Quilts=Art=Quilts opens on Saturday

Two for the price of one! The opening reception of Quilts=Art=Quilts and American Quilts: History and Art is on Saturday this week at the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. My piece,  Incoming, will be showing in Q=A=Q along with works by 51 artists from across the world. The American Quilts: History and Art exhibit features historical quilts from the collection of the International Quilt Studies Center & Museum in Nebraska.

If you are in the Auburn area it is a great opportunity to see some of the best contemporary quilt art being done today.

Incoming will be showing at the Schweinfurth Art Center, 205 Genesee Street, Auburn, NY
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 29, 4 - 6 PM

The eyes have it

Google eye, Paula Kovarik

Sometimes you just have to stop and play. I've been thinking about animating the inanimate. Playing with stones and sticks and stains. What if they could all talk? or whisper or shout? What would they say about us? Could they give us insight on our confusion? Does standing still change life's boundaries? When rocks slide is it a party or a collapse? Do indelible stains mark a territory? If all objects had eyes would they choose to keep them closed to avoid watching our antics?

The google eye on the sidewalk prompted me to draw a crowd of eyes, as if everything around us is alive. This prompted me to think about cloth with eyes, clothes with eyes, quilts with eyes. So I designed a pattern.  Maybe I'll do one with mouths or ears or noses next. Or eyes with feet or eyes with hands or eyes with antennas.

Eyes drawing, Paula Kovarik

I think I want a scarf with eyes. Or a shirt with eyes.

Yes, sometimes you just have to play.

More than I want to count

How many decisions does it take?

I started a project about a month ago that included color. A great big pile of color all stitched up together. Rectangles nested, connected and spliced to create a whole. It is a process that demands patience, the power of arbitrary decision, and attention to detail. I can usually count on having two of three of those traits on any given day.

Decisions are endless, if I counted all the seams, snips and rearrangements I would have to seriously question my behavior. For example this little section took most of the morning to figure out. Which way should the red, white and gray composition attach to the orange white and gray section?

When I run out of patience I get distracted. Like: How cool are these wispy thread ends on the back of the piece? They seem to be blowing in the wind, or tangled with an inner confusion. And then I start studying the trimmings. Looking for the answer in chaos.

Stitching scraps together brings new meaning to the whole.

Leftovers reflect the effort of the choices I made.

And now I've turned the whole thing to the back so that I can study that for a while.

I started this piece with no clear goal. I vaguely wanted to create a playground for stitch. Something I could hop, skip and rollerskate over with my thread. And now I'm not so sure. I'll have to take some time to think about it some more, I'll have to find the patience to make some more decisions.

connections to the past

I've been thinking about time passing in a whirl, without a governor switch. Life in the fast lane — even though this is supposed to be the languid, restful stage of life. Contemplative, serene and insightful.

No doubt about it, I am an adult. Can't confuse that fringe of dark hair at the back of my head for youth and vigor. It's just a fringe of memory now. I used to be able to dance into the early morning hours, now I am tired at nine. I used to wear mini-skirts, now I focus on floaty body covering clothes. Some memories are questionable, some persistent, some are life-affirming.

The back of my head reminds me that today is bolstered by the memories of yesterday.

So all of a sudden I am over 60. Yesterday I was 35. Can these feelings of flight and avoidance be part of aging?

Trimming my memories to highlights gives the glitter of life a balance to the darkness.

Now I am more concerned about legacy. About mistakes. About environment. About authenticity. Pretty doesn't do it for me anymore. More stuff gives no solace. Nor does order or constraints. As a designer the constraints of budget, format and timing often dictated the solution. No longer. I can do whatever I want. And that can be a problem. (whining on mute for now). I must pursue this art with urgency. It is about connections. Plugging into the highlights while recognizing the base of the dark and mysterious.

Wired up for connections.

All the trimmings

I've been thinking about trimmings. The way we trim off the excess when we have to choose a new path. The way we add things to our meals and memories and collections. Trimmings are extras....extraneous or extraordinary. They are the side salad, appetizers and desserts. But they are also the leftovers, discarded and forgotten.

I save all the trimmings. There's a whole in there somewhere.

Collections show which extras I want to save.

There are two ways to think about trimmings — as additions or subtractions. In fiber art trimmings can be decorative edges or edited scraps—add-ons or take-aways.

My memory is a collection of trimmings. I don't know how my brain selects each bit. Do the memories come up by catalyst or do they float around waiting for a chance to surface? As we formulate our thoughts do we pick up little trimmings, put them together in new combinations and blurt? Or, is the whole just a leftover of the editing? And what about the new stuff we learn each day? Where does it all go in the stack?

Conversations are a collection of thoughts trimmed in emotion, logic and beliefs. The extraneous drones on and on, the extraordinary inspires and lingers. Bits and pieces stay with us, stored mysteriously in the heap of understanding.

Assembling a group of extras gives me a playground for stitch. This is a work-in-progress that started with two-inch strips sewn together and then cut into rectangles.

This medium gives me a perfect way to use trimmings. I can edit, add, and subtract. I linger with compositions that move forward, get stuck in cul de sacs and challenge my perception. I squint my eyes to see the final stack, tilting left and right to find the balance. Then I commit to negative and positive spaces that support or conflict with each other. Each shift of perspective tells a new story. Each scrap adds its own voice. I'll let it build until it tells me to stop. Then the fun begins—a new playground for stitch.