Nancy Schallner’s love of her city inspires her.
Nancy Schallner creates Tulsa-centric pillows and accessories for her Etsy shop. Her great-great uncle, James B. A. Robertson, was the fourth governor of Oklahoma. Her grandfather was a City of Tulsa engineer who inspired her love of history.
How did your work at THS inspire you to create TulsaGal.net? For about a year or so, before 2007, I got all of the emails that came in with questions. The executive director at the time, Sharon Terry, said, “I think this would be a good job for you.” Of course, I loved it, because I got to do research. It came about because the very first blog post I ever did was about the doors.
Someone donated a bunch of old doors from buildings torn down during urban renewal in the 1960s-70s, and it was your task to figure out their origins. It really sent me on a quest. Like a dog with a bone. I had to find out what I could. And it was so interesting, I thought, “I need to share this.” And the more I thought about it, I thought, “There’s a lot of stuff I could share.”
What’s your blogging process? I have to be inspired to want to do that much work. And it is a lot of work. Then comes the research, and the photos. I learned a lot about reading photos here (at THS), to really magnify and look up close. You see some of the coolest stuff besides the “big picture.”
Your blog has been quiet recently. Will you pick it up again? I just haven’t been inspired. I may be again. My other business (Tulsa Gal Designs) is just swallowing me, and that’s great. I’m thrilled about that.
How long has your Etsy shop, Tulsa Gal Designs, been active? I’m in my fourth year. I’ve been a crafter for a long time. And a quilter. I’ve always made pillows of one sort or another.
The way you write gives Tulsa this sense of magic and wonder. The more you research Tulsa’s history, you can see why it’s the magic city. Everything that happened to it is because of oil, and it just transformed everything. We were called “The Magic City” for a long time, too.
As a high school history buff, did learning about dark times such as the Tulsa Race Riot change your opinion of Tulsa? Actually, it just enlightened me. And it helped a lot of the puzzle pieces fall into place. Why everything is the way it is, why generations after generations of bad feelings had just been passed on. And it’s sad, but at least I know why.
Do you think Tulsa has learned from its mistakes in the “urban renewal” era? I think they’re definitely more aware of it now. Because enough of us have finally spoken up. But you can’t bring back what you’ve lost. I’m always happy to hear when something has been saved.