Meet the De­signer Vic­to­ria Find­lay Wolfe

If you are look­ing for a quilt­ing trip this sum­mer, con­sider vis­it­ing the Iowa Quilt Mu­seum in Win­ter­set, Iowa, in the heart of the Mid­west to see a spe­cial ex­hibit fea­tur­ing Vic­to­ria Find­lay Wolfe’s work. It’s meant to be a ret­ro­spec­tive of her work and

Quilter's World - - News - BY CLAIRE HAILLOT

One quil­ter’s jour­ney to suc­cess.

Vic­to­ria has al­ways been sur­rounded by quilts. Her grand­mother, Elda Wolfe, made polyester quilts, which kept her warm dur­ing the harsh win­ters in Min­nesota where she lived on a farm.

Vic­to­ria’s first at­tempt at quilt­ing was while study­ing arts in col­lege, but she was told that quilt­ing was not con­sid­ered a form of art and that she needed to stop us­ing this medium in her projects.

When Did It Be­gin?

She only be­gan quilt­ing again much later, af­ter she was an es­tab­lished painter and sculp­tor liv­ing in New York City and while she was in the “wait­ing” stage of an adop­tion jour­ney. She felt the urge to pre­pare a quilt for her daugh­ter-to-be. Her search for the perfect baby quilt led her to create more than a dozen quilts.

Her ap­proach to quilt­mak­ing was the same as in paint­ing and sculpt­ing: The in­spi­ra­tion came from within. She had no idea that she could make quilts with a set pat­tern. This does not come as a sur­prise once you un­der­stand that she grew up in a fam­ily that cre­ated the same way. Her grand­mother made mostly crazy-patch quilts, her mother sewed with­out pat­terns, and her fa­ther had an up­hol­stery busi­ness on the farm, re- cov­er­ing fur­ni­ture.

While she was in her quilt­ing frenzy pre­par­ing for her daugh­ter, she be­gan mak­ing com­mis­sioned quilts. Since she was be­ing paid to make quilts, she felt com­pelled to push her de­sign process fur­ther, mak­ing them more col­or­ful, in­tri­cate and ex­u­ber­ant.

Quilts Made From Pat­terns

When she dis­cov­ered that quilts could be made from pat­terns us­ing spe­cific forms, it was a rev­e­la­tion!

She started in­cor­po­rat­ing set pat­terns in her de­sign process. Farm Girl quilt is a great ex­am­ple. It shows her roots on the fam­ily farm within a pleas­ing mod­ern fin­ish.

It was quite a tran­si­tion when her daugh­ter ar­rived. She was 1-yearold and be­gan to walk just a few weeks later. Vic­to­ria re­al­ized that she couldn’t spend as much time in her stu­dio and started al­lot­ting her­self 15 min­utes a day to play with her fab­rics.

The World of Blogs

It was in 2008 that she dis­cov­ered the world of blogs. She de­cided to join the com­mu­nity by start­ing her own blog to show off her cre­ations. It didn’t take long for her fol­low­ers to in­quire about her cre­ative process. That’s when she started ex­plain­ing how only 15 min­utes a day of playing with your fab­rics could al­low you to see new de­signs and pat­terns.

Slowly, about that time, what’s known as the “mod­ern quilt move­ment” be­gan to emerge, and in 2010, she joined it by found­ing the NYC Metro Mod­ern Quil­ters Guild. That year she also par­tic­i­pated in the pub­li­ca­tion of a dozen books. I like to be­lieve that this was a turn­ing point for her as she be­gan de­sign­ing and mak­ing quilts specif­i­cally for pub­li­ca­tion!

This was also a pe­riod where she gave her­self very spe­cific goals: to ex­hibit at the Hous­ton’s In­ter­na­tional Quilt Fes­ti­val and to fo­cus on writ­ing her first book. In 2012, pub­lished

15 Min­utes of Play and she re­ceived her first Ju­ror’s Choice rib­bon at the Min­nesota Quilt Show for her Stripes, Plaids and Polka Dots quilt. She was also ac­cepted at the Hous­ton’s Quilt Fes­ti­val af­ter hav­ing tried for three years to get in.

Dou­ble Wed­ding Ring De­signs

In­trigued (or ob­sessed?) with the Dou­ble Wed­ding Ring pat­tern, she be­gan to study how she could play with the var­i­ous el­e­ments of the de­sign. To this day, she has made over 70 Dou­ble Wed­ding Ring quilts. It was only when she was asked to ex­hibit some of her quilts in 2015 that she de­cided to write her sec­ond book: Dou­ble Wed­ding Ring Quilts— Tra­di­tions Made Mod­ern.

She re­cently pub­lished her third book en­ti­tled Mod­ern Quilt Magic. In it she gives help­ful and easy tricks that help quil­ters make projects that might have scared them away, such as par­tial seams, Y-seams, free-form curves, tem­plate curves, minia­ture piec­ing and de­sign.

So, if you can’t make it to the Iowa Quilt Mu­seum to see her won­der­ful work, do get a copy of her lat­est book and make it your sum­mer read! You’ll look for­ward to fall, if only to try some of her great projects.

Farm Girl quilt

The past few years have been a very cre­ative pe­riod for Vic­to­ria, and re­ceiv­ing recog­ni­tion from the in­dus­try has surely in­creased her self-con­fi­dence and al­lowed her to push her cre­ative process fur­ther. Rather than fin­ish­ing a quilt that she...

Vic­to­ria’s work re­flects well her du­al­ity. She lives in a loft in New York but loves to go to her house on Long Is­land where she walks bare­foot in the grass wait­ing for in­spi­ra­tion to come. She quilts ev­ery day but al­lows her­self to ride away on her...

In her mas­sive pro­duc­tion of Dou­ble Wed­ding Ring quilts, Vic­to­ria has taken many jour­neys. For ex­am­ple, she pur­chased a skele­ton panel for her daugh­ter to dec­o­rate for Hal­loween. The next day, she bought more of the same panel as she had de­cided to use...

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