quilts and syncro swimming

by Orkaloca August 16 art * Judging

Watching at Olymics syncro swimming, listening the comments made by a former swimmer and now judge, I noticed how every art forms relies on the same basis. Thos art principles that, when well applied, whatever the medium is, make the difference between good art and a mess.
Here are some of her comments... I could easily use them when judging quilts and they shaw a little of what we look at when we judge.

"Judges should be able to understand the routine without reading the description"
"plenty of variety"
"fantastic transitions"
"use lot of water (space)"
"Could have benefitted by slightly more contrast"
"Good proportions through the water"
"lovely interpretation of the theme"
"show contrast in movement, variety in the program"
"just pohetic"
"marvellous internal attitude, take every skill to maximum"
"tonal attitude"

(Above: swimmers in bee suite, Below: New Beginning by Elfriede Grooten -detail- )


The imaginary penis

by Orkaloca August 16 art * Art Quilt * show


News of the week: at a show dell'AQS (American Quilt Society) an exhibited a quilt, which is part of the collection "Portrait and people" of SAQA, was censored and removed by the organizers.

The reason? A visitor complained, saying she felt offended by the sight of a penis (I guess it threatened her by the quilt).

The funny thing? There is no penis in that quilt!

I refer you to two interesting posts:

THIS by Kathy Nida, the artist, she tells us about the quilt

THIS by Tanya Brown, she speaks of the quilt and in general about the censorship in quilt shows.


A special ring

by Orkaloca April 2 art * creazioni * ispirazioni

Nala, my bernese mountain dog, is a special dog, not only she knows how to win the hearts of everyone, but she also knows how to relate with the world and with other dogs.
She is one of those dogs that, seeing two dogs in a fight, even if it is only for play, she gets in the way and knows how to calm them down.
In the following video you can see her while implementing precisely this behavior, dividing two puppies that exaggerate in the game, on her opinion.


Have you heard those GROURRR? Those are typical, she uses them only in these situations. This is her special way to say "calm dooown".

But how this relates with a ring? Well a month ago, at the craft fair Creattiva Bergamo I had the chance to put my hands on a technique that I wanted to try since a while: wax modeling for lost wax casting.

This is a technique of metallurgy / goldsmith. You make a wax model of the object / jewel you want to do, then you include the model in fireclay and heating the block the wax melts and drips away leaving the space inside the block of clay. Then the fused metal is poured in the clay mould to form the object.

Well, knowing that I could model a jewel I decided to go with the idea of doing something dedicated to Nala.

From the video above I extracted the audio of her characteristic GROURRR and I made the waveform with a program:

This is the GROURRR sound wave, a unique feature of Nala.

I started to play with this waveform, experimenting, drawing artistic renderings.

I made it with curls, spikes, flat, round, at the end the version I liked more was asymmetrical, consisting of a curl and drops.

During the fair, at the stand of Al'kemia Lab, I was able to develop a wax prototype of my ring, carving and shaping the wax according to the shape that I had taken from the GROURRR of Nala.

Then the model has been taken to the lab and the steel fusion has been performed. And yesterday the ring arrived!

And what to say ... as Nala it is wonderful and special!


Birmingham 2014: another big satisfaction

by Orkaloca August 13 art * news * Art Quilt * show

Here I am, back from Birmingham, where from August 7th to 10th I took part in the Festival of Quilts.
I was there as Italian International Representative (IR), to take part in the annual meeting of the European IRs and because ... well because there was one of my quilts in the contest ^ _ ^

This year the contest was packed, more than 1,000 quilts, divided into various categories.

And here is my "baby" with a really original title (yes of course :p) : OrkaLoca
I always play on the pun about orcas and the spanish word "loca" which means crazy.

While last yearall the badges with the awards were already been exposed at the opening of the exhibition, this year they made me sweat.
In fact there were no tags on quilts, only the winners had been moved and covered with black clothes. All this because at noon they have done a nice awards ceremony, followed by the unveiling ceremony of the winners.
Only later, at about 3pm, they put the tags on the quilts.
And I was hoping, finger crossed, to see a tag on my quilt. I put so much effort and good vibes in this piece that I hoped so much.

And at the end, after all the waiting, it was finally there, appeared out of nowhere, my blue tag with the words "Highly Commended". This is a recognition given to that quilt that has not been on the podium just by a whisker.

To say that I'm happy is an understatement :)


They say about me

It 's always nice to re-read certain things.

