Meet quilters in Verona Tessile

Exhibits, joining events

I visited Verona Tessile, a festival set up to give impetus and visibility to textile art in Italy. Organized by the Ad Maiora Association, in collaboration with the Verona Municipality, it took place in museums, churches, in the city center. Its title was “Impavide” which means “fearless”. And it was a great experience.

I had the honor to be part of a group exhibit, in the Fresco Museum Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle, and to get to know in person the other invited artists. Here above you can see a quilt by Giovanna Nicolai displaying colors similar to the fresco painting. Here below there is a view of one of my quilts, hanging in front of the fresco painting representing emperor Carlo V and pope Clemente VII as knights.

The main venue was the Gran Guardia Palace, outstanding building hosting several exhibits, including the show by textile artist Margaret Fabrizio (see her green and purple kawandi here below) and by the Swiss guild PatCHquilt. The first red quilt here below is titled “There is no grey”, by Lisa Hofmann-Maurer, Swiss, and is part of the “Red shoes” gallery by PatCHquilt guild. It has a strong meaning: there is no grey area when talking of violence against women. It has to be condemned straight.

My favorite memory of those days is the lunch with quilters, in some cases met for the first time in person, after long time of virtual contact sharing our common passion. With Giovanna Nicolai, Mattea Jurin and Ally Ryde I felt in my natural element: we could freely talk about our creative process and ideas for hours!

Verona has its beauties, and Ally guided me among those. I discovered the modern architectural approach by Carlo Scarpa, in the renovation of Castelvecchio museum: you may notice modern glasses in ancient windows here below.
Celebrating Verona’s buildings was also part of of the show, as in this impressive quilt titled “Romeo” by Laura Armiraglio.

The floor of Verona pathways reveals red shells of the type “Ammonite”, embedded in the ancient pavement stone: when you start noticing them, they appear bigger and bigger under your feet!

Red curves were also the inspiration for the quilt “Flamenco” by Brigitte Rossetti, Swiss, part of the “Red shoes” gallery by PatCHquilt guild. Brigitte explained me how she started freeform cutting of fabric several years ago, and this quilt clearly demonstrates it!

Verona Tessile has an international reach. This gave me the opportunity to meet in real life quilters from distant places. It was the case of Pasqualina Barazza from Switzerland, part of the “Red shoes” gallery with her “Turmoil of red shoes goes to court” (here below), and of Tatyana Vlasenko from Ukraine, who loves the subject of rivers like I do, as shown by her work “River islands on Dnepr” part of the gallery by Ukraine Patchwork Masters.

Isn’t it better to hear quilt stories directly from the voice of their authors? Such as for the work “Blue and green music”, described by Mattea Jurin in the photo here below.

This biennale textile art festival displayed more than 300 quilts. The collective work “The starry night” alone was made by 185 panels created by a multitude, inspired by Vincent Van Gogh painting, during the lockdown period.

Women from the past were celebrated by the contest “Fearless, female artists in history”, such as in the work “Heartist (artist with the heart)” by Aurora Calvet from Slovenia, rainbow picture here below.

The festival continued in many locations, including windows in the city center, where a nice match was found among the product and the quilt, such as in the window shown here, displaying the black and white work by Agostina Zwilling and Maria Teresa Sansotta, president of Ad Maiora. I wish to say thanks to Ad Maiora Association for having made all of this real!

Participation to textile art festival Italy


Verona Tessile is a festival set up to give impetus and visibility to textile art in Italy. Organized by the Ad Maiora Association, in collaboration with the Verona Municipality, it takes place in museums, churches, in the city center, in beautiful and evocative locations.

I am honored to be part of the 5th edition, taking place from April 30th to May 3rd 2023, in one of the many historical settings in the city where the festival is finding place. My works will be part of a group exhibit, in the Fresco Museum Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle, and the names of the other invited artists are a sufficient reason to look for this venue!

In this occasion, the quilts I made in parallel with Giovanna Nicolai (in a period when we agreed to try an identical palette of fabric) will be hanging together with the works made by her at that time. Our modern quilts will be in a dialogue with the fresco painting from year 1580 representing emperor Carlo V and pope Clemente VII as knights, permanent exhibit in the same room.

