Meet Valerie Goodwin

By Jane Clark, VP Programs

Abstract map with overlay of home and family

Valerie Goodwin is the January 2024 instructor for the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild. She will lecture and present her workshops via Zoom.

An accomplished quilter who has won many awards, she currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida. Her expressive style is inspired by her architecture background and love of art and literature.

Valerie has been teaching architectural design for about 22 years and fiber art workshops for over 10 years. Both go hand in hand and inform each other. She got interested in quilting by accident. She read an article in an academic journal that described a design studio project where architecture students were asked to design a Museum for Quilts. Long story short – this idea launched her interest in fiber art.

She isn’t just a maker of graceful, expressive pieces; she has nearly 20 years’ experience as a judge in quilt shows and other art events.


Friday, January 19 Workshop – “Get in the Zone, Go Zen”

Sunday, January 28 Workshop –  “Favorite Places.”

Saturday, January 20 “Mapping: A Narrative with Paint and Thread.” Lecture tickets are available to nonmembers for $10.


Flyer for Go Zen 2024 Workshop by VS Goodwin
Goodwin Map in purple and green
VS Goodwin's quilt Necropolis map

Valerie's Influences

Working with her to arrange her upcoming workshops has been delightful and I want others to get to know her, too.

What interested you in teaching quilting techniques? It’s simple, I absolutely love teaching! I enjoyed my career teaching Architecture, and I enjoy working with students who want to explore my way of thinking and working with fiber art. It’s a wonderful way for me to assess my way of working and reaching some clarity in terms of my process and design goals.

How long does it take to complete a quilt, from start to finish? That’s a tricky question to answer. It all depends on what other things I have going on such as teaching workshops or family commitments. I would say if I had concentrated time available, it might take me about 6 to 8 weeks to complete one piece.

What is your process for designing your quilts? What tools do you use? My process is not baked in. Sometimes I start with a definitive idea and a sketch. At other times, I just start making and responding to the materials, processes, and interests that inspire me in the moment. I like to say that inspiration is everywhere and that one must be receptive to the world around them. One of my favorite sayings is: “One must have eyes that can ‘see’.” I try to keep my eyes open and soak in the visual world around me.

Do you quilt your own quilts? Usually I do, but in some of my latest pieces I have asked another quilter to do some of the hand stitching. I’ve done this because I have problems with my shoulders, and it allows me to bemore productive.

Of all the steps to complete a quilt, what is your favorite? At heart, I am a designer. I love the process of design, thinking, iteration, and just exploring all the different directions an idea might take me. I also enjoy working with the materials and seeing what the materials can do.

Have you won awards with your quilts? I have won many awards and have been in many prestigious exhibits. One of my first quilts was accepted at Paducah. Recently, I won The Quilt Japan Prize at the Quilt National exhibit, but there are many others listed on my resume.

Is there anything else you would like for us to know about? My maternal grandmother, a home economics teacher, gave me a love of sewing. In the 1960s, I remember learning to sew during hot and humid summers while on vacation at my grandmother’s home in Tuscumbia, Alabama. I learned to make simple clothes for myself and my three sisters. Mama Steele would show me quilts made by an elderly cousin who lived in thehousehold. She was a prolific quilter and made many, many quilts that family members cherish to this day. I like to think that the DNA of these two great women influence and guide me.

I am intrigued by some of the latest cutting-edge technology. Currently, I use a laser cutter to create patterns and designs by cutting into fabric. This process allows me to create fiber art that is lace-like and intricate while incorporating a variety of less technical stitched-art techniques.

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you? When an architect (artist) is asked what his best building (work of art) is, he (she) usually answers, “The next one.” – Emilio Ambasz

I know I am looking forward to her Zoom workshops! Our dates for the workshops are Friday, January 19 for “Get in the Zone, Go Zen” and Sunday, January 28 for “Favorite Places.”

Her lecture is “Mapping: A Narrative with Paint and Thread.” Lecture tickets as well as both workshops are available to nonmembers.

Members, if you know a nonmember quilter who would enjoy this lecture, use a Be My Guest card (on the Members Page) to sponsor their lecture ticket. Know any architects, studio artists, or other creatives? They will enjoy the lecture and see a fellow spirit in her work.