In the Summer 2011 edition of QuiltItalia News, Gabriella Manara, Vice-President of Quiltitalia, wrote about my quilt "Ceci ne sera pas un papillon":

"The work Ceci ne sera pas un papillon of Silvia Dell'Aere worth a special mention. A work that deals with the theme of the contest from an "animalist" point of view, by putting on the top surface a particular shock represented by the "blood".
Aside the undisputed technical ability of the artist, Dell'Aere introduces a new element given by the crude representation of reality, it will make talk about it.
The work won the special prize for the emotional impact. "


Hunting Song

by Orkaloca August 16 orkaloca world * art * show

Hunting Song is a miniature quilt (11"x8") I've made as entry for this year Festival of Quilts in Birmingam.
I decided to make a miniature thinking that a smaller quilt would have required less time to complete. Can you say that was my first miniature and I was really naive :)
At the end I think this quilt took more than a full size quilt, Sometimes I got stuck in the process, you know when you don't know what to do next, but I?m happy I overcomed that falls.
Also because with this quilt I won the 3rd prize in the miniature category. It has been a great success :)

And here's how I made it.

First of all a miniature is defined as a quilt not larger than 30cm (12") on each side and that must seems a large quilt when photographed without any scale.

Given that the first phase was to make the design. I wanted to depict orcas jumping out of the water. So I did the design on paper trying to add lot of details so that the small quilt will seems bigger in photo.

Than I had to decide about the colours, so I did a copy and made a coloured version


Here you can see also letters in the colour fields... those are the letters I've assigned to my fabrics. The further step was to audit for the fabrics in my hand-dyed and commercial fabric stash

Now comes the fun... I started to translate my design in applique using heat-n-bond lite on a thin layer of white cotton, printed with the design in my own inkjet printer.

Problem was that after having made the colour test I was unsure about colours placement. where to put light or dark tones. So I thought "why make one when you can do two with only the double of time and fabric?" :)
So I started working on two quilts for the price of one.

Luckily I had my little helper!

After doing all this work I had time left to finish only one of the two versions, so I asked for help to decide which one carry on. And on this I have to thank all the nice quilters on QuiltArt and SAQA lists that helped me putting their two cents in :) THANK YOU!

So I decided to go on with the darker one that was told to be more artistical and dark in mood.
Considering this comment I decided that my orcas were jumping due to an hunting session. So I needed blood in the water.

I started to quilt the piece and I made an heavy work of thread painting.

The last thing I did was the embellishment on the upper part. The first idea was to add tons of french knots to give a foamy look, but after having added some hundreds of them I saw they didn't work well on this piece. So I spent one day ripping off them and I decided to go for a simple thread painting.

And this is the final result, with binding on :)

And here a superhappy me :) at Birmingham


Birmingham 2013... double prize

by Orkaloca August 11 art * Art Quilt * show

The Festival of Quilts in Birmingham is the biggest show of Europe in the field. Surely one of those that has the largest number of quilts in exhibition and competition.
This year we had 700 quilts, in various categories, from all over the world.

After having heard so much about this show, I went there for my first time, also because there was my final practice session of the Quilt Judge Course.

Besides visit the show, I had also sent two quilts for the contest. One, "the great judge" for the "pictorial" section, the other "hunting song" for the "miniature" section.

And oh my, still I don't believe it, they both have had a prize!

"Hunting Song" has had 3rd prize and the "great judge" has been Highly Commended

The highly commended is a qualification that is given to those quilts who have not entered in the top 3 for a whiff, like 4th, 5th and 6th in practice. Can be assigned to a maximum of 3 quilt but is not required to be give. Son I'm very happy because it means that it is well deserved :)

So here there are a couple of pictures (click to enlarge) ... the Great Judge with his plate:


And a really happy me with the small, great, "hunting song"

And if you don't recognise the small quilt with orcas, don0t worry, there will be a backstage post for you ^_*


Installation site-specific

by Orkaloca June 24 art

5 weeks ago I discovered the MOOCs world and I enrolled an art class.
In this class every week an artistic theme is debated, then we have to take a quis and to make a work of art.
After the surrealism, the mail art, the portrais study, this week is the turn of the land art and environment installations.

So here I am, I have to deal for the first time with a site-specific installation

Title: "Koi carp is not a rainbow fish"

The place I've chosen to make my installation is the "parco Ittico" (fish park), a park dedicated to fishes species. In the park there are artificial rivers where several fish specie are located. On the rivers there are bridges, to pass from one side to the other, and observatory windows under the ground level that allow to see the fishes from behind the water level.
I know well this park because I work here as environmental guide, I teach to children about fish ecology and biology.
When, during the park tour, I bring children to see the Koi carps, they always sentence "ohhh the rainbow fish!", because they are colorful.
This sentence gave me the idea for my installation.

