Degrees of freedom getting large

improv process

It was two months that I’ve been waiting for the “Quick Steps” live course by Irene Roderick to come. I was so impatient that I started to count the days remaining to the starting date!

I’ve now completed the attendance. The experience has been up to expectations.

Trying her methodology, named “dancing with the wall”, meant for me to go out of comfort zone. I left behind, for a while, my usual boundaries (to repeat the same shape all around the quilt; to fix the position of figures by sewing blocks step by step). This resulted in an opening of possibilities, if not an exploding of variables!

This method clearly results in a continuous design exercise. Each change brings a surprise (which may be addictive…), each view suggests new ideas…

While doing my first try, I visualized: a sea, a gondola in Venice, a summer festival poster, a gun (no no no… I had to change this!), a horse looking a dog, a family crest, a paper collage, a Liberty style decor…

I experienced getting stuck, tearing it all down, restarting work from scratch. The brain was steaming for the effort of approaching multiple graphic problems: every time, a new balance was required…

After this “dance”, I’ll look to my way of working from a different perspective.

Joining pieces, joining people

collaborations, improv process

Last Autumn I discovered the extraordinary work of Leslie J.  Riley. Her quilts, full of textures, secondary motifs, and swinging colours, suggested me the idea to make systematic exercises in textured piecing. I started preparing blocks with different texture types, such as: striped columns and rows, log cabins, high contrast colours, low contrast colours, and so on.

Last Winter I joined the local quilt guild “Biechi Mati”, mainly focused on traditional patchwork, but open to trying any type of technique. According to their request, I carried my sample texture blocks, they put on the desk all their sewing machines, and we spent one afternoon playing with improv piecing together.

Last Spring it was planned to repeat the textured improv exercise at local quilt shop Patchworkvictim. Francesca made the Zoom platform available in order to keep the discussions on improv virtual and interactive. During the first session I have been sewing some pieces of the column and rows texture, and this sample is shown in the first video resumed at this page (visible also on Patchworkvictim you tube channel).

This Summer I took my textured samples out from the demo bag, and I decided to grow one of them wider. Now that I’ve finished the columns and rows quilt, I’m aware of how many people has influenced this year long work!