With a little help from Jeremy

Continuing my work with children's drawings and abstract backgrounds.

A before photo of the environment created for the drawings. The pieced fabric is composed of random scraps of solid colored fabrics. The striations of black stitching across the piece are based on stitching a straight line at every intersection of two fabrics. This black on black texture is hard to see in this shot. The piece is about 17 inches square.

An after shot: where the drawings populate the surface with mystery. That pointy headed smiling guy in the lower right corner was drawn by the very talented Jeremy. Thanks, Jeremy, for your contribution to my art. The piece will be called Don't Go in the Basement.

stars and bars

I made some progress on the hand stitching for this flag quilt over the weekend. I debate each addition of detail with these questions:

  • Is it worth the effort?
  • Am I adding detail for a reason?
  • When does decoration move the piece away from meaning?

I think I need to add one more star. It's hard to count them when they are so scattered. Saw in the paper today that on this day in 1870 William Seward signed a treaty with Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for a little over 7 million dollars.

A friend of mine called the large basting stitches between the rows Frankenstein stitching.  Though it is hard to see here, the stitching is in alternating colors of red, white and blue. A visual metaphor for the patriotism that stitches this nation together, however loosely.

While channeling my inner Jasper Johns, Betsy Ross and Faith Ringgold, I am also watching the news about personal freedoms, states rights and race relations. The raggedness of this piece feels right for the era in which we are living. Does it seem to you that we are hanging be a thread? Unraveling?

How much should I tidy up?

Tenuous links

This piece got a lot of attention yesterday due to a post on Facebook by a group called the Anartist community. They (he? she?) post some compelling and diverse images of artwork but don't really do anything to identify themselves. It's an international community as evidenced by the quotes in various languages.  A web search yields no other clues. The About section on the facebook page says: "An artist is never poor" (or "Un artista non è mai povero" if you prefer) to which I tend to agree.

I'm always mystified by how among millions (or is it billions) of people on the web sending out messages and images, does my work find a spot? What tenuous links are there that make one piece send out its feelers so that someone else is interested enough to look? These links intrigue me. They are a continuing theme in my stitching, a thread that binds all my ideas together. A link is a happy chance at connection that is at once mysterious, powerful and throbbing. It feeds my curiosity. It starts a conversation, binds together continents, and bounces from one to another.

Heartfelt, repurposed linen dress with hand and machine quilting, Paula Kovarik

row, row, row

Tomatoes, Paula Kovarik

Doing my Betsy Ross thing today I am reminded of when we were tomato farmers and we looked down the rows and rows of tomatoes that had to be staked, tied, and hoed each day, every day for the season. And then, when the harvest came in, we packed them into those neat little boxes of perfect pecks of #1 greens (with a hint of pink) for the market. We toiled and toiled on row after row.

Stitching is so much easier.

Yep, still lovin that raggedy back.