Victoria Findlay Wolfe

I am very pleased to have Victoria Findlay Wolfe as the next interviewee for the modern quilter series. If you have not come across Victoria and her amazing work before, you are in for a real treat. Her quilts are among some of my favourites and she is a inspiration to many.

With a background as an artist, Victoria came back to sewing when she became a mother. From there, she has become a force to be reckoned with. She is now a quilter, fabric designer, author, teacher and more. Her quilts are hung all over the world – including at the Texas Quilt Museum (along side my Modern Medallion!) and she has really great taste in her JUKI ambassadorship

Have a read of my interview with Victoria and then let me know in the comments who your favourite quilter is and how they influence you. I’d love to hear about it!

Victoria Findlay Wolfe

Victoria Findlay Wolfe

Tell us about how you started quilting and how you found modern quilting.

My work rests heavy on its traditional roots.

I often incorporate as many techniques as I can in my work. My grandmother‘s quilts and handwork has made the biggest influence on me. She embroidered, crocheted, quilted, etc, so you will find, traditional hand quilting, modern straight lines, free motion quilting, embroidery and applique all in one quilt. I want to attach memories, thoughts and emotions so that a quilt will be very personal to me. That story may only be pertinent to me, but that connection I have to my quilts, is the whole reason I make quilts at all. I’m telling my story, healing, and embracing the joy in my life; like sharing entries in my diary, but through fabric.

I’m looking for ways to incorporate my life and stories into my quilts. I think a lot about my past, what colors was I fond of as a child? What color reminds me of a happy memory? What color I do I use the most or least of and why? Can those ideas alone make me a quilt? Can I tell that story of analyzing color? Can I select fabrics and patterns based on prints and patterns of my past? Like the wallpaper on my grandmother’s walls, or the color of the carpet in my first bedroom?  I like to make the personal connection to add that personal touch in my quilts.

Any time I start a project, it starts with playing in an improvisational way with my fabrics. (What I talk about in 15 Minutes of Play) I’m looking for fabrics to make patterns, color palettes to evolve naturally and by accident, and looking to see what new layout, technique or design I can incorporate into my work. Where I start with improvisation, may end up in a traditional pattern. It’s all instinctive, even though often they have a traditional feel.

In my book, Double Wedding Rings: Traditions Made Modern, my goal is about pushing even further then playing to discover your process, I’m showing how ideas, and stories lead my journey in quilt making, how one idea leads to new discoveries and new ideas are born. It’s also about breaking down a quilt all the way to its bare bones, the basic shapes… Looking at how you can keep the traditional shape, yet change the pattern by manipulating the information within the shape, even by changing just ONE thing within a pattern, can give you a brand new design.  That’s what I enjoy most in quilt making… Using modern day fabrics, traditional fabrics, vintage fabrics, blend them all together and tell a new story, on a pattern rooted in tradition.

I’m looking for ways to incorporate my life and stories into my quilts. I think a lot about my past, what colors was I fond of as a child? What color reminds me of a happy memory? What color I do I use the most or least of and why? Can those ideas alone make me a quilt? Can I tell that story of analyzing color? Can I select fabrics and patterns based on prints and patterns of my past? Like the wallpaper on my grandmother’s walls, or the color of the carpet in my first bedroom?  I like to make the personal connection to add that personal touch in my quilts.

Double Edged Love quilt, 2012 by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

Double Edged Love quilt, 2012 by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

What does it mean to you to be a modern quilter and a modern woman?

I don’t feel I need to claim any title in my need to create.  I personally NEED to create, If I am not quilting, I’d be cooking, painting, drawing or building something… I don’t need to be a quilter, I need to be a maker, it’s just who I am, and what interests me. Currently I am a quilter, as that is where my interests lie the majority of the time, but I really, really like good food too, so my kitchen is a good place to find me… Being able to explore these options is being a modern woman.

Which quilt that you have made represents you and why?

Farm Girl – please watch the video to hear it’s story: 

How do you connect with other modern quilters?

Quilting has given me a strong support of women.  My friends that I made from the first guild I ever attended,( a traditional guild)  Empire Quilters, are still among my core friends. The quilters from early days of the NYC MOD Guild are dear to me, as are my SAQA friends, and Manhattan Quilter Guild friends…These creative women, are my people, the support is strong.

Want to connect with Victoria?

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