Friday, July 10, 2015

VFW rules

We spent more than an hour enjoying 15 minutes of play at the SAMQG July meeting. In addition to seeing some beautiful, award winning quilts, and hearing a presentation about the stories behind those quilts, we got to hear the story behind Victoria Findlay Wolfe, and also got a new perspective on quilting in general. Her father was/is a farmer who also did upholstery and her mother was/is a garment sewer. But her real inspiration was her grandmother, who was a quiltmaker as long as her body would allow and often had Victoria participate from the time she was young. her grandmother made quilts that were useful in a traditional crazy quilt style and loved polyester inside and outside of the quilts she constructed. Victoria told us that farm life wasn't for her and she left Minnesota to move to the big city of NY and has been there ever since.  She was always creative and knew art was for her, but she didn't imagine while she was pursuing her degree that quilts would be her main art form. Actually she told a story of how her professor discouraged her using fabric in her art.  But she is certainly now a sought-after artist and well known for her ability to put a new twist on traditional quilt block and quilt shapes.  For me, Victoria's presentation was eye opening and will make me (forever more) look at my quilt blocks and projects differently. I have always tried to listen to what colors, arrangement and quilting designs the quilts were telling me they needed, but I never focused on the story in the making of my quilts. That's a different concept for me. Some of us got a new appreciation for polyester and thrift store fabrics, some others were reminded of farm life in cold climates and the importance of quilts, and it was refreshing to see someone who was willing to use any fabric, regardless of where it could be found, who designed it, or whether it was modern, traditional, reproduction, 30s, plaids, ginghams, polka dots or whatever. Victoria Findlay Wolfe is no fabric snob and seems to find just the right place for every fabric she touches (she's a real fan of dots -- check out her quilts). Her presentation really encouraged us to continue to look at our quilt blocks and our fabrics and not stop rearranging and reframing them. until we're sure the quilt and fabrics are done telling the story.  I personally will be going through my orphan blocks and seeing how they might look in new configurations, and looking for opportunities to make my own fabric instead of always settling for fabric off the bolt.

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