Image of Handi Quilter Ambassador Thomas Knauer

Thomas Knauer

Thomas Knauer is a self-described “geek” – always have been, always will be. He spent most of his childhood amassing math awards aplenty. Sometime in high school, he grew tired of memorizing formulae and took up art. Although he couldn’t draw or anything, it still seemed a good idea. He was lucky enough to go to a high school that had a mammoth weaving studio, and there the combination of math, aesthetics, and concepts just clicked. He decided to see if he could logic his way into art and he has been trying to do that ever since.

During his undergraduate studies at Kenyon College, his practice shifted heavily to sculpture, though weaving and sewing remained recurrent motifs in the things he made. As he 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 Thomas’ work, whether it was physical objects or programming-based multimedia projects.

After teaching design at Drake University, Thomas moved to upstate New York to start a family and continue his academic career, but he soon fell ill with a rare form of muscular dystrophy known as hypokalemic periodic paralysis. Two years later, his doctors finally found an effective management protocol, and he began sewing for his young daughter. He instantly fell in love with the practice and began designing fabric and sewing quilts. From there it has been a remarkable roller coaster ride, one wonderfully filled with fabric, quilts and an extraordinary community. Oh, and more quilts. Always more quilts.

Learn more about Thomas Knauer at