Valerie Goodwin: Quiltmaker. Worldbuilder.

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Valerie Goodwin

Valerie S. Goodwin is a mixed-media fiber artist and architect whose works of fine art are included in museum and private collections. Most of her work is inspired by a love of aerial views of landscapes and cities. Many of her quilts are based on maps.

Goodwin’s art has moved through various stages, from traditional quilting to an interest in abstract expressionism, and, currently, it is inspired by real and imaginary landscapes and cities. In some cases, her work shows an architectural sense of space with an archaeological perspective.  In others, the network of the city and its built form is more prominent.  These compositions work on several levels, from close up and far away as if one was looking at it from above.

She received degrees in architecture from Washington University and Yale University. Her award-winning work has been widely published and exhibited. She also lectures and gives workshops nationally and internationally. For over 26 years, she taught architectural design at Florida A & M University.

Her book, Art Quilt Maps: Capture a Sense of Place with Fiber Collage-A Visual Guide is widely available.

Lisa Woolfork

Lisa Woolfork is an associate professor of English, specializing in African American literature and culture. Her teaching and research explore Black women writers, Black identity, trauma theory, and American slavery. She is the founder of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. She is also the host/producer of Stitch Please, a weekly audio podcast that centers Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. In the summer of 2017, she actively resisted the white supremacist marches in her community, Charlottesville Virginia. The city became a symbol of lethal resurging white supremacist violence. She remains active in a variety of university and community initiatives, including the Community Engaged Scholars program. She believes in the power of creative liberation.


Insights from this episode:

  • Valerie’s sewing journey
  • The connection between architecture and sewing
  • How Valerie is able to combine modern and analog techniques in quilting
  • How she settled on mapping as a form of visual expression
  • Valerie’s teaching methodologies
  • The importance of perseverance
  • Learning from our mistakes
  • Details about her retrospective exhibition
  • What Valerie is working on


Quotes from the show:

  • “I’d like to think that the DNA of both my maternal and cousin Hardy, is what has become part of my creative life” —Valerie Goodwin in “Stitch Please”
  • “I sewed up until I got to high school, and then peer pressure set in, and it wasn’t cool to do that anymore, so I stopped sewing altogether. I didn’t pick up sewing again until I was teaching architecture” —Valerie Goodwin in “Stitch Please”
  • “I taught myself how to cut fabric, I tested over 30 kinds of fabric: there are three settings (speed, frequency, and power), and so you need figure out all those settings” —Valerie Goodwin in “Stitch Please”
  • “Critique is a skill, that’s just my opinion. If you have to say things, say them in a nurturing way, although sometimes you have to be direct and challenging depending on who the student is” —Valerie Goodwin in “Stitch Please”
  • “I wish for myself that there were others around me that so that I can get that critic and I have to check myself a lot of times” —Valerie Goodwin in “Stitch Please”
  • “A lot of things that have happened to me in my life that have led me to what I am doing has kind of been happy circumstances, you know, coincidences” —Valerie Goodwin in “Stitch Please”
  • “I think perseverance is really important, and you have to be willing to make mistakes faster. Making mistakes is just as important as succeeding: you learn from your mistakes” —Valerie Goodwin in “Stitch Please”

Stay Connected:

Lisa Woolfork

Instagram: Lisa Woolfork

Twitter: Lisa Woolfork

Valerie Goodwin


LinkedIn: Valerie Goodwin

Instagram: @valeriegoodwinart

Facebook: Valerie Goodwin Art 

This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.

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Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.