woodland oaks, chanterelles and crocus

by orkaloca gennaio 18 creazioni * Art Quilt

In October the magazine Cora (dedicated to artistic artisanship) has sponsored a contest (various techniques) with the theme "leaves mushrooms and berries of autumn"
The works were exposed in the booth of Cora Edition during the fair Creattiva of Bergamo. There were not too many works, and there were different techniques, from quilts to lace, but each one was at least nice :)

I didn't show you the quilt before because I didn't know when and if the jury would have chosen a winner (because I don't think there was the minimum number of works required to make the contest). Now the fair is gone, and is gone also the period within which the work had to remain avalaible for the organizers, and I asked him to send it back to me.
Now I feel free to show you my quilt.

Title: SOTTOBOSCO - querce finferli e crochi (WOODLAND: oaks, chanterelles and crocus)
Size: about 15"x15"

If you'll go on reading I'll tell you more :)

When I read the theme, I immediately thought that would be the ideal opportunity to use the fabric you see in the background. I think it's linen, beige, and has some beautiful and very fine grain, like wood. There were only two problems:
1) It wasn't a big piece but an old skirt of my grandmother, so I had to cut it to recover the more fabric possible
2) Here and there the moths had done their job, leaving little holes that I had to cover with a tactical positioning of the applications

And since I'm not happy if I don't complicate my life, I wanted to do three-dimensional applications. Not only slightly curved or puffy, I wanted mushrooms and petals pop-up from the quilt surface.

This work was assembled "contrariwise"... In fact the first step was the construction of the background and the quilting.
I wanted the quilting had "movement" so I quilted shapes of oak leaves in various sizes, with a brown thread that is visible against the beige fabric.
Then I filled the remaining spaces with a stipple made with a thread matching the fabric.
All applications have been sewn, by hand or machine, after all the quilting was done.

There weren't less difficoult parts, but I had hard time with the mushrooms. After I researched about various types of mushrooms, I decided to make chanterelles. The problems were:
- give a realistic look to the gills: To do this I made a double layer of fabric, I sewed along the lines dividing the gills, then I cut the first layer of fabric between the seams to make visible the underlying fabric. The raw edges give a realistic look to the gills, in my opinion.
- To make the mushroom in 3D: I did a funnel with the fabric-with-gills and another fabric piece. Then I closed the funnel with the yellow fabric to do the cap. Finding the right position for the gills and provide an irregular margin were key elements to give realism to the mushroom.
Inside the mushroom is a bit of batting to give it a puffy look.
- give a realistic color to the chanterelle cap: for this I added brown marks and spots made with crayons.

The flowers are crocus (Crocus sp.). I know they seems huge but their size is proportionate to those of mushrooms and leaves.
I had to decide which and how many petals had to pop-up from the quilt surface.
The full-appliqued petals are sewn in double, tourned right-side out and padded. The pop-up petals are made like the appliqued ones but inside them there is a metal wire that supports the whole outline.
To do petals I used an hand-dyed cotton sateen and I made the purple darker veins with paintstick.
The long leaves are made from a strip of green fabric, closed in a tube and sewn with a center seam.
The stamens are just three yellow ovals made in double.

Finally, there are oak leaves. They are made of hand dyed cotton; I had various shades of brown and green that seemed to me ideal for the autumn leaves.
Each leaf is stitched on a double layer of fabric, cut, turned right-side out and sewn.
What keeps the leaves on the quilt are the seams that make the veins. Everything was sewed in free-motion.

I must say that this work gave me lot of satisfaction, and I can not wait to get it back in my paws :)

If you want leave me a comment, I'd be glad to know what do you think :)


Haiku challenge 1 - beginnings

by Orkaloca gennaio 8 Art Quilt * creazioni

In November the theme of the FFFC challenge was "Haiku". Excited by haikus a group of quilters founded an Haiku based art challenge group. 
In the Haiku Art challenge group each month is given a word that serve as inspiration to compose an haiku and a piece of art, using any technique, related to haiku.