More than ten locations, internationally recognized artists, quilting challenges and social themes will be part of this edition: all good reasons to visit the event!

Textures connect with Nature

collaborations, improv process, joining events

During March 2023 I had the opportunity to present my talk “From the microscope to the sky” to SAQA Texas, in a zoom gathering moderated by Susie Monday, Texas Regional Representative of Studio Art Quilt Associates. Susie, together with me, will be part of the Color in context: Red SAQA global exhibition. 

I explained how I am inspired by textures that I find in nature and during my professional experience.

I have used photography for twenty years, and among my past photo galleries there was one fully dedicated to textures visible in the reflections on the surface of water.

I started to use microscopy during my thesis work at the University, and the pictures I gathered in that period became part of a science communication project which travelled around Italy for some years.

I am still using microscopy and other imaging techniques, such as optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, x-ray tomography and ultrasonic testing: I have a professional relationship with images and I continuously work extracting technical meaning from raw abstract pictures.

When I put my recent texture quilts aside to the images obtained at the microscope, sometimes I find they have similarities. I don’t use photos as a direct source to make a quilt as a replica of the subject, but the library of pictures filling my memory surely influence my quilting practice.

Ally Ryde described my works as “quilts of places”. My last quilts are a collection of landscape textures, such as: Grasshopper path, Sealights, The space between the clouds and River gone green.

After many quilts dedicated to exploring this subject, I have the feeling that textures spontaneously speak of Nature. Since ancient times, our brain needed to recognize the variation of a popping fruit among the dense foliage; to spot the movement of creatures approaching through the thickness of the grass.

We are specialized in looking at textures.
And this experience is a continuous pleasure.

The meaning of a map

improv process

Last Spring I joined a virtual workshop led by David Owen Hastings, named: Inspired by art. As inspiration source, I chose the super detailed maps by graphic designer Thomas Ashley. The workshop was interesting and comprehensive, and it activated visions since its beginning: it started with a wonderful imagery that David shared from his countryside!

As a workshop exercise, I drafted a fuzzy section of a map on my design wall.
I recalled the awesome works of gorgeous map quilters such as Alicia Merret, Leah Evans and Niraja Lorenz and, with some doubts, I asked myself: why making one more map?
In a conversation after the workshop, David encouraged me: he was very kind, and the map idea found quiet settlement in some place of my mind.

During this Summer, the occasion to elaborate this subject topic came again, thanks to the game launched by Quilt Improv Studio, Pop improv challenge: I randomly started piecing some acid green fields. And suddenly, from my design wall, a message appeared so strong that I didn’t dare to touch the pins and to adjust the vision. I found reply to my earlier question: “It depends on what you want to say with your map”.

This is the story of my quilt made for the Pop Improv game. Its title is: “River gone green”.

This Summer our family holidays found destination in Spain, to the ancient city of Valencia.
Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC. Building site were the banks of the River Turia, alluvial silts accumulated on the floodplain formed in the lower course of the river, which were highly fertile.
Valencia today is one of the world’s top rank global cities: a primary node in the global economic network. But centuries of development changed its relationship with Nature very deeply. Strong growth at the sides of its riverbanks found its limit on 14 October 1957, when the Great Flood of Valencia flooded large parts of the city of Valencia. As a reaction, Turia river was diverted and its coexistence with the citizens found an end. The old course of the river has been turned into a central green space for the city: a cultural attraction known as the Garden of the Turia, which I myself walked in, smitten by surprise.

Acid and saturated colors typical of Pop Art aesthetics, as requested by Quilt Improv Studio challenge, proved perfect to convey through my quilt the message of what happens when commodification of Nature hits an extreme, such as in the story of Turia river bed, not anymore filled with water, but now gone green. Like a glowing ghost of its former stream shape.

