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.


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 :)


Rosso Mimma a Veldhoven

by Orkaloca May 5 show

In diretta da Veldhoven, son qui in come rappresentante internazionale di QuiltItalia, per parlare a chiunque della nostra collezione, il Rosso Mimma. 

Dopo l'esordio a Vicenza siam riuscite a portare Mimma e i quilt a lei dedicati all'estero, e io mi son premurata perché tutti comprendessero chi fosse lei e perché fosse importante la collezione.

Collezione che ha riscosso grande successo, gente allibita davanti all'abilità delle italiane, gente che ha detto di aver ammirato lo stile italiano che si differenzia dagli altri e che ha apprezzato la storia dietro i lavori.

Ecco qui parte dei i quilt, appesi come si usa ora, al soffitto, visibili da entrambi i lati. Bellissimi. (Non riesco a caricare le altre foto sigh)


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 ^_*


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


Two exhibits

by Orkaloca October 17 art * show * ispirazioni

Last week I went at Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) that is a building next to the Duomo in Milan, which serves as a venue for exhibitions and for civil marriages.
I went there for a wedding but since I was there I decided to visit two exhibitions:)

The first exhibit (ended on October 16) was:
The sign and the spirit - multiple furniture, sculptures and jewelry by Gabriella Crespi

I leave you the fun of find details about her, I say only that she was a well-known designer and artist of Milan in the 60s and 80s.
In his works are almost a constant curves, that you can find in a whole range of furniture dedicated to the moon. Crespi made also ​​a number of animals whose body is composed of ostrich eggs or crystal eggs.
And where there are no curves there are, shiny surfaces, metal and gold.

In his furniture I liked most this stool composed by segments that are opened or closed to form a moon.
I like the curvy line of the single slice and I like the curved shape formed by all segments when they are open. I find it very elegant and harmonious, and find great the color alternation of silver and gray. There is also a red/silver version but not so elegant in my opinion. (Eclipse - 1980 - pictures from the web)

Gabriella Crespi has also produced a series of jewelry and a table set with the technique of lost-wax casting.
In this technique an object is carved in wax, embedded into a matrix and then the melted metal replaces the wax.
What struck me is that often the form of wax, replaced by the metal, is not a real sculpture but seems to be one of those melted wax drops that naturally forms on candles.
Now, I don't know if the Crespi has crafted a form similar to a natural wax flow or whether she simply took the natural wax drops, but I personally find it much more brilliant if she used for her purpose a natural flows, not recreated.
Perhaps for the beauty of the natural things.

Following a table, the table set and a collection of objects in lost-wax casting (images from the web)

I was fascinated and impressed by this butterfly necklace. Once again, the technique is that of lost-wax casting.  I feel that the heavy looking of the metal is balanced by all those spaces in the wings that transmit grace, lightness ... I almost expect the butterfly to take a flight at any moment.


The second exhibit was after this and it was:
Inter/Vallum - monographic bt Roberto Ciaccio (until November 20, 2011)

This monograph consists of works on paper and large metal plates, arranged in the "hall of caryatids" of the royal palace, an hall that I've never seen before.
A room whose beauty is matched only by the very poor state of repair, unfortunately. And for me, just returned from England, where historical and cultural buildings are immaculately kept, was inpossible not to compare the two realities.

But leaving out the room, the exhibit fascinated me. The works are touches of color, rarely light colours, on metal and paper. The colours where all dark, deep, with a metallic effect given ​​by the support.
I was fascinated by combinations of blue and purple or dark red, and a serie of 3 works apparently identical except for the placement of a certain color shape. (photo from the web)

Unfortunately in the historic buildings there is always a problem: light.
So here very dark
works were exposed in a room with a very poor light. Of course, the exposure would not have made the same effect under bright lights, but the light was, in my opinion, really below the minimum level needed to enhance both atmosphere and works.

Installation included also metal plates layed on the floor, but sadly I didn't understood if it was an interactive installation (like in "walk on them") or not. I've avoided, just to be sure. Judging from the footprints others have not. Mah
I understand that sometimes the interpretation of art is left to the observer, but sometimes a little explanation (like in "you can walk on plates") could allow the viewer a full enjoyment of the artpiece, thinking and observing only at the work itself, not thinking only "could I walk on it? yes? no? someone else did... why?" and so on.