This month, for the first challenge, the word is "Beginnings".
And I did a piece a bit alchemical, a bit astronomic, a bit microscopistic and biological.

You will understand easily why is astronomic, biological and microscopistic, but I'll explain why "alchemical"
Alchemical in reference to Hermes Trismegistus and his "Emerald Tablet", in which is reportedly one of the principles of alchemy: "That which is below is as that which is above, and that which is above is as that which is below, to perform the miracles of the one thing."
Commonly it is believed that "what is up" refers to the macrocosm, while "what is down" refers to the microcosm. And that, ultimately, understanding how the microcosm works can bring to the understanding of how the macrocosm works.

told that here is my work, which is actually a diptych consisting of two Hikus and two quilts. They are similar, both reflect the concept of beginning, but one is about "that which is above" the other about "that which is below "

Here they are:

A spark in the dark
stars and galaxies unroll
that's how all began

A sperm in the dark
an oocyte is waiting
that's how we began

Both quilts are A4 size.
They are quite strange :) Comments are always welcome! 



by orkaloca dicembre 28 creazioni * wearable

Before Christmas a friend's mother asked me if I could help her with the gift she was looking for for her husband. She wanted a colorful vest for her husband that is a piano.bar and wedding singer.
I had in mind for some time to do a vest so I accepted gladly.

I began to work immediately to the pattern, and what she liked most was a vest full of curved lines that make it unique yet elegant.
We choose to do the vest with dupioni silk in shades of orange, red and lime yellow.
The black was added to dampen a bit the colors.

The back of the vest is made by black dupioni silk, with the martingale to adjust the waist. Inside the vest is lined by black fabric.
In the picture there are no buttons because I had to pick them up. They are 6 and I had them covered with the same silk of the vest.

I'm very happy of how this vest turned out, I think I'll do one also for me:)


Colours wanted

by orkaloca dicembre 9 creazioni

Winter is here, and also if today is a cold, sunny day, the most of the days are cloudy, grey and snowy or rainy. This makes me want to surround myself with bright colours.
So yesterday I grabbed a bag of hand-dyed cotton strips, a leftover of a bargello quilt, and my ruffler foot, and in a day I've made this collection of simple but colorful brooches :)

They are all different, I've used several types of yarns, from furry one to ponpon one, from red to violet.
I've also used my little knitting-mill to make some nice knitted tubular to embellish some brooches.

I wanted to make the flower center with buttons but I hadn't some of the correct size and colour, so I've done some clover-shaped buttons with polimer clay, to which I've added beads and sequins

Finally I've assembled the flowers with a little amount of hot-glue and I've printed some nice labels to let my customers know that these brooches are all handmade :)

Next sunday I'm going to have a craft fair, I hope people will like and buy these colorful brooches. I think they could be a perfect xmas present.


Cervia, nails and FFFC 50

by orkaloca novembre 16 creazioni * Art Quilt

Aa week ago I went at a national quilters meeting, in a maritime city called Cervia. Our national quilter association staged a quilt show in the convention center and I had a quilt shown there.
The sad thing was that the quilts were hung with nails.
Here's a photo to let you understand what I mean:

I was orrified but when I pointed out the fact the organizers replied to me that they were doing it right, that a famous quilter told them to do that, that nails were small and so on. No way for a new hanging method.
Then I asked for an opinion in the QuiltArt mailing list. I was reassured, I'm right, nails are bad for quilts.
But in the other italian quilters' opinion I'm wrong, I was so frustrated about that, till someone told me "life is short and you have to decide whether to spend it fighting or making art!"
This made me think that I can also fighting making art, and so my quilt for challenge 50 (theme: haiku) was born..

The haiku is:
The grey sea sadly foams
Where the quilts are crucified
At ignorance walls

(hope the syllables count is correct)

And here is my quilt:

The photo is one of those I took on the Cervia beach during the meeting, printed on fabric and quilted, the "wall" is fused, the little quilt is a recycle, I made this little quilt to try a new technique months ago and then I left it unfinished. I've finished it with back and binding, I've sewed it to the other pieces then I've ripped it to insert the big nail. Finally came the bloody drops.
I'd like to add also some words like "it's just a little nail" on the wall, I'm going to write them when I'll find the ideal technique to do so.

