The 6th International Italia Invita Forum of Textile Creativity was held in Parma, Italy from 10-12 May. I was lucky enough to be there for the whole three days. This is the first in a series of posts on what I saw there.
At one level Italia Invita is a Quilt and Craft Fair with suppliers from Italy, France, Spain and Germany. What makes it so much more than this is the fact many regional associations, specialist museums and Italian needlework schools have booths showcasing their traditional needlework and collections.
There were also two competitions with entries from Italy and some featured artists and displays. It covered two pavilions and was sensory overload and just wonderful.
Noriko Endo, a Japanese quilter, was a featured artist at Italia Invita. There were four of her works on display in an alcove in the first pavilion.
This display was not curated and so the only information available were the names of her quilts. In the end this turned out to be a positive as it meant I could look at her work in an unfettered way – without preconceptions about her technique, history or context in the quilting world.
…. and this is the first thing you saw as you walked through the turnstiles:
her quilt, Cherry Blossoms #3.
This quilt has a luminous quality which drew a continuous stream of people to it. It captures the intensity and exuberance of Spring but there’s also delicacy, restraint and stillness. Here’s a closer look:
The sakura or cherry blossom has a depth created by a layering of the flowers. There were also areas of colour in the surrounding space that suggested blunt brush strokes.
Here’s another of the quilts on display Sylvan Ambience
All four quilts were very thin. Looking at them closely (there were no rope barriers) suggested a painted surface which had then been densely covered in free motion quilting for texture. Machine embroidery usually in metallic threads was added to highlight features such as the tree trunks in the following details of birds in the quilt Guest Appearance
The painterly quality of the quilts turned out to be an illusion. When I came back to Canberra I did some research and discovered that Noriko Endo invented a quilting technique called Confetti Naturescapes. As the name suggests she creates the picture by cutting fabric into small pieces (some as small as matchsticks) or shapes (the cherry blossom flowers) and then laying these out in the elements of the image. These are overlaid with tulle and quilted. Several layers are built up to create the colour and complexity of the scenes in her quilts.
The fourth quilt in the Italia Invita show was a tour de force called Peony:
It had the added graphic element of the tree trunk and peonies in the foreground against the rich background of the raked stone garden and forest. The effect created was almost three dimensional. Peonies brought back memories of Kyoto and early morning visits to the stone garden of Ryoan-ji.
If you want to see more of her quilts Noriko Endo has a website with an extensive gallery.
She’s also published a book
which thanks to Jan H will soon be in the Guild’s library.
And while we’re on the subject of things Italian…..
Jeanine of the Italian Needlework blog has recently written about Valentina Sardu and her blackwork designs. If you’ve been looking for a fresh take on blackwork then it’s worth checking out Jeanine’s post and her link to Valentina’s on line shop.