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Life Skills from Amazing Women

Victoria Van Der
Laan for Annie Selke

Victoria van der Laan of The Binderie attributes her inspiration and success to the strong women who raised her.

Victoria Van
Der Laan for
Annie Selke

for

Victoria van der Laan of The Binderie attributes her inspiration and success to the strong women who raised her.

“I come from a long line of women who made amazing things.

“I come from a long line of women who made amazing things.

My great-grandmother was a master quilter, and she cut, pieced, and quilted everything by hand. I was five or six when she taught me how to make little patchwork pillows. She was very sweet, kind, quiet, and very patient. She thought anything I did was fantastic because I was sharing time with her and making things.

Victoria's great-grandmother
Victoria with her grandmother
Victoria with her mom

My grandmother was also wonderful – but very strict. She taught me embroidery and cross-stitch, and she would say, "Okay, let me see your work." Then she wouldn't even look at the front! She'd turn it over, and if the back didn't look pristine, she would hand it back to me and have me pull it out and redo it.

At the time I was a little like, "That's so mean." But I so appreciate that now. And that might be the source of my perfectionism.

I really appreciate things done well, done right.

I really appreciate things done well, done right.

A quilt made by her great-great-grandmother

Honestly, the women in my life didn't regard this stuff as art. It was just something you did. My mom has made everything from my Dad’s suits to finely embroidered wall art, and I wouldn’t be the artist I am today without her.

If I go a long time without making things, I get really squirrelly.

Being creative has always been important to me.

If I go a long time without making things, I get really squirrelly. After my middle child was born, I needed something for myself. An identity besides being a mother. I made and sold cloth books for several years, but eventually wanted to shift to something further from my role as a mother.

Victoria's mom embroidered these beautiful flowers

After my middle child was born, I needed something for myself. An identity besides being a mother.

So I started making simple, modern quilts using traditional patchwork patterns.

I used to think of my work only as a way to make money and be creative, which has always been important to me. But part of my art is championing women's work as valid in the fine art world.

And I now have a full-time practice, I’m in galleries and collaborating with Annie Selke, so obviously it's working out okay!

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