The sea has many colors


I had the pleasure to be interviewed by Diane Howell, editor of the SAQA Journal, who featured my quilt, Night Lights, in the Inspired column in the latest issue of the SAQA Journal magazine. Her questions were an occasion, for me, to think of the variety I can find at the seaside. Indeed, she asked about both my works Sealights and Night Lights, inspired by the reflection of the light on the surface of the sea, respectively in a Summer day and in the Winter evening.

I am aware that the colors of the sea can be many more than those. I daily choose sunset time, or sunrise time, or a cloudy moment, or an almost rainy hour, and all the possible weather types, as a good reason to visit the seaside space in my town. I check the clarity of the horizon line, the size of the waves, the reflection games.

If you are a SAQA member, you can find the full article in SAQA Journal, Volume 34, Issue 2, page 39. Here below, an excerpt of the article page.

SAQA is a very lively community: if you’re not familiar with them, you may be surprised by how many initiatives are hosted by SAQA. In the meanwhile I was preparing this post, I also had another beautiful piece of news. I’m honored to have been informed that my work “River Gone Green” was selected by jurors Ildiko Polyak, Maya Chaimovich and Susan Vogel for the @saqaart Europe and Middle East juried exhibition “WIDE HORIZONS IX”.
In the picture below, a moment when “River Gone Green” was in the starting phase, on the design wall. If you wish to see it, Wide Horizons IX will debut at European Patchwork Meeting (EPM) in Sainte Marie-aux-Mines, France, from 12th to 15th of September 2024.

QuiltCon and the effects of visual perception

Exhibits, improv process

My preparation for the visit in the US to QuiltCon 2024 started four months in advance. In these days, Fabia Delise mentioned the retrospective exhibition dedicated to the abstract expressionist Mark Rothko hosted by the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Perfect timing! I decided that my connecting flight had to pass through Paris, and I booked the tickets for that gallery.

It was a very strong experience. The large paintings by Rothko game me the idea of wide horizons, of the blocking of walls, of the wish to dive in, of the feeling to fly above… The luminosity of space was recognized very well by my visual perception system. This show made me wish to spend more time outdoor or, as paper engineer Annalisa Metus recently said, of being en plein air.

I spent the rest of my day in Paris walking in the zone of La Défense in Paris, where I found the monument “Iris” by Raymond Moretti, among skyscrapers illuminated in the night.

When I arrived to my destination, at QuiltCon, one of the first quiltmakers that I met was Scott Culley. His quilt Shadow won first prize in the Piecing category: congratulations Scott! Only at a certain distance, the composition of a face can be recognized. He made other works based on visual perception effects, such as the earlier quilt Mask-3.

A few days before going to QuiltCon, I read the impressive story of the work Reconceived by Jennifer Candon, and how she is aware of visual perception factors, while choosing colorful zones and areas for the eyes to rest, in her quilts. I commented her: “I bet on an award”. Indeed her work won the first prize in the Improv category.

Here you can see how big is the work of Jennifer, at right; in the center, still in the Improv category, was hanging my quilt “Night Lights” juried in the show.

Night Lights is intended as an abstract work, even if it is based on a real experience feeling. I use to walk by the sea in whatever hour of the day. Late afternoon hour in Winter is enough to find an extreme condition: a black sky above a black horizon of water. The tip of the pier is one of my favorite places, where only natural illumination remains, the last streetlamp and its wavy reflections left behind.

I was happy to find in the show the work Iridescence by Julie Reuben , which has been juried also in the Abstraction: Textural Elements (SAQA Global Exhibition) together with my quilt Open air. Her handwork quilting creates color play in a very interesting zone: the limit of visibility.

QuiltCon in depth

activism, Exhibits, joining events

“It takes courage to use, for the first time, an overseas flight”, recognized Irene Roderick @hixsonir, during the breakfast where she kindly invited me, in Raleigh (US), together with other quilters, in a nicely informal eat-together occasion. I was so happy to meet her in person, after the having attended her workshops only from remote. During that discussion, I was explaining that visiting US has not been in my plans ever: I was afraid to go, from my 7.500 miles distant hometown in Italy.

I was convinced to take the plane by the opportunity of attending the QuiltCon 2024 opening lecture by @davidowenhastings and Teresa Duryea Wong @third_floor_quilts who celebrated 20 modern quilts from around the world. Argentina, Guatemala, New Zealand, Korea, Switzerland, France and Italy were represented: you can find the featured quiltmakers on David’s web site here. I am so honored to have been part of the mentioned quilters during this session, attending in presence together with Cecilia Koppmann @ceciliakoppmann, and in the good company of the other mentioned Italian @fabiadelise, whose work I admire so much. I discovered, among others, deeply impressive Korean artists, who give meaning to their quilts with profound care and detail, such as Sung Hye Byun @konnimi who celebrates hometown architectures in a fascinating way, a subject that I love too.

