Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An Interview with Jacquie Scuitto, The Quilt Muse

The following is an interview with my co-author of A Black and White Tale. Her writing really made my vision for the book and the quilts all come together into a delightful story!

Jacquie, tell us about yourself.
Jacquie at the sewing table!
I was born and raised in Maine, went to college in NY State and lived there for some years afterward, then moved to  Europe for 25 years -- Italy and Germany.  My two daughters were both born in Italy but grew up and still live in Germany.  I married my DH, Louis, right out of college and we were married for nearly 58 years before his death in 2010.  We returned to the USA in 1986 and lived in his home town in Sayville, NY, and moved to Vermont in 2003.  Though I had sewn clothing for years I’ve only been quilting since 1991.

How long have you been writing poetry?
My first poem was published in a local newspaper when I was 8.  Then I took time out for years!  I did write poems in college, some of which I still have and most of which I cringe at now!  Joining a couple of on-line quilt lists in 1996 provided impetus through the many discussion threads to express myself in verse.  Since the first ones posted elicited positive responses I was encouraged to write more.

How long does it take to write an 8 stanza poem?
I rarely write any that long and there is no set time required in any case.  Some verses practically write themselves, others refuse to coalesce to a coherent conclusion no matter how long I try.

What does it take to get an idea for another verse?
Usually a comment or question on one of the on-line lists I belong to. Other times it is just from a stray thought.  A few have been written for particular people or events but those don't get posted to the lists!

Did you enjoy verse when you were a child? Who was your favorite poet?
We often learned poems in school and I also had a delightful book, 100 Best Poems for Boys and Girls, where I first met verses by Ogden Nash, Emily Dickinson and many other poets.  I also read the Alice in Wonderland books.  One of my aunts gave me a notebook in which she had copied some of the poems by A.A. Milne as well.  Looking back I realize that I liked verse with strong rhythms and vivid word pictures.

Scrapyard Cats  by Jacquie Scuitto
What is it about quilting that makes you want to write about it?
Quilting opened up a whole new world to me especially after I joined on-line quilt lists and I found a lot to say in verse.  I could even make some fairly sharp comments without getting flamed!

How did you choose the quilts that were added to the story in A Black and White Tale?
Some seemed obvious like the tea table and teapot to go with the one of Oreo with the broken teapot.  The flowers and leaves went well with Oreo in the garden and the Winona Lake ones, even though Oreo was in none of them, seemed to add to the reactions she could have had.

What is it about cats or pets?
Jacquie's cat T2 supervising the quilt scraps
I always had cats as a child as well as for most of my married life.  My husband liked them as well.  In fact when we hadn't had one for several years he wanted to take home some kittens we met at a place where we were staying!  I realized that we NEEDED a cat -- and we haven't been without one or more since.  I currently have two, a tiger named T2, and my black and white Flecki (German for spotted).  They are both getting on but seem to be good for a number of years yet.  I find that they add a bit of life to the house.

How long did it take you to write the verse for A Black and White Tale?
I don't really remember.  The tricky bit was incorporating the new Oreo quilts that Ann kept making!

Flecki guarding the front porch
Are there any amusing stories or difficulties about writing for the book?  
Not really.  It was pretty straightforward once I had settled on the sequence of the quilts -- which did keep changing as more quilts were added!

Any stories about working with Ann Fahl?
I loved her comment that my adding the non-Oreo quilts to the story made her look at her body of work in a new light.

What’s your favorite part of the book?
The Oreo quilts!

Has the publishing of the book changed anything for you?
I feel more like a 'real' author, even though I had already published a book of verse in 1996. This one has an ISBN number!

What's next?
I am trying to gather up my courage and energies to try to publish some of my quilt verses, probably self-publishing in some way.

Jacquie taking a moment away from her quilting!
If you are interested in learning more about Jacquie Scuitto, and reading some of her poetry go to her blog at

Thanks for reading!
Ann Fahl

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Great to get to "virtually meet" Jacquie!