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
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...