Thursday, July 23, 2009
I liked Joy from the minute we met. She smiled openly and while nervous seemed very much at peace with herself. I could not have asked for a better first interview. While filling out the paperwork, she asked if she had to use her prison or real name. She was sentenced with her married name but does not wish to use it which is understandable. Of course, I told her she could use any name that she wanted. She was also quite nervous about her speaking ability. I can assure you that this simply is not the case as you will discover when you read her interview .
The prison wanted me to ask each woman to explain why she was there and I agree that this is a part of their story which needed to be included. However, this was not my focus nor was I there to judge. None of women consider themselves good quiltmakers. They all had weak hand shakes. Except for Joy, who has been in prison the longest (more than 12 years), all took a while to look me in the eye. I hugged each women when we were done. Joy especially appreciated the hug and expressed surprise that I would do so. I hope you will leave comments for Joy about her quilt. I promised each woman that I would share what the quilt world thinks of their quilts. I told them that the quiltmakers are the best people in the world and that they would be judged on their quilt's ability to express and not the place that they have to call home.