By Patricia Belyea
MANHATTAN, NY Yesterday I visited Victoria Findlay Wolfe in her New York studio. She was just back from a few trips (including Japan), working on finishing a king-sized double wedding ring quilt (that she had started two days earlier), and leaving for QuiltCon in Texas early the next day. Any sane person would say “no” to a visitor.
But not Victoria. A transplanted Minnesota farm girl who now thrives in the bustle of New York City, Victoria admits “I'm nuts.” Her deadline on the mega quilt was self-imposed because Victoria wanted another version of her Strings of Florid Blooms pattern for her QuiltCon class. She was committed to bring something more for her students to see—a variation made with prints.
So while Victoria madly stitched, I chatted with her about quilt making. Victoria emphatically stated that quilters ultimately need to figure out their own processes to make their own quilts. She feels strongly about the stories that inspire her quilts. And Victoria’s a big believer in working on quilts that bring Joy—to the maker and the world.
In her classes, Victoria encourages her students to trust their eyes and to open up to their intuition. As they begin to know what they like, they become stronger when making design choices.
On one part of a wall hung a series of mismatched quilt blocks made from clothing. More clothing spread across the floor. This project, one of five or six annual commissions, challenges Victoria to try new directions in her quilting.
Although Victoria was progressing swiftly on her rush project, I wondered if I’d overstayed my welcome. Next thing I knew, I was invited to her nearby home for tea.
Out the door of one Garment District building, down the street, and into another. We rode up the elevator to Victoria’s full-floor loft—once a sweat shop, now an arty home.
It was in this space where the New York Modern Quilt Guild was born and meetings were held for the first four years.
One of bright corners of the unit opened up into a classroom filled with five Juki sewing machines and a desk with Victoria’s computer. Here Victoria teaches students who drop in from all over the world.
Now it was definitely time to go. Although Victoria and I could have continued talking nonstop, I’d imposed myself for two-and-a-half hours. There were still a few seams left for Victoria to sew and details to manage before setting off for QuiltCon—the modern quilt event where Victoria won Best In Show at its inaugural gathering in 2013.
To visit Victoria’s website, +click here
To see a video from my visit with Victoria, +click here