During my photographic creative journey, I’ve often played with real and imaginary colors of fruits. I’ve even titled to fruits one of my early photo galleries: Flowers, fruit and embroidery.
Now that my playing tool is fabric, I’ve dedicated to fruits the proposal for the palette of this month, selected in collaboration with Patchworkvictim: a “Fruit salad” July palette.
Fabric selection is described at this link of Patchworkvictim blog. Combination of sunny solids (Kona cottons named Sangria, Flame, Carrot and others) to juicy prints is a tasty pleasure: I talk about this in the following video. We speak in Italian, but catchy colors can be recognized well.
This one of my early quilts, which was source of inspiration for the palette definition:
I have a preference for solid fabric. Probably it stems out from the pleasure of getting full access to a large amount of color in a glance.
Indeed, graphic designer Falcinelli writes something about this in his essay Cromorama: he observes that the natural world offers to us the experience of a flat hue almost only in the vision of the sky.
I’m so happy to have the opportunity of talking of my favorite colors in a dedicated video appointment called “The palette of the month”, thanks to a new collaboration with the local quilt shop Patchworkvictim. You can see my choice of solid fabrics for this month on their blog article at this link.
All the palettes I will propose have been tested in some quilt of mine. I chose iris colors as a starter, because I’ve always loved to shoot photos of irises in all their development statuses, with wrinkly petals or unusual shapes. Irises are in full bloom now: they are a good inspiration source for this month!
I’ve attended an on-line quilting workshop with Brenda Gael Smith, on the composition of abstract works inspired from images of our real life. It was already since the first paper-cutting exercise, that my mind started to travel along the theme of water courses. River-like mark-making appeared plenty of times on my resulting mini quilt. Thus, I gave it the title “Stream”. I explored many rivers along the northern part of Italy, and I collected plenty of stories.
This is the story that I feel being connected with my quilt.
Last Sunday I spent all day touring by bike. I took the train, I reached the town of Cormons, and I routed to the town of San Pietro al Natisone, where a chestnuts fair was in planning. I had lunch at midway, in Cividale. After some tea and some rest, I was ready to push the pedal again.
In the afternoon I had to study my map. The street I expected to use was blocked, due to a local motorbike race. I tried to reach the limit point, hoping for the race to be finished, but they told me: “motorbikes will continue all day long”.
My route was crossing an area impossible to reach… I was tempted to show my anger to the policeman. But I managed to keep quiet. It had to be possible to find another way.
So, I started to explore the surroundings. There was a tiny lane, just behind the house, that seemed to head for a backyard… A small wooden signal appeared: “To Purgesimo, 1 mile”. Great: this was my direction. Dear cars, if the street is forbidden for you to pass, this doesn’t mean that for us, bike runners, there are no alternatives!
The most beautiful part of my tour started there. A red pathway between the fields. The beauty of the river, along the side. A sunny sky with yummy clouds. I spotted a layer of acorns under my wheels; some purple flowers of the specie “aster dumosus”; the dotted decoration on the body of a fleeting snake; two white horses running in the wood, and the sound of water stream audible only by me, cycling alone. Plenty of fruit types where shown at the chestnut fair. I headed back home, with four different chestnut packs, ready for a tasting exercise.
Sometimes people say that engineers have a squared mind (intended as: they are not really flexible, because their mind is closed inside a squared box…).
Well, since I’m an engineer, I like to think of methods for making nice squares. So, I tried different ways to square up my quilts, especially when they are big. I share my process here.
When my quilt is finished, I don’t use any marker to define its contour, nor I cut excess material. Both methods are irreversible. On the contrary, I define the edges with masking tape.
My references can be straight lines in the piecing or in the quilting: thanks to them, I line up the ruler (which is transparent, and can be aligned with such references), and the cutting mat just after the ruler (since the ruler length usually is not sufficient), to simulate the position of the edge. Looking at such guide, I will cover excess material with a line of masking tape.
The corner of the cutting mat indicates the 90 degrees angle, so I can proceed in this way for the next side, completing all the four sides.
