"I have made things with my hands since my childhood so I consider myself a maker. My grandmother Victoria encouraged me to keep making and so I did. My inclination to teach led me to pursue a degree which I use to this day, pioneering quilting in my beautiful and colorful homeland, Italy. As a child, I was fascinated by the magic that happened when skillful hands took something shapeless and turned it into a beautiful, useful item using what would become my favorite tool: the sewing machine.
I learned about Patchwork while visiting the Amish Country in Pennsylvania, a new bride in a new country. A beautiful Log Cabin quilt, orange and avocado green (those were the days!) caught my attention and I told my husband 'I want to do that!'.
"Looking back over forty years, it is difficult to sum up my quilting life story. I invested in training with top international quilt artists to gain in-depth knowledge of quilting styles. Subsequently, I was instrumental in founding the Italian national guild plus several local ones, serving on their committees for years.
I am a freelance quilting instructor in Italy and beyond, and an influencer and advisor in my country. I have written four books on quilting in Italian plus numerous articles for Italian quilting magazines. I also collaborate with market leaders in fabric, tools, thread and sewing machines in Italy and abroad. I am a firm believer that we should use the best that our budget allows, even if it is limited.
Images: Mellieha Hills
"I have tapped into all styles of quilting, from Traditional to Modern. My quilts have been exhibited in Italy and internationally and I held a solo in a Venetian villa. Together with a friend, I design and run Italian 'sewalongs' aimed at teaching the principles of modern quilting.
I often run charity projects. Dearest to my heart are 'Mille Colori per i Bimbi d’Abruzzo' and 'Mille Colori per i Bimbi d’Emilia' ('A Thousand Colors for the Children of Abruzzo and Emilia': Italian regions severely hit by earthquakes in 2009 and 2013). Six hundred quilts were made and donated by Italian and international quilters. My husband Vincent, a church pastor, and I distributed them to local children. Donating my own and other generous quilters' handiwork is a source of sheer joy!
Images: A Thousand Colors for the Children of Abruzzo and Emilia
"My pieces are made primarily for workshops and books. But occasionally I take an idea and turn it into a quilt that expresses my feelings, depicts a place I love or embodies a special moment. My work portrays my life story as it is woven into a great 'canvas'. I draw inspiration from tradition, nature, art, simple shapes or patterns from historical sites. I then develop my own design and color strategies, subjects of constant study.
Images: Sunrise in Mellieha, Gozo Lagoon
"Usually what draws me to make is fabric, beautiful fabric, and Oakshott is top of my list. Years ago, browsing the vendors' stalls at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, I stopped in front of Oakshott Fabrics. I was fascinated by the colors, the lustre, the unique combinations of warp and weft shades which give the fabric such depth and richness. I spent my entire fabric budget there and then! Ever since, I have sewn very special quilts with the large spectrum of colors they offer. Most of the time I do not mix them with other fabrics but when I do, I use beautiful, luscious prints by renowned designers.
Images: House in Malta, Sunrise in Mellieha
"The work we make tells a story: our story. My wish is that my story will last, speak of beauty and give joy to me and to the special recipients of my handiwork."