Teddy Pruett
Second Hand Story Quilts
Artist's Statement


People ask me why I make quilts, followed immediately by the statement that they "don't have the patience."  Creating quilts has nothing at all to do with patience - the process is as necessary to me as breathing.  And you've never met a more impatient person! 

I recycle the needlework made by unknown women who came before me.  Perhaps I love working with old used fabrics because I don't want people to look at my quilts and say "Oh, I have that fabric!"  The truth is that I can't bear to see someone's hard work thrown away.  I use bits and pieces of anything made by hand - embroidery, crochet, aprons, etc., and  I recycle vintage yardage for the wonderfully mellow - and sometimes tacky - look.                   

Before I began quilting in 1974, I was a writer. I was fascinated by the fact that a person could express an idea, a story, or an emotion in written form and another person reading those words could understand and experience the same thing. A transfer had been made and a connection established between two strangers.

Now, as I observe viewers studying my quilts, I see them identify with and laugh about the "To Hell with Housework" quilt, I hear them read aloud the jokes on the chicken quilt, and see them elbow each other in delight as they inspect the drooping eggplant breasts on the Venus de Milo on "The Eggplant that Ate Baltimore."   Yet others shed tears as they examine "Memorial Day" in detail, or read the stories of every woman in "The Whispers I Hear."

As I see this taking place, I am stunned to realize the quilts are actually speaking to people - and the silliness or sadness in my heart has been transferred to them, just as powerfully as if it had been the written word. All this from a few fragments of old cloth.

Amazing, simply amazing.