That hue of blue

improv process

Some months ago I was walking to the city center, and I raised my eyes upwards. There was a beautiful intense blue sky, and many perfect white clouds. It was just a small field among the houses, but it gave me sense of the beauty of our remote roof on top. I decided, then, that I wanted to make a quilt out of these colors.

I talked in this earlier blog post about the start of this work. I selected all my favorite blue fabrics, and I combined them such to obtain this same feeling impressed in my memory. I wanted to render the sense of expansion, but I realized that I needed a kilometers wide quilt… it was required a real size effect!

I finally settled for keeping just the meaning, distilled into a small detail.

Now my quilt is finished, and I can keep between both hands a tiny symbol of something located so remote. I gave it title: “The space between the clouds”.

Each month has its colors

collaborations

December is the month when the number of daylight hours is the smallest one. At least, in this part of the world! Nonetheless, I am fascinated by the observation of reality, as it is, even if it’s cold. So, after my long working hours, I try to go out and catch the last shade of light during a walk to my beloved sea. Blue sky turns to black night, and sometimes I’m surprised by the capability of the last rays of the day to carry colors that are still intense and bright.

The palette I propose for the month of December, in collaboration with Patchworkvictim as usual, is dedicated to the intensity of dark blue and warm red. You can see in the video below how nice pairing of red and blue can be found with printed fabric dedicated to celebrate this month! Description of all selected fabric is listed on Patchworkvictim blog.

I tried the proposed combination of red and blue in the quilt below: no surprise that, in using such colors, I bumped into the idea of quilting star shapes!

From the microscope to the sky

collaborations, improv process

“Beyond Borders” is a virtual quilting guild of the Modern Quilt Guild. It is virtual because many of us are not able to meet in person: the group includes members from different continents, who applied for participation to the Individual Members Coalition of the MQG.
Our last virtual gathering took place on November 16th, with participants from USA, UK, Sweden, Spain, Italy and Australia, and we talked about:

•MQG highlights: keep connected! Resources and articles setting the example.

•Off the shelf! Quilting books that we like (led by Barbara @barbararosborg and Giovanna @jonikquilts).

•”Inspiration corner”: From the microscope to the sky. Natural textures finding room into our quilts (this was my talk: I will describe it here below).

•Show & Tell: participants showed what they were working on, new beginnings, past finishes.

•News from the quilting world: coming quilting events, sharing plans to visit venues

————————

“Inspiration corner” is a section we have recently introduced: we have discovered the inspiration sources of Samantha @threads_of_my_life and Ally @alsterdeeluxe, from the English countryside, to the shapes hidden in the daily shadows around us.

In my turn for the “Inspiration corner” speech, 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.

I’m a moderator of “Beyond Borders” group, together with @tarahartslief: if you want to jump onboard, feel free to contact me for questions!
Consider also checking the other one of the two groups of MQG Individual Member Coalition, at their Instagram profile: @modernfusionmqg

The colors of Autumn

collaborations

I love walking in the wood in Autumn, hearing the sound of cracking leaves under my steps, peeking the light popping out between the trees now and then as a surprise.

I rarely use dark colors for my quilts. But they make a beautiful background for bright and warm details! This is why I’ve chosen my crimson quilt as the inspiration source to propose a “Palette of the month” for November: in Autumn we have less light, but when it appears, it’s a wonderful flash!

You can see the fabric selected in collaboration with Patchworkvictim at this link of their blog, and a display of combination effects for prints and solids in the video below.

Quilts and friends meeting again

collaborations, Exhibits

I first met Giovanna @jonikquilts on the verge of new year 2020, thanks to the common interest for improv modern patchwork.

After noticing her on the web thanks to common attendance of an on-line workshops, where the sneak peeks of our works in progress suggested we had a similar taste for color choice, I decided to break the ice inviting Giovanna to start a joint project. During the first phone call, while Giovanna was on the mountain enjoying family holidays, I proposed her to meet in person. A new year was starting: the best moment to fill our agenda with new plans! Even if this required to take the train, Giovanna liked the idea of travelling, and started to fill her luggage.

In February 2020, Giovanna took the train from Mestre, near Venice, and reached me in Trieste. What was the content of her suitcase? A bundle of quilts! All the quilts she had sewn in the recent years. Large quilts, small quilts, mini quilts, top to be finished, flying thread…

Received in my home, the quilts popping out from Giovanna’s bag seemed to be endless. It was the first chance we had to see each other in person, and to look at all the quilting work done by both of us until that day. We started to plan a weekend in Prague together, to visit an international patchwork fair. We didn’t know that this one was the last occasion for us to meet, in years.

Until today.

Technology helped us to pass the difficult coming months: sometime crises create new opportunities. We met virtually, we tightened the connection with another Italian improv quilter, Carla Beretta @falcolupo, and ideas started to take shape: the construction of Quilt Improv Studio project.

Now, one of our old ideas took shape.

This Saturday we had the first occasion to meet physically again. It’s been a great experience to be in person, for the first time after almost two years, during the inauguration of the gallery The tales of the needle and the brush. A great occasion to meet quilters earlier known only through the web, and to appreciate the beautiful details of their quilts in a way that photography cannot express. Thanks Giovanna for passing through all plan changes we had in these complex times, and to continue with enthusiasm in promoting our initiatives together with Carla! Remote ways of working will remain our main tool: our quilting community reaches whatever distance.

On the back of this photo: the quilts Giovanna and myself made with identical palette, jointly purchased just in time before everything was closing down. Now they have finally been put one at the side of each other, in a real exhibit where we could be together.

