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New Pathways into Quilt History written by Kimberly Wulfert, www.antiquequiltdating.com

Quilt Historian Interview with:
Anne Copeland
Professional Curator, Quilt Historian,
Certified Appraiser of Quilts and Other Textiles,
Quilt Repair and Restoration Teacher, Lecturer, Author,
Director of Fiberarts Connection of So. CA, a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit

The text is provided by each interviewee and is unabridged and unedited.

Contact Information

Anne Copeland,
anneappraiser@yahoo.com
www.fiberartsconnection.blogspot.com
P.O. Box 1376
Lomita, CA 90717
310-539-5087

1) How do you prefer to be described as, within the field of textile history? If you have a business, please tell us about that.

"Quilt Historian , Quilt and Textile Appraiser, Originator and Director of the Fiber Arts Connection."


2) When and where did you begin your serious interest in the history of quilts, textiles or garments? 

"I have a degree in Archaeology, and I have always been interested in history's mysteries. In the early 1980s, a boss gave me a gift certificate for a small quilt supply store in San Pedro. I still remember that day; as I walked in the door, right in front of me was a book rack, and on the center of the rack was the book by Barbara Brackman, Clues in the Calico. I bought that book without ever seeing anything else in that shop, and I was "addicted" overnight. When I began to study quilt history and to do my own research, suddenly history had a context for me. About the same time, I cofounded a small quilt history study group, Repiecers of the Past, with my friend Kathy Reeves, in Long Beach, CA. I remember how fun those days were with all the unique quilts we saw and all the interesting people we met at the meetings."

3) What “known” individual (or group) influenced you most and why?

"It was Barbara Brackman because she was and is so knowledgeable about antique quilts, fabric and history at a time when few people were writing and talking about the subject."

4) Who became your personal mentor as you began your learning?

"
Pat Nichols had a major impact on me. She was doing verbal appraisals at a quilt show out in Orange Co., and I went up to her, though I had no quilt ,and talked to her about becoming a quilt appraiser. It was after that conversation that I ended up connecting up with American Quilter's Society (AQS).

"I became a certified appraiser through them in 1993. I met Beverly Dunivent at the same time and she and I became appraisal partners, assisting each other in many ways."

5) What aspect of study were you most passionate about at first? How has this changed over time and why?

"
Beverly and I decided to write a paper on the kit quilts that we had encountered in Paducah. They fascinated us and we decided to learn more about the industry. I was particularly fascinated because most of the kit quilt industries were begun by and run by women, at a time when women still did not have the vote. We decided to submit a paper on the topic to AQSG's annual journal, Uncoverings and it was published in 1994.

"Judy Matheson's husband did most of the photography for it and people were willing to send their quilts to us for photographing. Before we knew it, we had enough for a book as well as the paper."

6) What is your current “Pet project.”

"
One is to update, finish and publish the kit quilt book.

"I have two other things - two children's books: Tenshoes and the Skittyfoot and That Dog, Liver!"

7) What aspect of your research or contribution to textile studies has satisfied you the most?

"My work with my nonprofit, Fiberarts Connection of So. CA that I started in 2003 has been my other extremely satisfying contribution. I have loved seeing the physically/developmentally challenged fiber artists I work with grow out of the isolation that often accompanies any form of disability, and go on to create successful careers, win awards, get published, and become far more proactive about their own art. Many of their stories have touched my heart deeply, and seeing them grow and develop a sense of belonging, a sense of pride and confidence is so rewarding. When women were still fighting doctors and the general public to get things like fibromyalgia and even arthritis recognized as real physical challenges, I was acknowledging and validating the women for these things and giving them a healing way to visualize them for the public in our exhibits."

8) Within this arena, what would you like to do, but haven’t done yet?

"I want to transcribe and submit two oral interviews I have done of two quilters I know to the Alliance of American Quilts oral history project called QUILTER'S-SOS. There are other quilters I know too who are getting up in age, or who are very ill, and I want to make sure their stories are captured.

"We are in process of transitioning Fiberarts Connection. Previously our organization focused on getting venues for traveling exhibits and providing assistance with professional development for the physically challenged fiber artist. Today we are reaching out to assist other nonprofits and good causes through the assistance of our physically challenged artists, and also we are including children in more of our events. Instead of traveling exhibits, we will focus on one or two live venues a year.

" I want to keep this nonprofit very organic to meet emerging needs as we identify them."

9) Any further comments are invited.

"
These days I am finally working with dyes, which have long been one of my favorite experiences. I want to research natural dyes more, as well as the history of dyes."

10) Please describe (in a list) the contributions you have made via books, presentations, exhibits, contests, articles, fabric lines, research papers and the like.

Publications

1981 - present - Numerous articles on quilt history and related quilt articles published in various quilt publications

1994 - Published in Uncoverings, American Quilt Study Group annual research paper journal

1994 - Coauthored book, Quilted by Numbers: History of the Kit Quilt Cottage Industry. Book currently being under revision

Field Work

1990 - Present - Professional Quilt Show Judge- at quilt shows within California, including Pacific International, National Quilt Association and many others

2008 - Assisted Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) with formation of SAQA University online (Wikipedia format). Ongoing articles written for the University.

2005 - Former committee member, Arts and Disabilities Network

2003 - Founder & Director, Fiberarts Connection of Southern California, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) www.fiberartsconnection.blogspot.com Professional fiber art and mixed media exhibit curator for this organization and others.

1994 - Cofounder, Repiecers of the Past (Quilt History Study Group)

1993- Certified Quilt Appraiser, American Quilter's Society (AQS) - Member, Professional Association of Appraisers of Quilted Textiles (PAAQT)

1883 - Former Newsletter Editor, South Bay Quilt Guild

1882 - Former Community Services Coordinator, South Bay Quilt Guild

1882 - Former Historian, South Bay Quilt Guild

1975 - 1983 - Assisted my former husband, Spencer MacCallum, an Anthropologist, Philosopher and supporter of the arts with promoting and developing Juan Quezada and the Potters of Mata Ortiz, Mexico. It was through this experience that I really learned the business end of art, and was able to translate it into workable material that I could later use in the quilt community.

Classes/Lectures

  • Quilt Conservation/Repair/Restoration

  • Quilt Dating

  • Creating Quilts from Orphan Blocks

  • How Quilts are Valued

  • Things Mama Never Told You about Quilts

  • Art 101 - Studying contemporary quilt artists from the book, Masters: Art Quilters and teaching lessons on Yahoo Fiberarts Connection group.


Thank you very much, Anne, for sharing your self with us and for the insights we gain because of your efforts in this field. Continued success to you.


* Women (and Men) at Work

© 2006 - 2016 Kimberly Wulfert, PhD. Absolutely no copies, reprints, use of photos or text are permitted for commercial or online use. One personal copy for study purposes is permitted.

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