Anyway it still was a very beautiful exhibit, and I walked away full of ideas and feelings and inspirations.
If you want here's the link to the artist's website: Roberto Ciaccio

At the next show ^_^


Of the live fears and death illusions

by Orkaloca October 10 art * Art Quilt * show

In this post I want to tell you about the birth of the quilt I've made for the Bergamo show "quilters in wonderland" hosted by DireFareQuiltare and held during the Creattiva fair (october 2011)

First of all the theme... in the call for entries was stated: "The journey of Alice in Wonderland is a fantastic journey that brings us back to our childhood. A journey into a wonderland where there are so many fantastic characters, but also a psychological journey on the growth phase of each of us. in Wonderland we meet our fears, our hardships, the difficulties that each of us has had to overcome to "grow". Follow the white rabbit in its burrow, take a look on this world to discover ourselves. "

As you can see there were lot of ways to interpret the theme: literally or introspectively
And since I swim in the introspective like a fish in its pond I immediately set aside the figure of the beautiful blonde girl to look at my path of growth, my fantasy world, my fears.
(and then think... the Wonderland is not so wonderful, Alice is for most of the time alone, lost, scared, sad, and doesn't understand what happens. At the end there is also a mad woman that wants to decapitate her. Oh what a joy!)

So this is how this quilt was born. Its title is "Of the live fears and death illusions"

To design this quilt I started by the naked pregnant woman. Before I drew the outline, building at first a sketch of the skeleton and then "mounting" on it the muscles. To know anatomy helps a lot in the construction of the human figure.

I then built the Notan, that is a study in black and white of lights and shadows. This helps to distribute the colors, as in the second test done in pencil.
After performing the test with pencil on paper I copyed the figure on lilac hand-dyed cotton and I reproduced the shades of colour with lilac paintstick and a sponge. The details were outlined with the Inktense purple pencil.
Here are the three phases: Notan - pencil - fabric. Click on images to enlarge.


Done the woman I went on drawing the background. I made the design on the freezer paper and then ironed it on the front of the background fabric.

Then came the "difficult" part: color the whole thing using the drawing as a large mask from which cut off pieces to color (still paintstick and sponge) the fabric. The pieces are then masked again to protect them against the next color.
There are mainly two difficulties, one technical and one conceptual:
- Cut the freezer paper without cutting the fabric below
- Since each section is uncovered, coloured and then covered again, you cannot see the finished work till the very end. This means that you must already have in mind a definite idea of ​​colors to be applied: which and where. In short, you must have in mind a clear vision of the finished work and of what has been already done to avoid missing pieces.

Here is a picture of the work during construction. I only unmasked the three flowers I was coloring, notice how all the other pieces already colored are covered under the freezer paper. This is to avoid stains and smudges. It's a job that requires great precision.

After the entire background had been coloured came the good part, you can peel off the whole freezer paper and finally, for the first time, the full background is visible. Therea re still white areas where I was going to paint killer whales (with the same techniques but in a smaller scale) and where I was going to applique the woman.

Here are two details on the finished work. You can see the colour shades and the quilting that outlines shapes and fill the background.


I love this quilt, another one that reflects my soul. I'm happy it has been appreciated, also if it didn't earned an award. :)

(oh and no, I'm not pregnant ^_*)


Mudra and mantra in Tahiland

by orkaloca July 12 creazioni * Art Quilt * show

Last month I had several difficoulties making the quilt for this month judged show. The quilt gave me lot of life lessons but zero satisfation. That's ok I guess.
Now that the show is over (and this time I haven't won, but I was prepared) I can show you the quilt, but I suggest that before you read the post about the difficoulties I've had doing it. You can find it HERE

Ok now I can explain my quilt :)

First of all the show theme was "scent of orient" so I've decided to take inspiration from Tahiland, a place that I find really fascinating.
Tahi dancers wears metal finger tips to give to the hands a long and sharp shape. I like this kind of adornment so I've made them a focal point.

To do the hands I've designed them on paper, then I've painted them with paintstick on a piece of hand-dyed cotton.
Metal tips are made with gold-foil coated fabric. Both hands and tips are hand appliqued on the background.

Hands position is not random. Psitions are mudra, specific position of hands and body that, in the oriental culture, are believed to balance energies and attract good things.

Another focal point is the hole, that has refined edges and an organza flag, like a prayer flag, with a mantra printed on it.

Mantra are phrases that are repeated several times like pray. I've chosen the White Tara Mantra, written in sanskrit. It sounds wonderful.

About background I've done a batik with flowers and medallions inspired to the Thai architechture.
Flowers are painted with acrylics, the purple is a dye thickened with alginate.

Finally the quilting phase. I've done a simple feathers desing in red with some pink flowers here and there.

Final effect is this:

Composition seems to be unbalanced, too much heavy on top. I've decided to do it this way and like it but I understand it can be annoying for some observers.
I've thought also to put something on the left of the hands, I don't like too much that purple "hole" but then I've done nothing to don't make the quilt too full and messy. Anyway I?m still convinced it would benefit from a little addiction in that point.

This quilt speaks me a lot but I think it's too much personal so it speacks only to me eheh.

