Birmingham shows quilts live

Exhibits, joining events

Last year I was planning a travel to Birmingham with my family, with the Festival of Quilts as one of the destinations. Some friends listened to our discussion and said: “Why not? Let’s go to London all together, and you Paola shall be our guide for English translation!”

At that time, we postponed the plan to year 2020. But we’ve not purchased any ticket to Birmingham yet: the holidays were adjusted to visiting the mountain in our surroundings, in order to remain within our region.

Still, my opportunity to join the Birmingham event arrived anyway: the Festival of Quilts went “live”!

Today I’ve attended the virtual inauguration, and the emotion was there when the moderator announced: “The winner is…”. And this happened for no less than 15 times: so many, indeed, were the categories of the virtual competition, and I could appreciate the view of very elegant winning quilts, including striking works from kids down to 5-9 years old category!

I participated to the event with one of my works too. My quilt “Seaside” is now visible in the on-line gallery of the Festival of Quilts virtual competition, category contemporary quilts: I decided to propose my entry to the contest, by submitting one of the rare cases where I used raw edge applique.

“Seaside” is dedicated to the colors and ripples of Adriatic sea, wetting my home town Trieste. Shells, sand and sunlight reflections on wave crests appear as symbols on this work. The longitudinal development of the layout allowed me to play with the band line direction: I quilted three long stripes with walking-foot, that can be read either as waves, or as an abstract shape placed at the panel core.

A quilt by Giovanna Nicolai is on display too, in the modern category of the Festival of Quilts 2020 gallery. I love this work of her, titled “Fluorescent hope”: it’s featured also on the home page of the site hosting our joint project Quilt Improv Studio, that we share with Carla Beretta. Giovanna wrote in her article, themed on the recent expansion of digital quilt world: “We will participate to inauguration ceremonies staying at home”: I’ve experienced this right now, together with hundreds of quilters connected at the same time to the Festival opening ceremony, during my lunch break, with a tasty dish of spaghetti and meat sauce!  

Let the shapes talk

improv process

I started this quilt while attending a modern patchwork course by Daria Blandina and Roberta Sperandio, whose activities can be followed at the page D+R Patch Fun.

Even if its look is mainly modern, I didn’t plan any pattern: the position of each piece was improvised, one after the other, line after line, and some scrappy stripes found their way within a few smaller shapes.

The combinations offered by equilateral triangles surprised me: unexpected hexagons and bigger, nested triangles appeared during the work in progress. When looking at the top, I started playing with myself a mathematical search of how many triangles I could see in the overall picture, being them complete or incomplete… A good excuse to look again and again to my color map, as if it were a treasure hunt!

The initial idea in my mind was a mountain landscape full of trees. When a friend of mine, visiting our home, proposed the image of a lake and its reflections as appearing from the quilt, I was proud of feeling a connection with my early intent. Later, a quilting mate commented that such colors reminded her of crystalline waters… Yes, I like this: multiple interpretations are welcome.

Finally, when my husband said that he saw the view of a regatta, as the one populated by thousand sails which we admire every year in our gulf, I could not stop seeing it myself too!
The most important annual event in my hometown is a sailing race. Its images are impressed in the minds of all the locals, thanks to decades of celebratory photo galleries, posters and graphics attached on all the street lamps, triangle-based logos printed on the gadgets, and stunning aerial views offered by media coverage, usually depicting the winning sail running distant from the competitors, inside a blue sea full of boats surrounding our lighthouse…
Each place has some symbolic images of their own, embedded in its local culture. So, if I title my work “Barcolana”, in Trieste this will be well understood.

Before this quilt, I didn’t feel oriented to piecing triangles, maybe because I didn’t know well how to use them.
In this occasion, I heard triangles speaking in both languages: the one of abstraction, the other of figurative subjects, overlapping within the layers of fabric.
Next time I will feel more easy in letting any shape to propose an expression for itself!