about it now, but I had been.

[00:40:16] I hadn't. I had discovered some memorabilia and, the house of one of my grandparents. And anyway, long story short, I had been making those art quilts and had set that theme to the [00:40:30] side. I wrote my first modern quilt, the set of patterns and self-published, but another thing I taught myself with hell, but self-publish and then I had been looking at my.

[00:40:45]Africans American military quilts, and that sparked in me a drive to first of all, modern modernize patriotic quilts, tie it to the theme. Cause there is one quilt in that book that is actually an art quilt that has photos of. My father and some of, and my uncle and some of his friends who served. [00:41:15] but the, and then another thing that, I don't know where that was coming up for me was the need to tie patriotic quilts.

[00:41:30] To honoring our core liberties that are founded in the constitution. So in that book, I have excerpts from the constitution, which not enough people have read.

[00:41:43]and I include myself in that group because when I started this Ivonne, maybe I better read this constitution myself again. Yeah. a lot of things came together to cause me to say, I'm going to publish this book. And, [00:42:00] unfortunately in the wider quilt world, patriotic quilts seem to be the province of white female quilters and.

[00:42:15] I wasn't trying to challenge that. I wanted to broaden that story. So I said, I'll just do a book. I'll do some patterns, I'll do this book. And then at the end, before I closed that design, I said, I'm adding this particular art quilt. And it's a pattern of sorts, but I wanted to, and with the project that.

[00:42:44] Really [00:42:45] honored where this whole interest in patriotic quilts came from, because my art quilts in the art quilts that I made in that series, I use a lot of traditional patriotic fabrics, but I used them in a very wealthy slash modern way. Yes. it all came together in that book. And then after that, I said, I may not make another red, white, and blue quilt

[00:43:12]enough to move back to my colorway. So that's where that book came from and it still sells. It's not a huge seller, but, and every once in a while, a Gil asks me to lecture about my, [00:43:30] journey, around, the patriotic. A quilt, both art and modern quilt. So yes, I can see that now that, and so would you say that you're madly, modern quilt book is that is a bit more popular.

[00:43:45] Lisa: [00:43:45] Do you think that, that there's, if you were to think about the two in terms of how you. Imagine the trajectory of your work. It seems that both of these fits so beautifully because it's so much, at least in my mind about community and reclamation and who gets to do what and how as well as empowering people with tools to do these things and to claim these things in their own lives.

[00:44:11] What, that's one of the things I really love about what you're doing. Tell us about the, the [00:44:15] modern quilt book.

[00:44:16] Carole: [00:44:16] madly modern. Is, it's interesting to me when I look back now at those patterns. I think toy, I have personally come a long way as well. in particular, there are a couple of patterns in that book that I have turned into, Workshops.

[00:44:34] And, one of them may actually become a 3rd on demand class next year. The techniques that I talk about in that book, I've just pulled them. Forward and expanded what I do with the techniques. I'm not going to rewrite the book, the direction that I should.

[00:44:56] Lisa: [00:44:56] You heard it here, folks. First you've heard it here.

[00:44:58] First folks [00:45:00] to rewrite the book. So when we look up in I don't know, six to eight months, and there's a new book it's going to be,

[00:45:08] Carole: [00:45:08] I was like, oops. But what I have done is take two, two of the patterns in particular. one of them is, the Parisian curve, which is an improvisationally cut curve block, no templates, no painting.

[00:45:25]and I have expanded that technique, and actually I'm creating my second on demand class around that technique. Anyway, it's coming. It's coming along. I have started [00:45:45] filming and I've got a couple of hours done and probably four more hours of filming, to do. But, but when I look at what I described in the book, versus what I teach in the live workshops around that technique now, I've really, I dive deep into what you can do with that.

[00:46:05] That process. My first on demand class also came out of the improv curve. Oh, sorry. Mid century modern, were no, and that's a very popular on demand class. Okay. Occasionally teach an intro class, but I'm probably going to retire the [00:46:30] intro class this year and, really focus on the, on demand class in my own demand classes.

[00:46:37] Although you study it on your own schedule, I also, every few weeks. I run a live Q and a where, Oh, that's nice. Can bring questions and talk about the fabric that they want to use, et cetera. Or I will dive into how to use fabric or some other aspect of the process. And then, I now have started, Recording and doing some extra thing from that recording and posting that in our class site.

[00:47:12] So that those who can't attend [00:47:15] live can watch the recording of what I talked about and what the questions people were asking. So I've. I want to give a bit of the live class community aspect to the on demand classes.

[00:47:32] Lisa: [00:47:32] That was one of the things that I was wondering about, because I feel like you have adjusted what looks like at least to me, from an outside perspective, pretty seamlessly to our current situation where we're, we're recording this in the eighth month of 2020, which has been, completely.

[00:47:51] Overwhelmed with coronavirus and the need for physical distancing and limited travel, et cetera. And you have done such a great job. I think [00:48:00] adapting from the workshops that you used to give in person like the one, the Parisian curves, one that you did at the 54-40 retreat.

