I grew up between Sardinia and Florence where I learned the first techniques of sewing and embroidery from my grandmother who was a professional seamstress. At the same time I spent many hours in Florence museums and churches in the company of my grandfather, last descendant of a family of Carrara marble sculpors. I graduated in 1983 from the University of Florence with a degree in mathematics. In 1984 I married and I moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts. I started quilting in 1986 as my interests gradually shifted from the traditional Italian embroidery crafts to the American patchwork. I learned the basic techniques of patchwork by reading specialized books and magazines, from the advices of my quilting friends and, most of all, by experimenting the “dos” and “dont’s” of the craft. After a few first projects based on traditional American patterns, such as the schoolhouse and the log-cabin, I became particularly interested in the “pictorial quilts” category, which I felt closer to my Italian cultural background. I began exploring in that direction by first attempting simple, linear, and quick projects, inspired by the places that I love most, which gradually evolved to more intricate and elaborate quilts, such as “Inside the Garden”, “Perusia”, “Almost Home”, and “Florentine Dance”.
In 1993 my quilting interests and the mathematical environment in which I was living merged into the large and double sided quilt “In a Mathematician’s Garden” based on Fermat’s Last Theorem, which by pure coincidence, was finished in the year and place of the solution (1995 in Princeton) by the English mathematician Wiles. It was on display at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. It is now in the permanent art collection of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In 2002 I was intrigued by the trapunto techniques of the oldest preserved quilts in the world, the two “coltri Guicciardini” in the Bargello Museum in Florence and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and I studied and used those same techniques for a wholecloth, white on white quilt “Fiorenza dentro da la cerchia antica”, a silk quilt inspired by the “Map of the Chain” of Florence and the Della Robbia flowers in the Basilica of Santa Trinita, Florence.
In 2007 I started my latest large size quilt project “Flowers of the Mind”, a triptych quilt in silk which I finished seven years later with the idea of connecting the beauty of the flowers painted by Gentile da Fabriano in the Pala Strozzi at the Uffizi Museum in Florence to the beauty of the theorems and open problems in Mathematics. The project was made possible partly thanks to the kind permission of the Uffizi Museum to photograph each of the 36 flower compositions in full detail. To my knowledge (and also according to the direction of the museum), no such complete photo documentation is known to be publicly available.
Since I started quilting, I have been living for a total of ten years in the United States, moving from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Princeton, New Jersey and Berkeley, California, plus a couple of years in other foreign countries, including Sweden, Israel, France and Japan. I am currently living in Castelli Romani, Italy.
My ongoing project “Windows on Immigration”, which I describe in the home page with patterns and instructions available in the “Progetto Finestre” menu, is to me an exciting project in which I am using a technique, cathedral windows, that I have used so many times, in a different way. I wish to use it to express my feelings towards immigration issues. I hope that many quilters will join the project so that by putting together all of them, we will be able to understand better the many faces of this complicated issue.