Interview with Tiziana Tateo

Italiano (Italian)

Tiziana Tateo

Tiziana Tateo is an esteemed Italian textile artist who has exhibited her works in Italy and abroad, in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Her works are part of public collections such as the Civic Collection of Fiber Art, Municipality of Chieri (To) Italy; the International Quilt Study Centre of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (USA); the Michigan State University Museum (USA) and numerous private collections.

Tiziana began to devote herself totally to Fiber Art in 1995, working and studying full time to perfect those artistic techniques that have always been cultivated as pastime and self-taught. As a textile artist she has always appreciated the process of experimenting with new techniques in order to discover new results and representative styles. Her love for colour and texture has led her to work with several types of media as paper, paint, fabric and plastic, which are usually the starting point for developing the themes and subjects of her works.

Follow the link to the artist’s website:


“In Fashion Mood”, 2017 copyright TizianaTateo

Tiziana, can you tell us something about your history as an artist, how you came to textile art and why?

Since I was very young I have preferred to dedicate my free time to stitching and embroidering rather than to other forms of recreation and games.

Later, when I had other commitments to fully occupy my life with, I always found time to cultivate and improve those skills just for sheer pleasure.

In 1993 I quit my job as a civil servant, and I worked full time to perfect my artistic techniques always cultivated as a pastime and as a self-educated person. I enrolled in three yearsart courses, held at the Town Hall of Milan, on techniques of textile, silk painting, batik, interior decoration. Meantime I met the Italian textile artist Marialuisa Sponga, who introduced me to free machine embroidery.I was so fascinated by the possibilities that textiles offered to express myself that I decided to improve the techniques of free embroidering and quilting and in the following years I totally devoted myself to Fiber Art.

In the meantime, I started collaborating with Italian textile-art-journals and qualified magazines to create projects that were later reproduced on textile.

I read many English and American textile books and studied for two years (2002 – 2003) a distance learning course online about machine embroidery held by famous English textile artist Maggie Grey.

The Quilting and Embroidery Award, which I received in 2002 in the Husqvarna Quilt Competition “Feel Free”for my artquilt “Repainting Boudin”, gave me the input to continue in my artistic journey.

In 2010 I graduated from Opus School of Textile Arts and Middlesex University in London

in Arts Embroidered Textiles (BA/Hons).

“Repainting Boudin”,2002, copyright TizianaTateo

“Repainting Boudin”,2002, copyright TizianaTateo

How important is the experimentation of techniques and materials in your works?

Experimenting with techniques is an integral part of my work. I have a full palette of textiles and nontextile techniques, and I work without defining boundaries. I print, cut, burn, testthe materials and sew all of them. The textile techniques I employ vary depending on the inspiration for the work, but they often involve stitching by hand or machine.

I have no favorite technique. It depends on the materials I have at hand, the content, and sometimes the mood of the moment.

I am intrigued by the rich surfaces and textures, which I can obtain from a process of manipulation and experimentation of materials and techniques. My research explores the expressive and symbolic potential of the materials and different techniques with the aim of conveying a strong visual impact to the viewer.


“Flowers and Champagne”, 2014 copyright Tiziana Tateo

Figurative art or abstract art? Which of these two forms of representation do you feel closest to and why?

Figures are common in my work because of the feelings, emotions and dialogue they convey. I think that like no other subject matter the figure has the ability to speak to the viewer in an extremely intimate manner.

In my work “La Pudeur”, the naked body half-covered with black tulle is meant to underline how our education has conditioned us and our inner freedom.

In “Inside and Ouside” the face is the visual display and surface of the manifestation of forms and colors that blends in all of us. The woman’s expression conveys the fear of being devoured by the advance of the colors, representing the vortex of the emotions.

“La Pudeur”, 2016, copyright Tiziana Tateo

“Inside and Outside”, 2012, copyright TizianaTateo

Are there artists or artistic currents that most influence your choices?

I am not influenced by specific artist or artistic currents.We live in a visual society, which gives us a variety of ideas and information that are often my starting point.Any idea can come from everywhere!

How has your work evolved in terms of style and expression? What are the differences between the first and the most recent works?

My methods and techniques have changed, developed and adapted over time. My primary passion for the sumptuousness of materials, without being dropped has nevertheless given space to a stricter planning and to a progressive deduction of mediums.

