Bill Volkening (the Modern Quilt Perspectives blog tour)…

(Go check out Bill’s stop on the blog tour here. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your generous words Bill…)

When I started working on this blog tour I drew up a list of people I hoped would take part. Of course some of my quilting besties came first, and the people who helped make the book actually happen, but after that one starts to work, to draw up a collection of people who’s thoughts you really want to hear, and to have them share those thoughts with the world. And when I got to that point, the first name I wrote down was Bill Volkening.

thomas-knauer-sews-bill-volkening-3Of course, that led me to feeling entirely awkward (not that that is unusual). You see, I didn’t really know Bill; I just knew about him. I had followed his writings (especially at Why Quilts Matter), and his collection of quilts. I had a profound respect for Bill, and the way he was bringing the quilting tradition to a new generation of quilters. But you see, I didn’t really know him; I was going to have to go in cold, and I hate that.

Since then I have been lucky enough to chat with Bill somewhat regularly about this, that, and the other. I have also had the chance to take some more time to consider his collection. I love that he doesn’t just collect masterworks, he collects quilts, just as they are. His collection perpetually reminds me of the rich history of quilts as used objects, as things made not to be perfected, but to be utilized. His collection reminds me of the way quilts come to accrue meaning through use, not just by being made, and that most quilts are imperfect…

It is that sensibility, that understanding, that went into the one quilt in the book that Lisa did not quilt:


For me modern quilting has nothing to do with being new; it is about being now, being specifically relevant to our time. And for me that is what Bill so often, and so eloquently, brings to the quilting community. He speaks not just of the beauty of quilts, but of the context that surrounds them. He asks us to understand quilts not just to better appreciate them, but so that we can better understand quilts today.

For all of those reasons I could not do otherwise but ask Bill to take part first thing, and is why I am so grateful that he agreed. And as a bonus I have gotten the chance to get to know Bill, which makes me very lucky indeed.


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