After having masked all excess material, I can look at the simulated quilt contour, and I can adjust it, based on the following needs: do I want to exclude or to include some other peripheral elements of the picture? Are the opposite sides really parallel to each other? To check parallelism, I measure the length of opposite sides. Usually corrections up to one inch are still needed in this phase… and I appreciate having the possibility to change my masking tape position.
When I’m satisfied of the contour placement, I start the facing procedure. I love Audrey’s tutorial on cottonandbourbon web site: from the first time I’ve tried it, I’ve never left it anymore. Still, I apply it, but with a small difference: I don’t cut the excess fabric before starting the facing. I think it’s better to sew on a wide, flat area (all material of same thickness still existing on both sides of the walking foot), rather than sewing quite near to an edge (which creates a step). So, I first complete all the machine sewing operations on each couple of parallel sides (up to step 8, and later, up to step 10 of Audrey’s tutorial). Then, I cut and press. Final hand sewing of such a clear quilt back becomes a piece of cake!
It’s now time to unveil the destination of the blue and white quilt, result of the beautiful patchwork marathon of previous months, with more than 50 sewing contributors. As promised since the beginning, purpose of the project is to aid the center for protection of women from violence, G.O.A.P. Trieste, which helps women in need since 30 years ago, offering them protection, support, a shelter home.
Thus, we invite you to make donations to G.O.A.P. through their PayPal account: firstname.lastname@example.org. The first 90 donations, having value of 20 euro or more, delivered to G.O.A.P. since today with PayPal, will be associated to a number from 1 to 90, chronologically assigned as per order of donation arrival. As soon as all 90 numbers will be assigned, a list with donor name and associated number will be published at the following link of Patchworkvictim blog.
The blue and white quilt will be delivered to the person whose name is associated to the number that will become the first drawn by “Lotto Venice” lottery wheel on April 6th. It is possible to follow, on G.O.A.P. and Patchworkvictim social channels, the moment when the number of 90 donations will be reached, but we hope that this charity quilt project becomes also an occasion to sensitize people on the importance of supporting structures that help women in need, beyond the possibility to win the quilt.
For clarity purposes, the name and surname of donor (or, as an alternative, the name and surname of another person to whom a donor wishes to dedicate and to assign a possible win) has to be specified in the moment of PayPal donation submission; numbers will be assigned only to donations submitted through PayPal channel. Patchworkvictim will take care of quilt delivery expenses in case the destination address is located within Italy.
Be generous! Reinforcing the activities that help women, done by groups such as G.O.A.P., it is of utmost importance in this complex period of history, and your generosity may be rewarded with a wonderful quilt!
Today, March 8th 2021, it’s the International Women’s Day. And I’m so happy to celebrate it in good company of a wide quilting community!
The social sewing initiative, launched by local quilt shop Patchworkvictim, aimed to create a charity quilt dedicated to the women in need, has just reached its milestone: a wonderful king size quilt has been completed, thanks to the hands of many volunteering participants, and it is full of beauty!
I’m honored to have handled almost two hundred pieces, combining them into a wide improv composition, together with Francesca. It was an occasion to learn more about several people. Francesca’s precious common sense, bringing me again to practicality when I was flying too strange; Tiziana professional ability, which transformed raw material into real thing overnight. And I felt the personality of each participant. The fantasy of so many different improv small creations expressed it well. And also tiny details revealed a lot of the hidden beauty of so much work.
Behind each white and blue square, looking at the back of each work (which I was lucky to access while assembling it all), I could see, like in a movie, the different choices of each participant. Sewing margin linear, or wavy? Pieced curves, with small cuts to let the margin be adapted? Open seams? Closed seams? Margin turned towards the dark fabric side?