Improvising with common colors

collaborations, Exhibits, improv process

When it was time for me to propose a palette for the month of October, I immediately thought of the pumpkin color and to the works I have done with orange fabric. I chose my quilt made for the first Quilt Improv Studio game, and I listed the colors used at that time to share its juicy palette: my favorite oranges, white and a well contrasting dark blue.

You can find the resulting fabric selection made in collaboration with Patchworkvictim, at the following page of their blog.

In this video you can see how nice prints using orange blue and white we could find, to match with the solids chosen at the start.

If you wish to see with your eyes the orange quilt which was created following this palette, you can soon come to visit the quilt+painting gallery The tales of the needle and the brush, opening on October 23rd in Trieste (Italy) and displaying not only orange quilts, but also blue quilts and black and white quilts, all stemming out from the fantasy of improv quilters who followed Quilt Improv Studio game prompts. And much more!

Participation to Quilts Unlimited

Exhibits

Two of my quilts are part of the juried show Quilts Unlimited, on display since Saturday, October 02, 2021 to Saturday, December 04, 2021 in Old Forge, New York.

The organizers made a great job in creating previews and event related material, collected in the online reception page. I can feel like being there, in good company of beautiful works from Australia to US, even if I’m not travelling there. My quilts travel more than me!

In this video you can find a selection of hanging quilts. It’s nice to see that my yellow “Grasshopper path” stands near to a blue quilt, getting contrasting colors effect in the sequence of the display, while my “Landing” mates with a quilt having similar repetitions and symmetry scheme. Thanks to View Center for Arts and Culture for this awesome exhibit!

On the making of an image

improv process

It was for several days, that a blue sky quilt idea was floating in my mind.
I resisted for all those days to the temptation to start it, because I was in the middle of other projects. A completely different color occupied my sewing table, the supersaturated red of my monochrome quilt, still to be finished.
I managed to work according to my real preference: one quilt at a time.

Then, my quilting table became free.
I started.
And I submerged for a full weekend on my new blue project, without breathing fresh air for hours.
It fullly captured me.
So strong was the effect of full immersion into a stage of new creation, that every other activity in the queue disappeared from my radar.
I even forgot for one full day to send the announcement of the new quilt+painting gallery that was in preparation here in my hometown!
(Well, the gallery announcement has just been launched – read here if you are in north east Italy, and you consider visiting this super special event soon!).

Blue and white fragments continued to get attached to one another on the design wall, when, suddenly, my composition was not working anymore.
Too big.
The clouds, inspired to the late summer sky visions stored in my mind, needed to become too large… maybe kilometers large… like in the real life.
Not working, not working image at all.

The splash on the design wall soon turned out too busy, giant and pixellated.
I remixed, I ripped sections, I abandoned the initial purpose… but there was no way out.
Until, like a casual gesture, I placed my jelly roll blue strips on the design wall. Strips in series, like a color check, like a grid.
And, surprise-surprise… I started to see my work clearly again.
Thanks to the presence of the grid, I suddenly understood what was happening to my work.

— Alert: engineer nerd content below —

I involuntarily created an “interference grid”.
Like the one I used during my optoelectronic engineering studies… when a laser beam passed through a filter, and became transformed into physically meaningful patterns…
This grid acted, indeed, as a filter.
It helped me to extract mosaic cell scale.
To separate portions of the mosaic having different appearances.
It distilled the randomness of my work into some sub-series having a meaning of their own.

Now, I have decided a possible way on: to use only some portions of my work, to simplify it.
The image should become more readable.
Or at least, the idea returned readable for my mind. I see again a number of possible paths for the progression of my work.

I don’t know if the above story is understandable or even interesting as a quiltmaking phase.
But for me it was important.
The rest, still needs to be written…

Patchwork and painting group gallery announcement

activism, Exhibits

I’m pleased to announce that a group gallery event is coming soon in Trieste (Italy), dedicated to the two techniques of patchwork and painting, at Atelier dell’arte in Raffineria street 4/c, opening on October 23rd until November 13th.

It is an occasion where multiple streams will be collected: stories of connections from a distance, in a period when people could not meet in person but still wanted to be creative together; the sense of a widening perspective that can be achieved on a canvas when a painter wants to feel in open air while being in stay-at-home mode; the solidarity that can be materialized thanks to the effort of tens of quilters, such as the sewing marathon resulting in a donation to GOAP rescue centre preventing violence against women.

In this venue we had the opportunity to host some examples of the works realized during the challenges launched by Quilt Improv Studio. It is the first opportunity to put together Quilt Improv Studio games participants from the surrounding of the venue site in Trieste, wishing that this be repeated also in the future with a wider participation and related logistics arrangements!

All these happenings will be presented in the gallery “The tales of the needle and the brush”: flyer here below!

The meaning of red

improv process

When I started discussing with my quilting friends Carla and Giovanna, about the new game to be proposed as a Quilt Improv Studio challenge, I was reading the book Abstract Art. Carla’s proposal to try quilting a monochromatic work was perfectly fitting with the chapter I was reading then: the history of American Monochrome paintings.

At the time to start my monochrome quilt, I decided to experimented a bit with extremes.
I kept the shapes to a minimum (a good occasion to discover the difficulties of minimalism).
As in the monochromatic painting experiments, I focused on surface texture, quilting red on red, going narrow up to matchstick style.

At a certain point, the differences introduced in my quilt started to be barely visible even for me… and this reminded me of a photo galley I made twenty years ago, participating to a science congress on nanotechnologies, dealing with objects having size sometimes too small for being resolved by visible light.

Well… red is the color at the gate of visible light wavelength.
Thus, I decided that my red quilt had gained grades to be dedicated to all the above.

My monochrome quilt is titled “Threshold of the visible”. It makes me think of my experience with microscopy and surface characterization, of the American monochrome texture paintings, and of the wavelength where we start to see red: 740 nanometers!