I decided to make something on the carp bridge. But what? I wanted something that could remember the rainbow and at a time it had to be related to childhood. I thought it could be a nice idea to use what I can have in hands being a guide, so I went to our materials room and I looked for something.
I came up with balloons and a rope.

I choose the balloons in the rainbow colours and inflated them with water. Then I hung my baloon rainbow to the carp river.

To take photos with the carps, and enhance the contrast between the childish artificial material and the living fish, I attracted the animals throwing their food right under the balloons.

Who knows what this carp has thought about my art? :p


Happy Dance for Floral Symphony

by Orkaloca June 14 art * Art Quilt * quilter life * show

Since when I started to make patchwork, quilts and shows, my great ambition has been to have a quilt accepted in Houston show, in the contest or in one of the special exhibits.

I made it :)))

There's an annual special exhibit named "in full bloom". Since it's in memory of a flower lover, the quilts has to be with flowers.
I tried last year to submit a quilt but it wasn't accepted.

But this year I have been selected and my quilt  "Floral Symphony" will be one of the 32 chosen to be part of the exhibit.
Inauguration will be in october, then the exhibit will travel for une year.

And now here it is, a photo and a detail of my quilt :)
I made it last year for the Birmingham quilt show, and now it will go overseas... I have to makeit  a millemiglia card :p


Reviewing my past work

by Orkaloca September 27 art

What can an artist learn by looking at past works? We struggle to find our voice but what if we have a voice that wispers and we don't hear it?
May be a look at the past works can help.

So today I've made a nice thing, I've printed my past original quilts, some more artistic other less, I've cut them and placed on the floor. I've obtained a small quilt collection. (click on pic to enlarge)

This is a mix of totally free quilts and quilts for shows or challenges with specific rules so for some of them I've had to adapt my ideas.

Looking at this photo I see the confirmation of what I already knew: I LOVE circles and spirals. Whenever I can I make a circle quilt, wherever I can I pur circles, rings, mandalas and spyrals. Not always in the main design, sometimes only in the quilting motif.

In the above photo there are 43 quilts and only 9 of them doesn't have some sort of circles or spyrals, and all the 9 were quilts with some restriction due to the challenge or entry form rules.

Looking at my past works I can see that also if violet and purple are my favourite colours, are not the most used. It seems that blue/green are predominant.
And also if I'm happy when I use warm colours, the predominance is of cool colours.
Another thing about colours: I LOVE bright colours with black background or frame.

About techniques I see how I moved from classic applique techniques to dyed, marbled or painted wholeclothes.

About meanings, I use to make not too much complex quilts but to me it's important that a quilt has a deep meaning, may be also a multi-layered meaning.
I'm not too much pictorial, I prefer abstractions and "not too real" style, like fragmented, cubist and snippet.
On the other side in the 2 quilts with naked bodyes and the one with chrocus and chanterelles I've looked to reach a really realistic effect.

Of the above quilts there's one I don't like, the purple one with the hands on top center. I've put toghether lot of things I like but the results make me think "what the hell I was thinking about?"

In my past production  there are small series, like the 2 white/green circles (serie about abuse of man on nature), the 2 black/white circles (titled Adamo and Eva, more a diptych than a serie, a reflection about masculine and feminine being) and the 3 black-framed circles (a serie about the colours of my moods related with a mandala an animal and a goddess).

Then there are the two quilts with the naked man and woman. They are different in shape and construction but they are similar in technique and both their meaning is about the human nature (the man is a representation of pride sin, the woman is a representation of the illusions and fears that have influence on a person's life).

Another diptych is the one made by 2 small quilts with black background and galaxy+comet or egg+sperm cells. These two pieces are based on two Haiku I wrote about "beginnings" (in the photo on right-center)

The most long serie I've made is made of 6 small framed quilts in green/blue with applied shells (in the photo on top left), I made this just for fun.

It seems that I'm sort of DiptychQueen :p
May I take one of my small series and make it grow?
Should I make one serie grow?
Do I WANT to use one of these series as starting point?


Or to better say, yes I know :p
The answer is NO!

I'm happy with my short series, I feel that they are complete con couples, the only one I've ever thought to add some more elements are the naked bodies quilts.
But the naked bodies needs a great and hard conceptual work and I don't think I want to make a so hard work for the "work in series" course. I want to save my energies to understand and study the concepts behind the course, don't use them to design a new conceptual, deep meaning, quilt.

I think I'll try something totally new this time, just for the course. :)
Ok but... what? Let's think about it :)