[00:48:07] To this new, what we call asynchronous teaching style. and so it just, yeah, just is so impressive to see how you've been able to retain some of the principles, the, of improvisation and encouraging students to just try it. even though you're, even though you might not be meeting them live, but you are there to encourage, through your on-demand class.

[00:48:32] Could you talk a bit about that? That process about what were some of the things you wanted to make sure you prioritize in producing the on-demand class?

[00:48:43] Carole: [00:48:43] Yeah, and [00:48:45] I have to say, I had a bit of foresight, not about where this whole COVID thing, but in early 2019. I decided that I had to figure out a way to get off the road, teaching quilting.

[00:49:02] And back then I had the idea that maybe I could create an on demand class. I loved that. I was, I had a Craftsy account, like everybody did that and I was looking at those classes and then I kept thinking, I can do that. I know how to teach. And I'm like, yeah, I can figure out, I didn't know how, I did not know how I was going to do it, but I started [00:49:30] learning, watching YouTube videos, all types.

[00:49:34] And and I started this process. A year and a half ago. Cause I was looking at some of my old notes recently and like I said, I didn't know how, but I knew there had to be a way. And at the time I was even talking to a couple of companies about, hiring a production company, a video production company and make my class that way.

[00:49:59] Cause I, that's what I knew. and I quickly realized that I did not want to spend that kind of money. They're heading in a different way. And meanwhile, I had discovered YouTube and I'm watching all these YouTube. Tight people, not [00:50:15] even yet in the quilting world. I discovered those kinds of second.

[00:50:20]but yeah, I can see that there was another way that there was a less expensive, but still accessible way. Yes. And I still had some concerns about how would I replicate the face to face intimacy. Yeah. you can, so anyway, fast forward, By the end of 2019, I was making my test videos. I took a couple of classes, with a couple of people, who were doing on demand teaching, and slowly gathering more resources, for myself.

[00:50:55] So I was able to launch my own demand class, [00:51:00] About the same time that everything was starting to shut down too. Based teaching, but I, and I was in a Facebook group, with in fact, Ebony love, who you had, interviewed a few weeks ago.

[00:51:15] Lisa: [00:51:15] That's right. That's right. Yeah.

[00:51:17]Carole: [00:51:17]  a wonderful podcast, but then I remember saying in a post, on the Facebook group, we were in that I really wasn't sure how to replicate the face to face experience.

[00:51:31] With virtual teaching, virtual live teaching, and Ebony challenged my thinking and just ask a couple of really smart questions that caused me to step back and think, is that [00:51:45] really the right question? Am I coming out of this negative perspective, then I realized I was. So she was just enormously helpful around that.

[00:51:54] Shout out to Ebony.

[00:51:56] Lisa: [00:51:56] Yes, absolutely . That's right. That's right.

[00:52:00] Carole: [00:52:00] But anyway, I said my on-demand class launched people, loved it. I said, I'm going for it. So the gills that I had contracted with, I went back to them and said, you want to do a live zoom class, just step into it. And go for it. Learn by doing.

[00:52:17] Yeah, a lot of us teachers were trying to figure out how to pivot. And we all the whole community lifted itself up together

[00:52:26]Lisa: [00:52:26] yes. It's definitely a team lift [00:52:30] situation

[00:52:30] Carole, this has been such a delightful conversation. Can you tell folks where we can find. On social media. Cause I'd love for everyone to follow up with you.

[00:52:37] Carole: [00:52:37] Oh, thank you. Instagram is, my most active social media arena and yeah. It's at Carole with an E Carol underscore Lyles Shaw, and, on, on the internet that you can find my blog. And it's I do a limited amount on Facebook and again, it's Carole Lyles Shaw, but most of my Facebook work are private groups for classes.

[00:53:10] But Instagram and my blog and Carole Lyle's Shaw, [00:53:15] you can find me. That sounds perfect. Thank you so much, Carole. This has been a delightful conversation. I'm so thankful to you. Thanks for being with him, being here with us. Thank you. Thank you, Lisa. And thanks everybody for listening.

[00:53:28]You've been listening to the stitch, please podcast the official podcast of Black women's stitch, the sewing group, where Black lives matter. We appreciate you supporting us by listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at

[00:53:45] If you'd like to support us financially. You can do that by supporting us on Patrion P a T R E O N. And you can find Black women's stitch there in the Patreon directory. And for as little as $2 a month, you can help support the project with things [00:54:00] like editing transcripts and other things to strengthen the podcast.

[00:54:04] And finally, if financial support is not something you can do right now, you can really help the podcast by rating it. And reviewing it anywhere you listen to podcasts that allows you to review them. So I know that not all podcast directories or services allow for review, but for those who do for those that have like star rating, or just ask her a few comments, if you could share those comments.

[00:54:30] And say nice things about us and the stitch please podcast. That is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much. Come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

You may also like...


Discount code SEWBLACKQC for 20% off at Spoonflower and 10% off at Crimson Tate.