Who is Thomas Knauer?
I am a geek; always have been, always will be. I spent most of my childhood amassing math trophies aplenty. Sometime in high school I grew tired of memorizing formulae and took up art; I couldn’t draw or anything, but still it seemed a good idea. I was lucky enough to go to a high school that had a mammoth weaving studio, and the combination of math, aesthetics, and concepts just clicked. I decided to see if I could logic my way into art and have been trying to do that ever since.
During my undergraduate degree at Kenyon College my practice shifted heavily to sculpture, though weaving and sewing remained recurrent motifs in the things I made. As I moved on to do graduate degrees at Ohio University and the Cranbrook Academy of Art, the ideas of stitching contrasting concepts and forms together—both literally and figuratively—permeated all of my work, whether physical objects or programming-based multimedia projects.
After teaching design at Drake University I moved to upstate New York to start a family and continue my academic career, but soon fell ill with a rare form of muscular dystrophy known as Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis (and more recently I was also diagnoses with Mast Cell Disease). After we found a reasonable management protocol I began sewing for my young daughter, and I fell instantly in love with the practice.
Since then I have designed textiles for Andover Fabrics and Kokka and have exhibited quilts in venues across the country, including AQS Quilt Week, the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, and Drake University’s Anderson Art Gallery, as well as being included in the IQSCM’s World Quilts project. I currently write a feature column for Quilter’s Newsletter and host my own show on QNNTV– Design Studio with Thomas Knauer. My first book, Modern Quilt Perspectives was published in 2014, and my second book, The Quilt Design Coloring Workbook with Storey Publishing, is due out in August 2016.
My current quilts are increasing devoted to quilt activism, with specific focuses on issues surrounding the epidemic of gun violence in America and explorations of the implications of living with chronic illness. Future books and media will continue to concentrate on helping quilters of all stripes to develop vocabularies and skills for designing and creating their own quilts.