In this quilt I've tried 2 techniques new to me: I've attached the binding with blanket stitch (don't like it too much), and I've used satin stitch to close part of the quilt (but it came out wavy, any hint about that?).

Every coment and hint will be appreciated.


Silvia and Filippo's Quilt

by orkaloca ottobre 11 creazioni

Last Saturday two friends of me and my husband get married, pronouncing the fateful YES :p

As  wedding gift I sewed them a king size bed quilt, made of cotton, using a traditional pattern: the star of Bethlehem. At the star I added, applied arches to make it more interesting.
To complete the gift the quilting was done completely by hand.

The quilt is 240x240cm and took me two months, about 250 working hours, to finish it. The last 10 days were devoted to intensive quilting.
Ddestroyed hands, sore thumbs, carpal tunnel, but wow what a satisfaction!
And even better was knowing that the bride and groom liked it a lot and that they immediately used it :)


La nascita del grande giudice

by orkaloca ottobre 11 creazioni * tutorial

Dato che ci sono molte persone che mi stan chiedendo come abbia fatto a render bene i muscoli dell'uomo usando solo le luci e le ombre, ho deciso di dare una breve spiegazione.

Anzitutto devo dire che questo è il pezzo più studiato che io abbia mai fatto, e se per lo sfondo ho potuto improvvisare, l'improvvisazione non ha avuto spazio nella costruzione dell'uomo.
Dietro l'uomo c'è un sacco di studio e ricerca, riguardo la prospettiva, l'anatomia e l'utilizzo di luci ed ombre.

Ecco come ho fatto, come prima cosa l'uomo è stato progettato su carta. Ho fatto il disegno su carta bianca, tracciando tutti i muscoli aiutandomi con un manuale di anatomia. Poi dei muscoli ho scartato i "minori" tenendo solo quelli che è possibile vedere bene anche attraverso la pelle in un corpo molto ben allenato. Per scegliere quali muscoli tenere e quali no ammetto che ho passato non poco tempo a guardare foto di culturisti mezzi nudi in posa.

Una volta tracciate le linee generali del corpo ho fatto una prova di colore semplicemente usando delle matite colorate. Anche qui c'è stato molto studio delle luci ed ombre. Mi son aiutata anche in questo caso con delle foto di culturisti, ed ho colorato sino ad ottenere un risultato che mi soddisfaceva.
Qui una foto delle prove in corso d'opera:

Una volta soddisfatta della prova su cart a è stato il momento di passare alla stoffa. La difficoltà è stata lavorare coi paintstick, che richiedono una tecnica tutta diversa rispetto alle matite.
Io li ho stesi con dei cotton-fiock caricando le sfumature fino ad esserne soddisfatta. Ho eseguito l'uomo su una stoffa tinta a mano da me, gia lilla in partenza, in modo da avere uno sfondo in tinta su cui lavorare.

Una volta terminato l'uomo sulla stoffa l'ho ritagliato lasciando un margine e l'ho applicato a mano sul mio sfondo gia finito rivoltando in sotto il margine di cucitura. Io non amo particolarmente le applicazioni a margine "grezzo" così tendo a farle sempre con margine rifinito, cioè col margine di cucitura ribaltato sotto, a meno che non abbia bisogno di effetti particolari, ma non era questo il caso.

Spero di aver chiarito un po' di dubbi, ma se ce ne fossero altri chiedete pure :)


are you ready to sin? - the great judge

by orkaloca ottobre 11 show * creazioni

Yesterday, finally, came the long awaited Sunday, I could not wait more to see the craft show in Bergamo, and to see my quilt shown in the "you are ready to sin" show and contest. There were more than 80 quilts :) it was wonderful.

