I had the wonderful experience of being interviewed by @janekellyquilts for the “Meet the Makers” section of Make Modern Quilt Magazine. Her questions gave me the opportunity to think about my quilting journey, since its start, to the possible ideas for my future quilts.
I’m honored to find my story published in the now available issue 54, in a beautiful four-pages layout. I’m in good company of many other brilliant quilters, such as Birgitta Jadenfelt, who had her bluebells pattern published in the same issue.
Since the magazine is fully digital, it can immediately reach distant locations. Such as Canada, where Linda McLaren had the kind idea of bringing my mini quilt “Giraffe’s rock” to the London Modern Quilt Guild Canada Show, as an example of the MQG Make a Mini Make a Friend swap. The article featuring me, from the just released Make Modern issue created in Australia, was pinned to it by Linda, who had been paired with me in the swap. Connections within the quilting community run quick!
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!
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 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.
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.
I like to explore the terms to be adopted when describing textures, the ones obtained by patchwork piecing. I’m tempted to borrow words that I use when I describe materials observed at the microscope. A random texture could be an “isotropic” pattern. This means that you can see similar shapes, whatever direction you look them from. To make some examples: a bubble foam may be isotropic; a wood plate resulting from a longitudinal cut is not isotropic, being oriented in the branch growth direction.
I will talk about this in my next zoom video lecture, on Thursday September 24th at 17.30 CEST (Italian language), thanks to local quilt shop hosting the event. A good occasion to discuss on the fact that, even if improv piecing seems chaotic, there is still some reasoning behind! For attendance, you can subscribe to Patchworkvictim mailing list, and you will receive free invitation link!
Last year I was planning a travel to Birmingham with my family, with the Festival of Quilts as one of the destinations. Some friends listened to our discussion and said: “Why not? Let’s go to London all together, and you Paola shall be our guide for English translation!”
At that time, we postponed the plan to year 2020. But we’ve not purchased any ticket to Birmingham yet: the holidays were adjusted to visiting the mountain in our surroundings, in order to remain within our region.
Still, my opportunity to join the Birmingham event arrived anyway: the Festival of Quilts went “live”!
Today I’ve attended the virtual inauguration, and the emotion was there when the moderator announced: “The winner is…”. And this happened for no less than 15 times: so many, indeed, were the categories of the virtual competition, and I could appreciate the view of very elegant winning quilts, including striking works from kids down to 5-9 years old category!
I participated to the event with one of my works too. My quilt “Seaside” is now visible in the on-line gallery of the Festival of Quilts virtual competition, category contemporary quilts: I decided to propose my entry to the contest, by submitting one of the rare cases where I used raw edge applique.
“Seaside” is dedicated to the colors and ripples of Adriatic sea, wetting my home town Trieste. Shells, sand and sunlight reflections on wave crests appear as symbols on this work. The longitudinal development of the layout allowed me to play with the band line direction: I quilted three long stripes with walking-foot, that can be read either as waves, or as an abstract shape placed at the panel core.
A quilt by Giovanna Nicolai is on display too, in the modern category of the Festival of Quilts 2020 gallery. I love this work of her, titled “Fluorescent hope”: it’s featured also on the home page of the site hosting our joint project Quilt Improv Studio, that we share with Carla Beretta. Giovanna wrote in her article, themed on the recent expansion of digital quilt world: “We will participate to inauguration ceremonies staying at home”: I’ve experienced this right now, together with hundreds of quilters connected at the same time to the Festival opening ceremony, during my lunch break, with a tasty dish of spaghetti and meat sauce!
Quilting community gathering around the two-day livestream interactive workshop with Sherri Lynn Wood, “Wedge Curve Improv“, seems to have been an event. Thanks to Arapahoe County Quilters, who opened virtual enrollment to this course (initially planned for their guild in Colorado), I had the opportunity to join, together with quilting friends in Italy, and others from many countries, including Australia, where the course started at 2.00 a.m.!