Differently from the past I am considering textiles not merely a medium, but a source of meanings, motivating me for working in a more conceptual way.

FOTO 8 Parliamone (2008)

“ Parliamone”, 2008 copyright Tiziana Tateo

Do you follow a scrupulous planning activity or do you let your instinct guide you?

My work is unplanned and evolves through a series of processes.

I work intuitively and spontaneously most of the time. Occasionally I do a very simple sketch, other times I just have an idea whirling around my head.

While I am working ideas overlap and change and it can happen for instance that initial cold colours become warm or empty spaces fill up.

“Flow of Consciousness”, 2012 copyright TizianaTateo

“Flowers Romance”, 2014 copyright TizianaTateo

Do you work in series? Why?

I have tried to make some works in a series, but that approach for me is too boring and the result is unsatisfactory.

I know that in art working in a series is almost a rule, but if you want to push the boundaries, as I like to do, every new work claims a new voice that for me is exciting!

I am aware I run the risk of being considered an artist without his own style, but my choice is to follow new paths. This is the reason because my works are often very different from one another.

To design and create your work, do you also use computer tools such as digital printing, photoshop…?

I have made some works using digital printed photos, like in my quilt “River Pearls” and “River Pearls #1”, where I used printed images, but it is not my preferred kind of work. It is becoming a little bit too widespread and I preferred to find more personal technique.

“ RiverPearls”, 2009 copyright Tiziana Tateo

“River Pearls #1”, 2014 copyright TizianaTateo

Do you prefer hand sewing, personal and intimate, or do you let yourself be seduced by the charm of the sewing machine and its technological potentiality?

I find exciting to use free motion machine embroidery and quilting because the creative potential is great, adding dimension and texture to the work. Moreover, I often find the need to add free hand stitching to give a stronger character to my work or simply for aesthetic purpose.Sometimes few hand stitches can be essential to acquire the desired structure of the work.

In a new work, do you start from the material, around which you then develop the idea of the subject, or do you start from the subject and then you choose techniques and materials?

If I am planning to participate to a textile art context I focus my attention simultaneously on the theme I have to interpret and, on the materials – textile and not textile -that I have at hand at the moment. Soon after,the manipulation of textile leads me to consider techniques and subject to work on, but always following my instinct. This means that what I had planned starting the work might be different before finishing it.

However, even the first step of my inspiration is very often the material, the subject that I have to develop, is at the same time on my mind.

“Arsenic and Old Lace”, 2013 copyright TizianaTateo

“ Because…We Are Icons”, 2016 copyright TizianaTateo

Is the technique or the idea more important? What do you think determines the perfect success of a work? When does creativity risk being suffocated by technique?

Mastering only techniques has its disadvantages because if the technique prevails the creativity becomes impoverished and the work loses appeal.

Today many artists make shocking works to get more attention, but often their works cannot be understood and are made with bad technical skills.

I think that the perfect success of the work lies in the right balance of technique and idea.

What are you working on right now? Do you want to tell us about your current textile projects?

At the moment I am dyeing, screen – printing and hand painting several types of fabrics, which I have collected in the last months.They will be waiting in my studio for my new idea that I hope will come soon!

“Life Bubbles”, 2012 copyright TizianaTateo

“Seeds”, 2015 copyright Tiziana Tateo

Maria Rosaria Roseo

English version Dopo una laurea in giurisprudenza e un’esperienza come coautrice di testi giuridici, ho scelto di dedicarmi all’attività di famiglia, che mi ha permesso di conciliare gli impegni lavorativi con quelli familiari di mamma. Nel 2013, per caso, ho conosciuto il quilting frequentando un corso. La passione per l’arte, soprattutto l’arte contemporanea, mi ha avvicinato sempre di più al settore dell’arte tessile che negli anni è diventata una vera e propria passione. Oggi dedico con entusiasmo parte del mio tempo al progetto di Emanuela D’Amico: ArteMorbida, grazie al quale, posso unire il piacere della scrittura al desiderio di contribuire, insieme a preziose collaborazioni, alla diffusione della conoscenza delle arti tessili e di raccontarne passato e presente attraverso gli occhi di alcuni dei più noti artisti tessili del panorama italiano e internazionale.