Many Moons

I finished Many Moons this week. It’s an assemblage of cut up quilts and outliers. Taken as a whole it speaks to my sense of the mysterious. The stitch work is intuitive, experimental and rowdy. Once again I am captivated by the way the back speaks a different language.

Yes, it feels done now.

Many Moons, Paula Kovarik

Many Moons, side 2, Paula Kovarik

Many Moons, detail, Paula Kovarik

Many Moons, detail 2, Paula Kovarik

Many Moons, detail back, Paula Kovarik

Many Moons, detail back 2, Paula Kovarik

many moons

I was not in a colorful mood. So this piece will linger on the boards for a while before I get back to it.

I came back from a number of trips last month with a swarm of images floating through my thoughts but no map to figure out how they go together. It was frustrating to feel so aimless. I looked around at the work that I had done prior to my trips and felt totally disconnected from them.

My friend Jeanne Seagle, a very talented artist here in Memphis said the following in an interview: “Make a lot of work. Put the good stuff in shows. Recognize the bad stuff, and put it in the closet. After a while maybe you can fix it. If not, you can still learn from it what not to do. Just don’t show it.“

After a few days and a number of puzzled thoughts I decided to be radical. I took out all of my older pieces lurking under the studio tables and made some judgements. Some still spoke to me about their intent and focus. Others did not. Some showed a learning curve in the stitching that no longer represents my work. Others were pieces that didn’t get done.

This piece never got done. It was an experiment with geometry and connections.

I chose a few and laid them out on the cutting board for some fun with rotary cutter.

Fun with my rotary cutter. No piece is sacred.

This piece, called Keeping up with the Dow Jones, was done in 2009. I’m over it.

Just that act of cutting up several pieces into 2.5” squares was a release from the aimlessness. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with it but I knew it was the right step. Catharsis. Resolve…and a little panic.

After some mix and matching, twisting and turning I finally came up with a composition that seemed to hold together. I stitched the squares onto a canvas backing. All 420 of them.

And now the fun begins. My goal as an artist is to channel what is invisible into the visible. The work I do is intuitive and exploratory. I’m never quite sure what will result with a piece like this. I just know that I am channeling lots of different emotions and thoughts. Beauty, complexity, doubt, anger, worry, whimsy, calm and depth. They are all in there. The layering of stitch and fabric brings out the best (and worst) of me.

I’m going to call it Many Moons. Because that’s how long it will take to finish it and because its taken me many moons to get to this stage in my work.

stall

I travelled a lot in October. I soaked up inspirations at museums, in class at Arrowmont and while teaching and gathering with friends. It was a long time away from the studio.

During that time I brought my Bernina to our local dealer for maintenance. So my main machine is missing in action. It takes my dealer 5 WEEKS to finish the maintenance. 5 WEEKS. How crazy is that? And, unfortunately for us in Memphis there is no valid alternative at this time. I have 2 weeks to go before I get it back.

 This hole in my table normally houses a Bernina 740.

This hole in my table normally houses a Bernina 740.

Then, upon my return I decided to reconfigure a few things with the help of my very wonderful husband. He is helping me install more design wall space which meant that the current space was disassembled and piled onto the work tables. The place is a mess.

 Styrofoam insulation board and felt will give me a space of about 7 x 14 feet to play with. Then with a roller track above the wall another 8 x 8 space in two panels that will move side to side. Space, glorious space.

Styrofoam insulation board and felt will give me a space of about 7 x 14 feet to play with. Then with a roller track above the wall another 8 x 8 space in two panels that will move side to side. Space, glorious space.

I am at sea

untethered

wondering

stasis4_2018.jpg
stasis_2018.jpg

Squirrel!

You know how mild-mannered dogs quickly become pogo sticks when a squirrel hops by? That’s how I felt this past week. Oooh! look at that! Oh my! Look at this! Squirrel! Bear! Food!

Mozart, Hendrix, Simon, Florence and the Machine. I listened to a music mix on the way home from Arrowmont as a way to mirror what my brain was doing. Mitchell, Dylan, Rice, Morissette, Danny the Dog, Cohen, Young, Chopin, Sieber, Gabriel, Bowie, Einaudi, Glass, Hunger. I am a creature of variety. And surprise. And drama, and delight.

 The workshops at Arrowmont give each artist ample space to work and display their stitching.

The workshops at Arrowmont give each artist ample space to work and display their stitching.

Drama and delight. That’s what my students brought to me. Their fearlessness and sense of humor gave us all a chance to laugh, contemplate, and compare our thoughts. The group was as diverse as the music I listened to on the way home.

Thank you, Arrowmont for the opportunity to teach these talented stitchers. And thank you Holly, Sam, Cindy, Jane, Carlie, Martha, Ellen, Katie, Sharon, Linda, Lynn, Claire, Alex, and Holly for sharing your insights, your struggle and your stick-to-it-tive-ness with the class. We filled the walls with inspiration.

 Stitching begins with drawing. Not difficult drawing, just simple lines that talk.

Stitching begins with drawing. Not difficult drawing, just simple lines that talk.

Here are some of the experiments we tried this past week.

Davis, Coltrane, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Sinatra, Stones, Hooker, Dead can Dance, Cline, Piaf, Pavarotti, Bono, Morrison, Lamb, Rachmaninoff, Gerrard, Calexico and by all means….Waits.

World of Threads festival

The work travels. I pack it up, seal the box and do a little safety dance when I drop it off at the shipping center. It seems odd to part with them for any length of time. But I like the idea that more people will see them. They have a life of their own.

Signals, 37” x 29”, Paula Kovarik

I have six pieces in the World of Threads Festival, a contemporary fibre and textile art exhibit that opens this month in Canada. The festival features 303 artworks by 65 artists from Canada, Denmark, England, Hungary, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Russia and the USA. I was chosen as one of the artists with a solo show in the corridor galleries. I won’t be able to attend the opening but I will see the show in November.

Everything I know about this show makes it a must see event. There are major installations, intimate threadwork pieces, cutting edge quilts and other eye-opening fiber works. If you are anywhere near Oakville (a short drive from Toronto) please plan on attending. Click here to learn more about it.

Or choose this link to download a complete brochure.

Opening day: Sat. Oct. 20, 2018 1:00 – 3:30 pm.

World of Threads Festival

Queen Elizabeth Park Community
& Cultural Centre
2302 Bridge Road Oakville, Ontario, Canada.  

Dates: Sat. Oct. 13 - Sun. Nov. 25, 2018
Hours: Mon. – Sat. 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.  Sun. 12:00 – 5:00 pm
Admission: FREE

For an up close and personal look at the pieces shown here go to Oakville. Maybe I’ll see you there in November.

Unglued, 40” x 18”, Paula Kovarik

Focus on Something Else, 32” x 32”, Paula Kovarik

Chaos Ensues, 32” x 32”, Paula Kovarik