Aaron: So, um, I've just been starting off the interviews by asking people kind of what inspired you to join the project and Um, yeah, what, what about the project was something that you found interesting or that drew you to it?
Kailee: Um, for the quilt itself, I think after hearing you talk about it, even though we weren't in like, The same classes all the time was really passion like you were really passionate about it It made me really like want to research more about how I can unlearn my like racism Mm hmm. Um, and I do think I've done a lot of more reading since meeting you.
You know unbiased stuff And for this specific quilt thing I like the fact that you could take a portrait and do like any kind of technique to it. I find like That's always so interesting. It's like you're not expecting them to all look the same, but people can apply different like techniques and Connecting like fabrics together.
So I wanted to do that
Aaron: Yeah, and you it looks like you use some hand sewing and some machine sewing and a mix of fabrics
Kailee: Trying to get some fun little dimension. Yeah.
Aaron: Yeah, I love it Um, and so who did you choose for
Kailee: your portrait? So this is Elizabeth Neal Gay. And I found her really interesting from the portrait just because she kind of looked like you couldn't mess with her, I think.
Kind of like, she was just really, like, stoic, but also, like, powerful in, like, her portrait. Um, and I think learning more about, like, what she's known for in, like, what she did for this time period was really interesting because She was part of the group of women that went to that, uh, I don't remember the name of it.
That's okay. Um, she went to the, it was a conference about like racial. Like an anti lynching. Yeah. In England. Yeah. So she was part of the group of women that went. Okay, cool. And it's like, I think during that time I'm sure there weren't planes. I can't remember. But can you imagine like. No,
Aaron: no planes.
Kailee: Getting on a boat I think. Getting on a boat. Getting on being on a boat for like a couple months to get to England with a whole bunch of women and like, not being able to go in, but like, knowing that they weren't gonna be allowed in, but trying to show up still, I think is really powerful.
Aaron: That's so interesting, because I, I read about that, um, I think it was the Boston, the Boston Anti Lynching Society.
Kailee: was the World Anti Slavery Convention in 18. And
Aaron: that group of women from Boston, like, all went. And I know, I remember reading that they weren't allowed inside. Yeah,
Kailee: but drunk men were. Yeah.
Aaron: So I didn't, I didn't read
Kailee: that. Like, any man could go into that and like, I think she had like a quote that said basically she was like, it was so interesting seeing like drunk men who couldn't even talk or speaking on a topic that we were all educated about, but we couldn't talk about it because we were women.
Yeah. Um, but still finding it important enough to like travel and still be out there. It's like really interesting.
Aaron: Yeah. I mean, it definitely speaks to the, their level of commitment, you know, especially because like you were saying it wasn't, necessarily something that they were surprised to not be included, you know, so, um, because I think at that time, I mean, the whole reason they, um, founded their own anti lynching society was because the The men wouldn't let them be a part of the, of the local Boston one.
So, you know, they knew like, and, and the history of women's rights in the United States and in England are kind of parallel. A lot of that, a lot of those fights were happening at the same time. So,
Kailee: yeah. Mm. And she is like from, I think Pennsylvania and she had like an anti-slavery, an anti-lynching organization there.
Mm-Hmm. . And I don't know, just seeing like the women who were like super pa like passionate about it and still like, I can't imagine going on a boat and being like, well, I'm gonna be there for like a week and I'm not even gonna allow, be allowed in.
Aaron: So . Yeah. And. And I don't even know how many days a trip like that, plus, like, being on a crowded boat, and who knows, like, what kind of, like, illness, and all kinds of things.
Kailee: Yeah, and it was, like, my first time learning about those kind of conventions, I think. In like a context of like, relating it to a person who went. And then I found a whole bunch of other women that were also really more progressive and like, did a lot. She did a lot, but like, she wasn't known for a lot compared to the other women in that group.
So, I don't know, it was interesting. I had the two little Colors to kind of showcase like Pennsylvania and like the England kind of connection. Oh nice, nice. That was what I was thinking. Yeah. So, we'll see. Yeah, I love that. Yeah.
Aaron: And the, what, the machine sewing that kind of looks like, almost like a lifeline or a heartbeat.
Kailee: Yeah. Like that. Yeah, I wanted something a little bit more machine compared to like my hands that weren't even like, this wasn't even on a embroidery hoop. So it was
Aaron: very loose. Loose. I love it. Thank you.
Kailee: I'm really happy. Nice. It was fun to make, actually. It was good. And we all did it as a group. So it was like we were all watching like a little TV show.
Nice. Fun little like knitting circle or something.
Aaron: Yeah. I mean, that's definitely a part of, you know, the, an aspect of the project that is important to me is like having it be a place where People can connect with each other, and even though, you know, you and Chloe and Margaret live together, and you connect with each other all the time, it's, you're connecting around a different, you know, topic, a different thing, and it's, I think, like, in my own experience of doing anti racism work, um, It's so much easier to keep going when you have other people in your life who you know can support you in that or who are also exploring and learning.
Kailee: Or can give you opportunities to talk about it. Yeah. Like a nicer discourse. And especially learning about the other two women. I think we were talking about our women while we were doing it. Yeah. And like they're from different time periods.
Aaron: Oh cool, so you're learning like a whole history lesson.
Kailee: So Chloe had like the woman who had like a railroads.
It's just a woman and I, I know Margaret had like a writer, so it was cool.
Aaron: Interesting. Yeah. Mm-Hmm? . Yeah. I, I don't know a ton about the women that you all chose. Yeah. Um, because right before that workshop, um, I found the. Boston Historical Society, I think, has, um, or maybe the Massachusetts Historical Society.
