Author and quilter Thomas Knauer, of Clinton, NY, began his journey toward quilting in 2010, when he decided to make all the clothes for his then 3-year-old daughter. “Running into a ‘Future Mrs. Bieber’ T-shirt for toddlers scared me,” he explained.
One sewing lesson from his mother later, Knauer was off. “Some people saw the dresses and said I should try my hand at fabric design, so I did,” he continued. “That led me to quilting, and it all rolled downhill after that.”
People can view some of Knauer’s quilts during a trunk show at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn. Trunk shows are lectures by quilters who bring examples of their work to display and explain. Knauer’s trunck show is part of the Schweinfurth’s second annual Fall Fiber Market, featuring local yarn producers and a range of handmade goods directly from sheep/alpaca farmers, spinners, weavers, knitters, artists, and more. Vendors include Trinity Farms, Otter Lake Farm and Fiber, and Lochan Mor Farm.
Knauer’s talk is one of four planned during the run of “Quilts=Art=Quilts,” the art center’s annual juried quilt show. The other lectures feature quilters who are included in QAQ: Joyce Martelli of Rochester on Nov. 3, Melissa Matson of Honeoye Falls on Nov. 24, and Denise Kooperman of Trumansburg on Dec. 1. All trunk shows start at 2 p.m.
Knauer is unafraid to tackle difficult subjects in his artwork. “I make quilts about the horrible things that happen in this world: the shootings, the rapes, the domestic violence,” he said. “I make quilts about the things that make me angry, that make me cry.”
He has also authored three books on quilting, the most recent that came out this October: “Why We Quilt: Contemporary Makers Speak Out about the Power of Art, Activism, Community, and Creativity.” Knauer says the book contains the history of quilts with a perspective through interviews of top art quilters about why people quilt when there is little practical need. It also contains imagesof some of the finest quilts made in the past decade.
“What I love about this book is that it has so many voices but doesn’t just fall apart,” he said. “The consistent presence of my voice guides the discussion and makes sure the bigger issues are brought front and center.”
Following his trunk show, Knauer will sign copies of his book. The trunk show is free with admission, which is $10 per person. Members, exhibiting artists, and children 12 and under are free.