All these contributions found their place, in a double-face king size quilt: it was great to understand how every input, similar or odd from the others, could find a perfect fit in some point of the map! And it was a good gymnastic exercise, for Francesca and myself, to go tens of times up and down the stair, to position all the squares on a gigantic design wall! I admit, it took three appointments in different dates, to decide the final combination, but it was a wonderful dive into fabric waves of light and blue! When I finally took the photo of the completed work, a more than 100 inches tall blue wall, I felt like a queen in front of a tapestry of majestic preciousness.
The charity recipient, local center for protection of women from violence, G.O.A.P., will be involved in the next phase. This combination of secret and explicit beauty will soon find its way: stay tuned to hear more!
I’ve been asked about the hanging system I use for my quilts on the wall.
I use a thin rod, made in wood (for small quilts), or made in aluminium (for the bigger ones), which I cut with a hand saw at the desired length.
I sew three or more belt loops where the rod will be inserted.
In this way the rod remains accessible and can be easily positioned on nails or hooks.
I’ve equipped my home with a rail system, from which a series of wires can drop down. With this method, the position of the hooks on the wire can be adjusted every time I need a change.
As soon as I complete a wall quilt, it goes on air in my home. It’s always difficult to choose which one of the old quilts will be removed, to leave room for a newcomer! Some quilts get replaced after one week. Others become favourite ones, and they keep their position for more than one year…
This way, I continuously change the atmosphere in my house. And I even try combinations of quilts. Such as this group, that later became may part of my exhibit Tagliamento, king of rivers. I liked so much the capability of the light blue to complement the rich oranges, that these three quilts entered the gallery exactly in the relative position earlier tried in my living room.
To me, this has clearly the effect pf prompting visions.
I started with some leftovers from previous works, and soon I saw a Liberty style décor.
I added some colours to the curves, and quickly I had the impression of seeing two persons looking to each other, ready to start to dance together. Or maybe it was only a single woman body, imprinted in blue onto the canvas, like during the performances of the painter Yves Klein?
I almost decided for the title “A tango with Klein”, when I rotated a bit the pieces… and suddenly a sea appeared, with people swimming among golden waves in the sunset.
Final version of my work resulted different again, but I wonder where the earlier visions have gone now: are they embedded in the quilt as multi-layer meanings, or they rather have taken an independent imaginary life of their own?
I save all the smallest scraps from my quilting work. Half an inch is enough for me.
I’ve made sample textures with this starting material: column and row grids, log cabins… In my first video talk about improv I show some of them.
I recently took out this starting material. I noticed that the yellow and the purple patches had some colours in common. Good starting point to join them with a few transition lines!
It was a nice occasion to experiment with walking foot channel quilting, having needle positioned at variable distances.
When I had almost completed my work, I changed my mind: no more landscape rectangular orientation, but rather a square with a twist. It felt like adjusting the composition with a move of the photo camera… a cropping zoom. A good occasion to face fear of cutting an already made work… and to feel it can improve.
Good that mini quilts are completed in short time. I gave it the title “transition”: like the two starting blocks that blended, in a transition from purple to yellow with different piecing shape.
I have been drawing for several years, during my life.
My first sketchbook daily practice dates back to Primary school. Maybe I still have it, somewhere.
I’ve practiced several creative techniques during last decades: drawing, photography, painting on fabric, stitching, paper marbling, creative microscopy (that one was very addictive!), improv quilting (which added a relevant discovery: of quilting community!).
I’ve recently started to draw again, fine-liner pen on cotton paper doodle-type.
During the last exercise, I was surprised of how easily some spiralled clouds emerged from my blue pen ink work. Then, I realized: it was thanks to the long hours of free-motion quilting practice done while using that same motif: quilting spirals, indeed.
The different crafting techniques one tries are connected to each other in some ways.
My photos of flowers were usually made in macro mode, so close-up that they tended to be abstract, and I tiled them in columns and rows like in a mosaic.
My first three quilts were aimed to represent a landscape; then I dropped that idea, and I continued mainly with abstract improv piecing.
My drawing re-start intent was to play with doodles and geometries, but it quickly turned into figurative subjects derived from my year-long database of photographs.
There is still a lot of room to learn, from this re-mix of techniques!