Today, awareness that rivers are continuously changing landscapes, which can’t be frozen into a fixed narrow stream (as it happened to the vast majority of the rivers in the world), is well consolidated in the scientific community: leaving room for rivers to flow and flood is safer than building houses too close to riverbanks. The few remaining examples of rivers having a course that still preserves its natural features, such as my beloved Tagliamento river (the “king of the Alps” worth of getting Unesco tutelage), are studied and imitated during projects for restoring damaged river’s health. Didn’t you expect that honoring the wilderness of rivers would also make safer the communities around them?

Finding inspiration at the European Patchwork Meeting

Exhibits, improv process

This month I visited for the first time the European Patchwork Meeting (EPM). The opportunity to be there was offered by having one of my quilts, “East”, part of the SAQA  Exhibit Wide Horizons: I spent one afternoon together with Giovanna, in the role of hosts for the visitors coming to the SAQA gallery: what an honor!

I spent the first two days with quilting friends from Quilt Improv Studio: you can find this part of the story in the article published on Quilt Improv Studio blog.

I took a third day by myself, and I continued the tour in the other villages of France where more exhibits were displayed. There, I found inspiration in the works by Priscilla Bianchi and her sense of composition with bold colors.

I could appreciate the real appearance of quilts by Alicia Merret and Betty Busby, which I always admired for the capability to create textures.

I discovered the skills in creating subtle variations by Misik Kim: I really spent long time observing all the details of her work “The connection”.

I could learn not only from improv and abstract quilts, but also from figurative and representational art. I could not resist to check close up view of the multiple fabrics used by Denise Labadie: she brought me back in time, to the year of my visit to Ireland with school mate friend Ambra!

Finally, the possibility to talk with Scott Culley made my day. You would be astonished by the accuracy he puts in his quilts! And with a strong message! Seeing in person his work was really a good example to keep in mind. I can go down the rabbit hole as much as I wish, with my piecing work: I am not alone in loving so much the quilting practice.

Quilts can invite giraffes to dance


The third and last episode of the series “The secret lives of quilts” is out on Patchworkvictim blog, on its YouTube channel, and here above!

This time, the power of quilts to connect, flies from Italy up to Canada! I had the opportunity to participate in a mini quilt swap arranged once a year by the Modern Quilt Guild (MQG), and I created the work below for my swap partner: I titled it “Giraffe’s rock”, being inspired by fabric with text on the theme of “rock”, which was preferred by my swap partner: because the aim was to use a fabric pull according to the taste of the person who will receive the work.

This fabric selection was really surprising to me: I used a group of super cold blue shades which I don’t adopt very much (since I prefer the turquoise selections of blue). And I discovered how every blue skinny line, pieced among the warm orange blocks, created a very bright contrast effect.

I learnt a lot from the mini-swap experience. My swap partner, Linda, a biker form Canada, is a professional quilting longarmer: what an honor to be paired with her! She proposed that we wait for both mini quilts to be received either by her, in Canada, and by myself, in Italy. When I received her pack, knowing that she had my pack ready for the opening moment, I couldn’t wait! I contacted her on Instagram, and we started a minute-by-minute chat, sharing all the emotions of discovering all the features of our received quilts. We shared common taste for the orange colors: both of us made the quilt with such hues! She used a professional label: I should improve my quilt label style!

Thanks to Linda, and to our MQG swap fairy Mary , who supported swap timing and international communication, for us and for other 15 couples of swappers. Isn’t this title for the swap facilitator role, “fairy”, a confirmation that quilting power is a kind of magic?

Goldfinger quilt spy story

collaborations, Exhibits, improv process

The second episode of the series “The secret lives of quilts” is out on Patchworkvictim blog and its YouTube channel and here above! Like a spy story, we may call it mission Goldfinger. Do you remember the scene when James Bond emerges from the sea, unzips his submarine gears and appears perfectly suited in his smocking, equipped with a fresh flower ready for its place in the white jacket? The same happens to travelling quilts, hidden in small packages, ready to surprisingly pop out from their mystery box, to reach their destination in fully elegant settings.

