Victoria Findlay Wolfe (the Modern Quilt Perspectives blog tour)…

(You can see Victoria’s stop on the blog tour on her blog here and see what she was inspired to make. You can also enter for a chance to win a copy of the book, though personally I recommend going ahead and buying a copy…)

I don’t talk with Victoria as much as I would like to. Partially that is because there never seems to be time, but more than anything I cannot imagine a person who feels more awkward in a conversation, any conversation, than me. But when I do talk with Victoria I always feel like I’ve learned a little something more about this practice that we share, not necessarily new information, but a subtly different way of thinking about how I go about my work.

thomas-knauer-sews-victoria-1That’s the thing about Victoria, I think she has an amazingly wide ranging way of looking at quilting. I for one know that I carry my years in academia into everything I do; each quilt I make is first an intellectual venture and then everything else. Perhaps what I admire most about Victoria is her almost chameleon-like capacity to inhabit so many aspects of quilting. By that I don’t mean that she changes herself in any way; rather she seems so comfortable, so fluent in so many vocabularies, so many aspects of the tradition. Her mind ranges across so many approaches with apparent ease. This is why I admire her so; she always seems to have yet another perspective, another way of thinking about an issue or an approach. It if for these reasons that I turned to Victoria to write the foreword for my book, and that I am grateful for her incredibly generous words. Of course I admire her work, but it is her ideas (and her self) that draw my most profound respect.

thomas-knauer-sews-victoria-2But let me pause to say a few words about Victoria’s quilts. If you don’t know her quilts, go search them out, find the images, examine them and read about them. You will be rewarded. When I look at Victoria’s quilts I find myself thinking about a sentence that she wrote in her foreword to Modern Quilt Perpsectives: “By adding layers of questions when we make our quilts, we promote a conversation.” The way Victoria approaches her quilts seems to beg viewers to search out those layers, whether they be layers of history or personal meanings. Her quilts all speak about time to me; not simply the time involved, but a rich entanglement of past, present, and future (history, practice, and aspiration) embodied in an object (the quilt) for someone to live with. Her work feels rich with history, but not a looking back; it is about searching out the markings of one’s own history within the present, which seems an amazingly prescient theme for quilting.

But beyond her quilts, there is also Victoria’s work with Bumble Beans Basics. Through BBB, Victoria has gathered and shared thousands of quilts; she is perpetually committed to quilting as a valuable act, as something that can matter not just as a tradition, but in people’s lives. If you can, please support BBB and send a quilt (or two or three).

I often feel profoundly alone doing what I do; I do not know a lot of quilters in my daily life. And in an industry that is so often more interested in the next trend, the next gadget to market, there doesn’t always seem a lot of room for going deep. And that is what I always find with Victoria: depth, both in her work and her commitment to the practice of quilting. And ultimately that is why it feels such a privilege to know and be able to work with Victoria. I could not be more proud that Victoria paused to spend some time with my book, and to share her thoughts and her words. I feel privileged to know her and to share this quilting world with her.

I cannot thank you enough, Victoria…


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