Georgia on my mind

Fallout, detail, Paula Kovarik

I have a few pieces in an exhibit at the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning in Duluth, Georgia for the next couple of months. I think about those pieces out there on their own, holding their own among peers. How will the visitors take in the breadth of the show? How will my pieces fit in? 

If you are in Georgia, take a little time to check out the show. There are works by myself as well as Kevin Curry, Valerie S. Goodwin, Jess Jones, Joyce Watkins King and Macey Ley — All artists working in fiber. What could be better than that?

Into the Nature: Cycles, Habitats & Elements of Place

Curated by Angela Nichols

May 22 – July 28, 2018
Hudgens Center for Art and Learning
6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Building 300
Duluth, GA 30097
Exhibition Reception: Saturday, June 2

The selected works examine beauty, rhythm, conflict and topography; how the natural world is impacted by man and how human existence makes marks on the world. 

Here are some detail shots of the works I have at the show.  

I've been thinking about the pink brush

Three days of remembering. The image of a pink brush from my childhood has recurred every morning upon waking and while exercising and while preparing dinner and while unstitching a number of wrongly-stitched pieces and while gardening and now. The persistence of memory intrigues me.

 This is not our pink brush.

This is not our pink brush.

When I was about 13 our family had a favorite pink brush. We brought it with us on camping trips, it was stowed in my mom's purse on shopping trips, we argued over it in the morning. It had bristles that were soft but strong, a handle that fit perfectly in everyone's hand and a full-throated tickling when you passed it through your hair. It generated static electricity that delighted my brothers.

And then we lost it. It might be at the bottom of a cold lake in the upper reaches of Ontario, or, buried in a sand dune on Lake Michigan. It might have been left at a road stop in Minnesota, a neighbors house in Illinois or a picnic table in Wisconsin. It's gone. That I know. To this day I miss that pink brush. I have looked for one like it for years.

Why does such an insignificant object hold so much real estate in my mind? It represents my mother who died 5 years ago this month. My father, who died 13 years ago. It brings up thoughts of family vacations that smelled like fish and cold water. I can remember the feeling of it through my hair and the sound of it when mom stashed it into her purse. And the way the purse clicked when she shut the little metal clasp.

Memory box, Paula Kovarik

When I stitch I try to channel these unsolicited memories into something that makes sense to me. I can't remember people's names but I do remember their faces and the way they make me feel. I don't remember algebraic formulas but I do remember the street maps of places in which I have lived. I don't remember movie plots but I do remember the tastes of my grandmother's strudel.

Pink brushes, cold water, mom and dad, strudel...these are a few of my favorite things.

A little publicity

About a month ago I had the pleasure of meeting Lilo Bowman, the Editor-in-chief and Production Manager for The Quilt Show. She met me at the Dixon Garden and Gallery exhibit featuring my work. It was a crazy day. I had actually added the meeting date and time to my calendar for Saturday. When I received her call on Friday asking me where I was I fell into an abyss of mortification (note to self, always double check dates and times). Needless to say I rushed to my car and drove a bit above the speed limit to get to the museum. Halfway there I realized I did not brush my hair or put on a clean blouse. I looked disheveled and disoriented. 

Lilo is a pro. She overlooked my tardiness, made me feel comfortable in an instant and asked informed questions about my work. I was delighted to meet her.

The result of that harried day actually ended up as a blog post on their website today.

And here is a link to the video she filmed after our meeting. Please ignore the badly tied scarf and red sweatshirt. I am not known for my fashion sense. I'm glad that the lighting focused on the quilt.

Thank you Lilo, for your interest in my work, your professionalism and your understanding.

Gobble Gobble

Gobble Gobble, detail, Paula Kovarik

I teach a class about line. Following the thread is what I do. Needle down, head filled with thoughts, I let the line travel. I draw like this too. Something about letting the line tell me where it needs to go lets me tap into an unconsciousness that builds my stitch vocabulary, soothes my worried soul and brings thoughts to the surface. 

Gobble Gobble was done in one of my classes. You can see the practice one in white and the final in black here. It's about greed. I think.

Gobble Gobble, practice tile, Paula Kovarik. With the exception of the small independent circles that are stitched by the bird heads this drawing is one continuous line that builds the composition.

I don't pre-draw the lines to stitch in these pieces. Instead I begin with an idea of what motifs will repeat in the work. In this case it was the bird-like heads that are gobbling up the resources. As the line travels through the piece the architecture of the composition is created with a connective tissue of swirls, leaf forms and repetitive pattern.

Gobble Gobble, Paula Kovarik, 12" x 12" 2018

This piece will be part of the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) Benefit Auction. SAQA is an international organization that promotes quilts as art and forges a community of artists who share a common passion for fiber and stitch. The auction will take place online from September 14 through October 7.

I'm not 30 anymore

I have a landmark birthday this week. And it's not 30. I can't help but take stock of where I am, where I want to go and what the point of it all is. I guess I do that on a daily basis anyway but this landmark makes it a little more deep-seated. I notice things more. I wonder why I notice certain things more than others. I store up images that speak to me. And they show up in my work unsolicited.


I thought I might post some of these stored images today just to remind myself that this world is spinning and I am a part of it. Life is shorter this week. And inspirations abound.