Native Memphian Dr. Denean Carr is doing her part to keep the art form of quilting alive and modern.
Carlee McCullough: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Dr. Denean Carr: I was born and raised in North Memphis. I was the 1991 Valedictorian of Northside High School. I did my undergraduate studies at Christian Brothers University and the University of Memphis. I received my doctorate in Dental Surgery from the University of Tennessee at Memphis in 2003. I am currently living in Delaware, Ohio.
I am left-handed, so I am highly in touch with the “right brain,” which houses creativity. I have always had a natural knack for visualizing things and connecting with all things artsy, abstract and creative.
CM: How and when did you become involved in quilt making?
Dr. Denean Carr
CM: How did it become a business opportunity?
DDC: I started making quilts for myself and posting pictures of them on my Facebook page, “Neanie’s Quilts”. My Facebook friends thought they were great and that the quilts superseded hobby-level work. They encouraged me to try to pursue quilting as a business. I said, “Hey why not?” It was one of the best decisions I made!
DDC: My greatest challenge has truly been trying to get fellow African Americans to see the importance and the value of a quilt. Most blacks don’t know that quilting is an integral part of our history. For example, during the days of the Underground Railroad, quilt makers would make quilts with secret messages and codes embedded in the designs. They would then wash the quilts and hang them on a clothesline to dry. “Conductors” on the Underground Railroad would see the quilts, get the messages, and subsequently know the next step to take with “passengers” to get them to freedom. QUILTING IS A FORM OF ART.
CM: What is the greatest reward in being an entrepreneur?
DDC: Having the flexibility of time. There is no greater feeling than being able to have the choice of taking your time to work and indulge in something you are passionate about. Quilting is my passion – my calling. To be able to set my own hours and take my time to create quilts is rewarding and fulfilling on an extremely deep personal level. No job – no matter how much it pays – has been able to make me feel the way quilting does.
CM: What are some daily habits that made you successful?
DDC: I wake up positive. I start with the end in mind. I tell myself that I will be successful at what I do, and then I work to achieve whatever goal(s) I set for myself. I am mentally conditioned to achieve against all odds and surpass others by giving 110 percent to whatever tasks I undertake.
CM: What’s the next step for you?
DDC: My goal is to get more exposure for Neanie’s Quilts in order to do more custom work and also to see my unique creations sold in specialty shops worldwide.
CM: Any closing remarks?
DDC: Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my passion and my quilting business! You may contact me at www.neaniesquilts.com or call 901-573-6839 and just ask for “Neanie.”