This episode indeed features works by Quilt Improv Studio participants, such as the wonderful mini quilt “Delirium” made by Carla Beretta shown in the pictures below, which I had the opportunity to see in person after its travel to the venue for the gallery “The tales of the needle and the brush“: it perfectly unfolded from its tiny shipment pack, without showing any crease thanks to its incredible thick free motion quilting fill. Carla is a founder of Quilt Improv Studio together with Giovanna Nicolai and myself, and even if we collaborate by remote, I still remember the wonderful sensation of keeping first time among my fingers her masterful creation in the shades of gold.

One of the secret powers of quilts is the capability to connect people from all around the world. Since two years ago, Quilt Improv Studio launches its games online: the Instagram gallery of works made by game participants nowadays displays more than 160 quilts, showing how varied can be the ideas emerging from improv process adopted by quilters who were inspired by the same game prompt.
Quilts made for the game include excellent examples such as the works selected for QuiltCon2022 and aired last February in Phoenix, Arizona, by @aquilterstable@quiltcreation and @kathycookquilts; @sakuraquilting was awarded at Gramado Brasil quilt festival with her quilt “Emergiendo” created during Orange Summer challenge and @hollygrovethreads was awarded at Greenville quilt festival with her work “Mod Mondrian” created for Primary Improv challenge. If you want to join such adventures, you are still in time to participate to the latest game Pop Improv challenge!

To conclude with funny anecdotes, I add a bonus track here below: my favorite parodie of James Bond reiterating his name, by the great couple of Italian comic actors Lillo and Greg!

The secret lives of quilts


I’ve started a new video miniseries, thanks to the collaboration with Patchworkvictim, titled “The secret lives of quilts”. Like an investigator, I look for hints of fascinating behaviors of fabric creations, which walk around and play tricks especially when we are distracted or asleep.

Several witnesses shall be called in: quilt stories involve quilting friends who know more details than me, and help to connect the dots.

In the first appointment, titled “Fabric as a best friend”, I mention contributions by Brenda H. Smith (who spotted my work during her travels) and Ally Ryde (who gave me suggestions on how to uncover a best friend hidden among fabrics).

The story tells about my work “Sealights”, already described in my earlier post here. It’s a quilt that continues to give surprises: for example, it acted as a mimetic landscape to allow unexpected creatures to hide in between its seams: the following photos provide the proof.

Rest of the story is revealed in the video below. It’s in Italian, but you can still observe that this quilt is capable to travel across seasons and to move back in time.

Quiltmaking is my jogging

improv process

I share my quilting studio with DaveTheWave, who collects there his tools for electronic music improvisation, and sometimes I enjoy piecing during his composition hours.
His tunes are a perfect companion for sewing with a rhythm: not only I respond better to the emerging shapes on my design wall, but also I feel confident in changing my texture while keeping unity in the overall piece.

Music improvisation and quilting improvisation are similar: when you find a good balance between control and intuitive response, you are in the flow, you are connected with the medium, the eye switches easily from zoom detail to overview check, and repetitions with variation can proceed.
Where can I learn from, if I want to practice the feeling of improvisation? Keeping a good link between body and mind reminds me of training in sports: you have learnt the basics and, during the match, you seamlessly adjust your strategy according the movements of the team.

Birthday party drawing gallery: April 15th

activism, Exhibits

Did you know that my quilting practice influenced my drawing habits? That my bigger love for spirals during free motion quilting turned into my favorite ink and pen color transition mark?

If you are curious to see my most recent works, where I transform the photos taken while strolling in my hometown by using all sorts of ink on paper, feel free to join my birthday drawing gallery titled “Dreamscapes”: Friday April 15th, exhibit inauguration at 17.30 in “SpazioTrieste” room of via Donizetti 5/A in Trieste. I will bring you through my dreamy visions that appear in my mind during daily walk in the ancient streets. It will follow a party drink, confirmation of your presence is appreciated for booking arrangements.

No birthday gifts needed, but if you really wish to do something, in the gallery room you will find a free offer box, aimed to fundraising for Ukraine refugees by Médecins Sans Frontières, also directly possible through the donation details at this link.

Looking forward to see you at the party: a selection of postcards based on my drawings will be available. And if you are too distant to attend, but you wish to feel the party atmosphere anyway, write me your postal address and I will send a signed postcard to you!