I am grateful to David for having been a “good influence”, inspiring me to visit QuiltCon, and I’m especially happy that he has mentioned that part of me who is an “activist”. My featured work Heat Map is one of my quilts that tell stories of civil action, as I explained on my blog here. I have made other works combined with civil initiatives, such as the one for the petition to save the last savage river in Europe Tagliamento.

“Let’s transform passion into call for action” is a feeling which I shared with Lorraine Woodruff-Long @quiltinginthefog, who I had the pleasure to talk with. How to select striking messages? I started to wonder if my messages remain too hidden, when confined to the artist statements. For her messages, on the contrary, she uses phrases and images so powerful that I could not smile at the photo taken aside her quilt “The Number of Holes”, due to the severity of the addressed subject, but sure I was smiling and happy during our selfie together! Thanks Lorrain for the time spent talking of experiences we both have had, in connecting art and science dissemination, as she did for the Art x Climate Project at the US Global Change Research Program (I’m so proud that quilts can help raising awareness on such topics, as Lorrain’s quilt powerfully did) and I did 20 years ago for the science communication project “Nanoworld” (you can find it mentioned in my bio). I didn’t expect that the visit to QuiltCon could bring to surface my deep past!

A lot of red


In the latest issue of Art Quilt Quarterly (Issue No. 33), available through the SAQA website at this link, you can find a feature article by Patty Kennedy-Zafred about the SAQA Global Exhibition, Color in Context: RED. My work “Heat map” was included. I’ve described the meaning of “heat map” in an earlier post here.

This article allowed me to discover more about the other works, part of the show, including impactful three-dimensional fiber art. A monochromatic exhibit gets strong in itself!

The Color in Context: RED exhibition, with works selected by juror Judy Kirpich, opens on November 2nd at the prestigious International Quilt Festival, at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston Texas. I hope you will visit the International Quilt Festival, the largest annual quilt show in the U.S., which regularly attracts 55,000 people from over 35 countries all around the world! I will not be there, but I’m honored to be part of the show. “Heat map” is my second quilt travelling with a SAQA global exhibition. The other one is “Grasshopper path”, part of Haven SAQA global exhibition (heading to the AQS QuiltWeek events in 2024), a yellow quilt shown here below. It seems I have a soft spot for monochromatic textures…

Follow the track of the quilt


The second episode of the series “The secret lives of quilts” of this Summer is out on Patchworkvictim blog, on its YouTube channel, and here above! This episode tells the story of the quilt “Night lights”, made for the game #qisdualism by Quilt Improv Studio.

This quilt refers to the dualism of darkness and light: the lights have a special character during the late hours and I tried to represent their brightness being more piercing, when coupled with their opposite in the background.
I like to walk in the night towards the sea, beyond the last streetlamp. Yellow reflections swim on the water waves, under a black sky.
I like to be in energy saving mode, in the last hour of the day at home. Streetlamp rays filter through the window tile, scattering light marks on the dark wall.

I made a blue-tooth-tracker pocket in the lower part of my quilt sleeve. After reading shipment loss (and late retrieval) story shared by @quiltinginthefog, I adopted, already since this year start, the solution to follow my quilt tracks. I was struggling for a good place for the tracker, to avoid bumps in the quilt back. When @quiltinginthefog confirmed that she chose a place near the sleeve, as I was thinking too, I went for the solution you can see in these pictures. I was much reassured by seeing the track of my quilt, until it arrived to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, UK.

Here below you can see it hanging in the show!

Heat map

activism, collaborations, Exhibits

The first episode of the series “The secret lives of quilts” of this Summer is out on Patchworkvictim blog, on its YouTube channel, and here above! This episode talks about the quilt “Heat map” and the fabric I’ve used to make it.

Most of my quilts refer to happiness, beauty, and the delight of nature.
But last Summer, for the first time, I had very strong and opposite feelings. Anger, and pride. My quilting practice could not avoid embedding some of it. These days, while I was making a quilt aimed for the SAQA challenge “Color in context: Red”, I marched in the biggest parade experienced by my city in years: 15.000 persons joined from so many different communities. The tv showed for days videos including my position in the front line of the parade, while I was waving the flag of my labour union; its color was red.

Thanks to SAQA Exhibitions Committee and to juror @judykirpich: I’m honored that my quilt “Heat map” created in that period, has been selected for the SAQA global exhibit “Color in context: Red”!  For this quilt I tried for the first time the longarm service by Giulia Molon @quiltlovestudio: thank you Giulia for finding the perfect thread solution to match with my work.

In this detail picture below, it can be gained a sense of the different red fabrics I’ve used. It was the first time for me to piece red on red, and I discovered that I have some preferred and favorite red among others. Do you have a favorite red too?

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!

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.

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!