What Would You Ask Ken Burns About Quilts?

posted in: Art, Paean, Quiltfolk, Work 14
A few of Ken Burns’s quilts in Lincoln. Photo: Melanie Zacek for Quiltfolk.


Something pretty cool happened last week: I got to talk to Ken Burns about his quilt collection.

If you got to talk to Ken Burns about his quilt collection, what would you ask him? After you asked him, would you hang up the phone and fall over on the floor and replay every second of the conversation in your mind to recall moments when you sounded like a dork or loser? Upon discovering that you probably did sound dorky at least at one point, did you console yourself that at least you interviewed Ken Burns??

That’s how it went for me.

Last weekend, Team Quiltfolk went to the Ken Burns quilt exhibit in Lincoln, Nebraska and we have worked tirelessly for the past 7-8 days (yes, I worked on it while working on my thesis) to bring you this free — FREE! — Quiltfolk Exclusive. It’s a 28-page, online-only PDF that you can by clicking this link and friends, it is very, very good. It’s been making the rounds on social media, but if you don’t use it much (like me), I hope this blog post gets to you.

Ken Burns was so nice. And the quilts are so beautiful. And Quiltfolk is so cool. I want this kind of wonderful experience all the time, this kind of blissful story to cover, but I know better. Some days, you just like, eat toast and you have to work on less-fun stuff.

On those days, remember these.

14 Responses

  1. Kim
    | Reply

    Many questions!

    1) What do you look for or what is your eye drawn to when deciding on a quilt?

    2) Do you buy a particular size quilt?

    3). Would you consider mentoring me?

  2. Heather
    | Reply

    Thanks so much for the link – and to Quilt Folk for making it freely available. I would love to subscribe to Quilt Folk – but the exchange rate and postage to New Zealand make it unrealistic for me.

  3. Cathy
    | Reply

    I loved the interview with Ken. Thanks for sharing his life for us. Don’t you just love quilts?

  4. Cheryl Hopson
    | Reply

    Oh.my.goodness! The exhibit and article are both amazing! Yes,yes,yes to New England as another location for Ken Burn’s quilts. Maybe in Lowell? I had goosebumps after seeing and reading about this collection. Wish I had your words Mary to convey the joy in being able to share in the excitement of this exhibit. Thank you,thank you,thank you!

  5. Melanie Evans
    | Reply

    In a dork too and have those “second thoughts” after an encounter with someone I admire. You asked questions I wouldn’t have thought of. My geek moment came when I realized my visit to the museum and yours *almost* coincided. Missed you by *this* much. Oh well. Get to meet you at our Guild meeting next month.

  6. Helen G
    | Reply

    Oh Mary, how wonderful! Thank you and Quiltfolk for sharing this beautiful piece with your readers. It is so truly expressive of what we all feel about quilting I think. At least for me. I have saved it to my favs to go back to again and again. I have long admired Ken Burns for his contributions to our American history. Now I can love his quilts too!
    btw, CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU!! You rock girl! So glad you have accomplished this desired goal in your life and now you may continue to use your skills to bring your special beauty into the world of writing and quilting. God bless!

  7. Sharon
    | Reply

    Holy cow, you made Ken Burn’s day!

  8. Sue
    | Reply

    I thought your interview with Ken Burns was terrific! And thanks so much to Quiltfolk for making it available to everyone! I love the detail photos. That is when I imagine the skillful hands that cut the cloth and stitched it together so beautifully.

    Kudos to the designer of the exhibit; I love the quotes right on the walls by the quilts!

  9. Bob Collis
    | Reply

    I loved your interview, and thought you did a great job!
    If I could ask him anything, it would be if he would ever consider doing a series on pool, and legendary pool/billiard players, similar to the series he did on baseball.

  10. Nancy Horton
    | Reply

    so happy you got to do this interview…sooooo, will it be published in Quiltfolk??? pleeeeeaaassseee???

  11. HelenMarir
    | Reply

    Fabulous! You, Ken Burns, QUILTS!

  12. Barbara
    | Reply

    A few years ago I watched an interview with Ken Burns on TV, talking about and displaying his quilt. I enjoyed it then, so good to read more about him and his love of quilts. Thank you Mary, for making this available to us.

  13. karen s
    | Reply

    Simply stunning! All the words, all the thoughts, all the quilts, all the Beauty! Thank you, Mary.

  14. Summer
    | Reply

    I would ask Ken Burns what his next documentary project will be. If he was looking for ideas, I have a few – the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, the Great Migration from 1916 to 1970, the Women’s Rights Movement from Susan B Anthony to contemporary celebrities, how American scientists and their discoveries/inventions drove the manufacturing, chemical, and technology industries of the 20th century, and the Pioneers from Jamestown to the Civil War and its effects on Native Americans. That’s just what I came up with in 10 minutes. I’m sure Ken Burns has these and loads more in his back pocket!

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