the fall

I love fall. The colors speak to me. They reverberate with spent energy and herald the coming darkness of winter. This one coming up feels darker than most.

Burying my head in the sand will not be an option in the coming years.

Though I have always maintained a non-partisan stance in this journal (I am an independent) I feel compelled to speak out now. The election brought sadness for me and many around me. I am worried for my immigrant friends, alarmed at white supremacist rhetoric, concerned about the relaxation of environmental standards and angry at the misogynist drooling. It's a gut punch. Each day brings another announcement of the leadership of thugs.

Thugs, Paula Kovarik

I know that all Trump voters are not bad people. Some of them are family members, some truly believe that drastic change (no matter what the cost) will fix our broken system, some focus on one issue when they vote. The task at hand is what to do next? Do we continue the vitriol or fix what is broken? Do we take sides or bridge the gap?

There are plenty of gaps to bridge. We all know that.

So what I look for in a leader is someone who is smart, open and determined to be fair to all. And as a citizen it will be my responsibility to be vigilant. I will support a free press, speak out at injustice and find ways to further the causes I consider important.  

I will not bury my head. Or lapse into cynicism.

rising, Paula Kovarik

gratefulness on edge

I really wanted a cigarette last week. It's been 13 years since I quit smoking and that does not stop the urge. I really wanted a cigarette last week. On Wednesday I woke up in a cold sweat believing I had started smoking again (because that inevitably means that I would have to quit again). Tension is as tension does.

So my stitching is frenetic. Punching the needle into the cloth with a frenzy that borders on manic.

Health questions in the family generated this invasive species.

Cypress trees on a stress-reducing walk reminded me of the new leaders walking into office — dark and foreboding figures.

An automatic stitching exercise reveals how my head is untethered and askew. Paula Kovarik, 2016

I am focusing on both detail and fuzziness. Big ideas are too big, details mimic the tension.

The fuzzy thinking, edgy tension and churning stomach will end sometime. For now, I will continue stitching, allowing the stitch to tell my story.

Breathe in, breathe out. I am grateful for that.

And I won't light up a cigarette.

The automatic stitching cloth grows larger every day. Paula Kovarik, 2016

chaos ensues

Last week my computer stopped working. It wasn't a firestorm or an earthquake but it did create chaos. Applications, extensions, preferences, archives, backups, bookmarks, 14,566 photos, three years of archived email messages, screensavers and personal sense of peace and harmony disappeared with a simple click of the mouse.

I called my local wizard, Brian, who hand held me through the re-installation and restoration process. We worked together for 4 days navigating the waters of passwords, help desks, chat rooms and operating systems. Trust me, you don't want to go there. But, if you do have to go there, call Brian. He was a model of patience.

And, now that I am up and running again, I'll show you what resulted while waiting for that spiraling beach ball on the computer to stop turning and turning and turning.

This piece starts with a pile of scraps.

This piece starts with a pile of scraps.

After about 3 weeks of piecing I am entranced by the back of the composition. It reflects a behind-the-scenes idea of the structures that hold us all together.

Here's the final composition from the back.

So I baste it to the backing wrong side up. On purpose.

Here's the neat and tidy back of the quilt sandwich ready for stitching. I did the free-motion quilting from this side. The piece is about 6 foot square and it was totally uncooperative. I ended each day with neck pain and back strain. It proved itself to be too big, too persnickety, too much. The open seams on the back of the piece (which would eventually be the front) caught in the feed dogs, rumpled unevenly and refused to cooperate. Turning it over and stitching from the front didn't work either. I started to call it the hateful quilt.

So I cut the whole in half, threw both halves into a hot washing machine and dryer to see what would happen and hung the ragged results on the design wall until I could face it again. hmmm.....kind of liking that squinched up raggedness.......

So I cut the whole in half, threw both halves into a hot washing machine and dryer to see what would happen and hung the ragged results on the design wall until I could face it again. hmmm.....kind of liking that squinched up raggedness.......

This past week, while watching and waiting for the computer gods to grant me asylum I started stitching and stitching and stitching. The stitching reflects my mood. confused, constipated, constrained and scattered.

Here's where I am with it today. I like the raggedness. I like the urgent sense of chaos. I like the release.

That second half waits for its own solution.

That second half waits for its own solution.

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.