Anyway the process has been a nice and instructive adventure. And now... let's work on the next :)


Rossano 2011

At the end of May I entered a quilt in this year quilt show in Rossano. The theme is "scent of orient".
Two days ago I received THE CALL. My quilt has been selected to be part of the show.
Today I've sent the quilt, via TNT, so now it is on its route to the other end of Italy.

But let me talk about this contest, what it has taught to me. Because it taught me lot of lessons. 

Lesson 1: Inspiration law
If you have to make a contemporary quilt, you only will have traditional quilt ideas.
This contest is held in two years. 2011 for contemporary quilts, 2012 for traditional ones. This is why I had to make a contemporary quilt, that usually is my in my comfort zone.
Instead this time the more I thought about contemporary quilts, the more traditional ideas I had. All good for next year, ok, but to find an idea for this year was a challenge. 
I've learnt to not give for granted my comfort zone.

Lesson 2: A contest is like a book, don't judge it by title.
When I read the title I said "COOL" and I didn't think twice, I submitted the subscription form.
Then the tragedy... to find a significant theme. At least for me. I'm not able to sew random things on a fabric and then give it a title that will fit the contest. 
I need to have a concept, and idea, in my mind. My work became to put in a visual form an abstract idea.
And this time I've found myself in trouble, maybe because I've never lived Orient too much and what I've lived I want to keep for me. 
I've learnt the deep meaning of the motto "Speak (write/paint/quilt/etc) only what you know".
And I've learnt that the fact I like a theme doesn't mean that I have something profound to say about it. 

Lesson 3: Banal idea decays quickly
I try to say something with my quilt, and is better if this something is also true. Banal ideas have short life with me. 
This is why for this contest I developed 3 (I say THREE) ideas, with project, design, colour tests and so on. 
I developed them one after the other and one after the other I've discarded them after few days of love.
I've discarded them because they where born for the public not for me. To be pleased by others not me. 
The last idea went beyond the project step because there was no more time to change idea and because it was the most personal concept I had. It speaks about me.
So I've learnt that is useless to waste time planning ideas that I do not feel "right" just because they theoretically could meet people favor.

Lesson 4: Murphy docet - if anything can go wrong it will
The birth of this quilt was turbulent. Everything that could go wrong did.
Acrylics, which in theory should not wash away (and never did in my experience) were scraped after the rinse. (mea culpa, I was convinced I had prewashed the fabric when I bought it.Clearly I didn't so in some places acrylics didn't cling to the fabric due to the sizing)
There are 3 medallions that had to be aligned... but one of the three is slightly higher than the others... and I've forgot a little leaf in it. -_-
I've chosen the two colors of the quilting thread and tested it on a piece of background fabric. It was nice, but then on the full quilt the effect was really different, too much visibile one, too much invisible the other.
And obviously the thread finished on sunday afternoon when shops are closed and no-one open till monday afternoon. The same monday was the last day to send quilt photos. S
What I've learnt:
- Never start a quilt with less than 400mt of thread.
- Doesn't matter how many tests you do, the effect on bigger size will be different.
- The most tried techniques will be an epic fail on the most important quilt.
- Never give for granted to have washed the fabric. If in doubt... wash it again! If not in doubt... WASH IT AGAIN!
And above all: In our mind we imagine an idea so perfect that we simply can't materialize and everything we will do it will never be exactly like the idea in our mind. The smaller imperfection will seem a tragedy

Lesson 5: every cloud has a silver lining
Reading the previous point you could think my quilt is a total disaster. At the first hitch I've thought so (for the theory of the idealization of the progect).
But then something happened. Going on with the work, one hitch after the other, I've found myself slowly getting to know my quilt.
And appreciating it for what it is.
Imperfect painting? It gives a sort of vintage, ancient, feeling that is perfect for the quilt and its theme. 
Too much and too little visible quilting thread? You can notice this only if you look at it from really near, a couple of step backward and you will see a nice marbled background that is decorative without being intrusive.
And the not well aligned medallion without a leaf? Well this is he only real imperfection and you all know what Amish says ^_* And really I like also this imperfection.
So I've learnt that sometimes an hitch doesn't ruin the idea, instead it can improve the idea. But to see this improvements one has to shut up the inner voice that remember us the too-much-perfect idea in our mind.
This is not always easy.
Moreover I've learnt that sometimes an imperfection doesn't ruin the project, it gives the quilt something interesting. Sometimes nobody see the imperfection if you don't point at it
And you can play "find the error" with friends :p (I've done this game with some people and no one found the imperfection :p)

Now the quilt is on its way, it will be on show, with the other quilts of the contest, on July, from 1st to 7th, at Torre St.Angelo in Rossano (ITALY), and I can0t show you photos till after the show.

There are great quilters and sincerly, since I'm objective, I don't think to have great chance to be a winner this year.
But I've learnt so much that this is a little personal vittory on my perfectionist side.

And then who knows, may be jusge will like it. :)
You know I'm too much self-critic :p