But I've to tell you how all began...  DireFareQuiltare, in collaboration with QuiltItalia, Bernina, Alexandra publishing and other sponsors, organized the national competition "are you ready to sin?". The theme was, guess what, the 7 deadly sins.
The work must be a banner of 15x150cm (about 6x59") and must have specific colours depending on the choosen sin. You could choose sin or ask a random assignment.
I asked for a random sin and I received the fabrics kit for... pride! Dominant colors were blue and purple, and I was really happy, I love these two colours!

So I started with the brainstorming to find a good idea (I love brainstorming) ... First of all I decided that I would do a single scene, not a set of 10 15x15cm blocks, then I ruled out all the classical ideas related to pride, peacocks, feathers and similar ones.
After much consideration, I thought about what is the pride and who is the superb, I would say that superb is the one who place itself above the others and judge them, so I decided to represent the proud, making sure that the observer had not only passive role, but was the object of pride.

Once I had the idea, I had to think about how to realize it.
So I spent a lot of time to study the perspective in order to put my judge in high position respect to the observer. Then I studied highlights and shadows to make sure that, from any point of view the judgmental finger indicates the observer.
I basically tried to recreate the effect of the finger that "follow" you if you walk in front of the quilt. :)
For the musculature I used an atlas of anatomy that I have in my library since I was a little girl, and it was useful at every stage of my life ... from before the high school to university, and even now :)

And so this is how my "the great judge" born, and I'm happy to say that with him I won the 3rd prize in the competition :)
So here is for you, my "The Great Judge"

I would like to show you a photo of the awards ceremony, but the reality is that I don't have them because I left the camera to my husband, but he argues with my camera, so the only image in focus is also the less significant. Sigh: (
Even without pictures these are satisfactions that I'll treasure in my heart and in mind! :) Also because this time I was given the chance to speak and say a few words about my work *_* it was so beautiful!

And now? Now I'm already thinking at the next show :)


The heaven of fishes

by orkaloca ottobre 5 creazioni * show

Sunday 3 there was the regional Quilting Day in Monza and I was there :)
It's been a tiring but beautiful day, we have sewed, chatted, well eaten, watched demonstrations and even ... sung!

During previous week there was also a quilt show whose theme was "between fantasy and reality" and those who wanted had the opportunity of enter a work. No juries, just a popular vote.
Of course I wanted enter a quilt ... but what to do?
I have excluded all more or less mythological creatures that seems to me too much obvious.
Then the epiphany came while frying some crepes ... I came to think of flying fish. The flying fish exist, of course they do not fly but are able to do long jump out of the water, also 50/60mt of lenght. They are not magic, they simply use physical laws, but to see this thing leaves you enchanted.
So I thought maybe the flying fish, in their paradise, really fly and have real wings. As the butterflies.

Found the subject I had to choose the technique. How to do it? Well, there was an idea in my mind, and so I played :). I realized a black whole cloth, tracing all drawing only with quilting, using cotton and metallic threads.

In my fishes heaven fishes jumps put of the water and fly with butterfly wings.

Here's my "the heaven of (flying) fishes"

a detail:

I must say it was much appreciated by those who have noticed it. Sadly the shaw was on a big room with very poor light so my black quilt "died". The background fishes, that are clearly visible on a good light, in that light condition totally disappeared.  Anyway I've received endless compliments on the quilting and this makes me very happy.

Now the quilt will go on display in Bergamo, I think in the QuiltItalia stand. So I'm going to have three quilts shown in Bergamo: this, the one for the "leaves mushrooms and berries" contest and the one for the "7 sins" competition.

I've to say that on sunday the funniest thing was that all those to whom I was introduced said "ah, but you're so young??"



Lavori in corso

by orkaloca settembre 21 creazioni * lavori in corso

Per una grande parete ci vuole un grande pennello...

E per un grande progetto ci vuole un grande telaio...

... ed una grande sala (con condizionatore nuovo e muro da ripitturare, ma ci sarà tempo) ...

Ed ecco qui per le più curiose un dettaglio del grande progetto in corso. Trapunto a mano, dita martoriate, ma viene d'un bene... :)