They have this, like, huge archive of, um, I hear
Kailee: Chloe. I hear Chloe. Chloe's coming!
Aaron: I hear her. I, they have this huge archive of, um, images and documents and historical, um, artifacts. And they had a whole section. That was abolitionist women. And I was like, oh my gosh! And there were So many of these photographs, these portraits of these women and, um, since they were labeled as abolitionists, I didn't really do a ton more, um, research about them and who they were and what they did.
Aaron: can't wait to hear. Um, yeah, so we're, we're recording our interview. It's fine. I have this, uh, Awesome editing app that I paid for for the month. It's called Descript. And it transcribes the whole interview. And it's like, it's so smart. It uses AI technology to delete all the filler words. And I can like, get rid of weird background noise.
Yeah, that's so nice. Yeah, so. This is why I'm like, it's Wednesday, but I'll still have these edited and ready for Friday. So, um, I was going to ask you, Kaylee, because you have, you know, we've been in the textiles department together for so long. I know. I haven't even had time to like, think about and process how this is the end.
Um, but you know, you've seen the project evolve over time, and I don't know, I'm just like curious what your, what your
Kailee: observations have been. I think, seeing from like your first year review stuff, and like how you've Like, challenge that horrible day into, like, more progressive work. I think it, like, your Rest Eye series is super inspired.
Like, I, I loved when you were talking about it. I loved at, the original apron was like, left over, like, way too long, so it was like, you weren't even sure it was gonna come out the way it did, and it turned out so good. So, and, seeing, like, your trial and error and process of how to display them is, like, really inspiring, cause you wanted to talk about the harshness, and I think with The applications of the Rust and like the applications of the topics you were talking about is like really successful.
And then seeing how just from the Rust series that like, you're like I don't want to just talk about the bad. I think seeing that change from like you wanting to do more of the like good parts. I didn't know if that was originally part of it or like after you started the Rust series you were like this is kind of heavy.
So having like a little bit of a break of like also women that were. super, like, passionate about the same kind of topics you are. Yeah. I like seeing the dynamics between both works, and then how they connect together. So it's been really good. Thank you. I love the use of Indigo, too. Thank you.
Aaron: So. Yeah, it definitely, um, I mean, it's interesting because as I've been reflecting on my time here and writing my thesis and stuff, I'm realizing how much of my work really came out of this trip that I took to Montgomery in the fall of 2021.
Um, and like, that was where I learned about how prevalent the lynchings that were connected to women and girls were. Um, and the first time I really learned like how such a minor thing like brushing past a woman. I mean, I didn't, I haven't even included any of this in the exhibition, but the whole Tulsa massacre happened because a young man tripped and fell into, or they don't really know what happened, but he was in an elevator with a young woman who was operating the elevator and she was white.
And that's what triggered the entire Tulsa massacre. And so Like, there's definitely work to continue to make because I can make a whole, you know, who knows what about that. And then there's also a town in Florida that was completely burned to the ground because of a similar case. So That, like, trip to, to Montgomery was where the wheels started turning for, you know, how do I create work that tells those stories?
And then I happened upon the memorial, a memorial for, um, Viola Luizzo, who was a white woman from, I think, Minnesota. And when the, um, When they were trying to get the Voting Rights Act passed, and they were going to do the march from Selma to Montgomery, you know, the first attempt was Bloody Sunday, and they didn't make it past Selma.
And so, Martin Luther King Jr. put a call out to churches across the country. country to, you know, please come down and support us. We need all the people that we can get in order to make this march happen. And so she heard that and left her three Children and her husband and went down to Selma to help out however she could.
And she was I was in a car with a young black man driving, they had just shuttled marchers from Montgomery back to Selma, and they were going back to Montgomery to pick up another vehicle, um, load of people, and they were gunned down by a car full of KKK members, including an undercover FBI agent. And, um, she was killed.
Fortunately, the man who was with her, um, was able to get a, get away, um, and survived. But the, the memorial, so I, I drove from Montgomery to Selma and I learned that the National Park Service apparently like has, it's not just parks, they also do a lot of historical, um, research and like public, um, information.
And so I found a lot of information about abolitionists. through the Boston Public Park, or Boston Park Service. Um, but they had, so they had a little like visitor center that I stopped at, and I had seen a marker for the memorial but I didn't know what it was, and then I read about her at the visitor center, and went back to, to the memorial, and it's a memorial that has It's been erected and maintained and funded all by black, a black church and black organizations.
And I was traveling in that, for that trip, I was traveling alone as a, as a white woman. And it was my first time really spending a lot of time in the South. And I was nervous to tell people. Why I was there and what I was doing and, you know, I don't know if you're someone who's got a confederate flag hanging out in front of your home, you know, and there were enough of them that that was a possibility.
And and so to, like, be experiencing that level of vulnerability and discomfort and then to imagine the courage and the conviction that she had to go down into a much more volatile and dangerous environment. And, you know, so it was definitely The quote project definitely came out of, you know, I need something hopeful to balance for myself, for people who are looking at my work, for the whole, you know, whole community.
Um, and I think it was that story of her, you know, risking her life and ultimately losing her life in the name of passing the Voting Rights Act for African Americans. Um, I'm sure that that definitely played a part in planting that seed. Yeah. Blah, blah, blah.
Yeah. Well, um, I think I have an app that can edit out all of these little moments. Um, thank you for your support and being my textiles buddy for the last several years. And I can't wait to add your piece to the quilt. Yes, I'm excited.
Aaron: Thank you.