Sunday, April 02, 2017

Member Spotlight: Cinzia Allocca

We are back with another Member Spotlight!  This month, we give you the co-founder of the Montreal MQG: Cinzia.

Your social media coordinates (blog/website, Facebook, Instagram, etc): 

IG: @2psquilts

What did you study in school and/or what do you do for a day job?     

I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and worked as an educator in a daycare for several years (I also like to say that I have a ‘secondary’ degree in art as I took as many art classes as I could throughout my school years).

For just over a year now, I have been working for Camelot Fabrics in merchandising and product development.

How long have you been quilting?    

I made my first quilt about 19yrs ago, by copying a store bought one. I had some sewing experience and decided to try making a quilt. A couple years after that, I took a quilting class at a LQS.

What first got you interested in modern quilting?    

Like most people, I suppose I first ‘discovered’ it online through blogs and flickr.  It was refreshing to see quilts made with fresh colors, clean, minimalist looks, and improv (and SOLIDS!!! Which I first saw on Discovering improv gave me the permission to do things my way. It allowed me to make something that was completely my own. It’s not just the ‘making’ part that I like about quilting. To me this is just my medium of choice through which I explore my creative ideas. I love the freedom.

How did you find the MMQG and why did you decide to join?

Josee and I ‘met’ online and we were both looking for a local group of modern quilters. Since there wasn’t one, we decided to start a guild. What really gave me the push to do so was the announcement by the MQG about the first Quiltcon. I knew then that this was going to be more than a trend and I wanted to be a part of it. It’s one of the best things I ever did! I love my peeps!

Whose techniques/style/philosophy do you most admire in the modern quilting community?  

My favorites are Gwen Marston, Sherri Lynn  Wood, the Gees Bend Quilters

Where do you look for inspiration or ideas for your quilting projects?    

Lately I have been very interested in modern, abstract and minimalist art. I am currently crushing on the work of Paul Kremer (@paulkremer if you wish to follow him). He is Texas-based painter. He plays a lot with bold shapes and colors and negative space.

What is your favorite project that you have completed? Why is it your favorite?    

My favorite is usually the last big project I’ve completed. My current favorite is “Finding Harmony”. It’s one of those rare projects that I’ve enjoyed making every single step of the way. It holds a lot of meaning for me. My quilts are like my journal through which I work out my innermost thoughts and feelings. I worked through a lot with this one.

What would you consider to be your quilting ‘superpower’?    

Binding!!! I love making and applying it. I can hand sew a pretty good and fast invisible stitch! I find it very relaxing.

And I can thread and knot 25 needles in 6min.44seconds. Anyone want to challenge me?

What is your favorite part of the quilt making process? Why?   

I love starting something new. The best is when inspiration strikes suddenly and I happen to have a couple of free hours to get it going and things start to flow freely. There always comes a point where I start to struggle/question where I’m going, but I’ve learned to push through. 

What project or technique is next on your “to try” list?   

I am currently working on a series of small abstract quilts. A series is something that I have been wanting to try for a long time – to explore a single technique/style/color scheme through many works. In my series, I am delving into my improv strip-piecing technique. I want to see how far I can take it. 
I have also always want to make a large whole cloth quilt. All hand quilted of course. 

What is the best quilting tip or technique you’ve discovered?     

Don’t worry about perfection. Especially when learning something new. Just do. Over and over again, and you will get better.  I promise! 

What is the best bit of quilting advice you’ve ever received?     

Do it because you enjoy it! I decided to ‘give-up’ machine quilting large quilts because I just didn’t enjoy it. But not before I gave it a good chance. 

And the second is to slow-down! When we are constantly on social media seeing what everyone is making, we are under the illusion that everyone is more productive than we are and that we somehow need to keep up. I’ve learned that I would rather make less but more meaningful pieces. It gives me the chance to be more intentional with what I make and have a closer connection to my work. Most of us are doing this as a hobby anyway, so what are we trying to keep up with anyway? 

I try to apply this to my life in general too – Simplify, simplify, simplifly (or maybe I should say “Play, Explore, Edit” see next question). 

Recommended reading/viewing: 
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (written by Greg McKeown)
  • The Art of Stillness : TED TALK by Pico Iyer
  • The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (yes, she is a little, shall we say ‘out there’, but she makes some really good points). Get rid of stuff!!!  Unclutter your space, your mind your soul!!! 
Describe your creative process in three words:  

Playing, exploring, editing. 

Describe/share pictures of your creative space:

I recently moved into a new home, and although this home is smaller than my old one, I have the basement all to myself! It did take awhile to get accustomed to a new space. I found that, as it has a different layout than what I was used to, my flow was interrupted.

Sewing Station

My cutting table is an old drafting table that I scored at a garage sale. Pegboards are great for organizing tools/notions!

I couldn’t live without my design wall. It’s where I audition all my ideas!
I have a desk area where I work on my laptop. A radio for good music! Can’t live without it!
I love that I have room to keep my large quilting frame assembled at all times. I can switch from machine work to hand quilting as the mood strikes. And, yes, I have been known to sneak in a power nap in my little corner there!
I feel blessed to have this space and the time (however limited it seems sometimes) to pursue my passion. Thank you for letting me share it! 

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