My piece, Round and Round It Goes is part of the Quilt National 2013 exhibit. It was recognized with the Award of Excellence. To learn more about this quilt and the artists who are part of that show, go to


A new SAQA book, Portfolio 20, The Art Quilt Sourcebook, is now available from the SAQA website. The portfolio of professional quilt artists includes a pic of my Round and Round It Goes quilt. A wonderful opportunity to review many beautiful works of art.


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On conferences

conference doodle, 2012, Paula Kovarik

Just returned from the SAQA conference in Philadelphia and came away with conflicting feelings.

First, I loved talking with everyone, seeing the artwork and traveling to Philadelphia. But, why oh why did they choose to isolate us out in the burbs with all that Fiber Art in the city? If you can get over 200 women with money to a show in the burbs of Philadelphia (or the backwaters of Ohio for that matter) think of what you could do by offering a fuller palette?

ArtQuilt Elements felt crowded to me, maybe because it was opening night. The work was hung very closely together, so there wasn't too much time to breathe between works. Many pieces were inspirational and some were not... The Wayne Art Center is a beautiful gallery hidden in the middle of a fine subdivision in Wayne PA (what is it about galleries that show Art Quilts being in off the beaten track locations?) The discussion by the Jurors was enlightening and the work lived up to their praise in general.

FiberArt Philadelphia was an impressive gathering of some of the finest fiber art in the country. I think there was something for everyone at these shows. The beautiful, the mysterious, the angry and the downright twisted...a full palette of extraordinary works. I tend to be transfixed by the dark and poignant pieces. It's odd to me, my own work tries to go there but gets tripped up by whimsy. Maybe I am moving toward a new genre: dark whimsy.

Standouts for me were:
At the Inside/Outside the Box show: Magali Rizzo, Rachel Udell and April Dauscha
At the Snyderman-Works Galleries: I am awestruck by anything by Dorothy Caldwell, also rans were Carol Eckert, and Warren Seelig. The night before the show I drew the sketch above. An odd doppleganger of Mr. Seelig's work. Not sure why it came out of my head BEFORE seeing his pieces.
At the Wexler Gallery: Flore Gardner, Erin Endicott and Orly Cogan nibbled at the edges of my subconscious.

I'm sorry I didn't get to see the Sense of Place exhibit. And I enjoyed the panel on Sunday with Lorraine Glessner, Dominie Nash and Emily Richardson. Need to look into Emily's work more.

I can't find the card for that woman on the third floor of the church near the Crane building who was creating a transparent prison of diaphanous fabric. Loved the space and came away feeling like she may howl in there at night.  I would like to follow her work in the future. Did you get her card? or name? She was Australian.

So here is what I came back with:

  • I will not find the answer for my own artwork by looking at others.
  • I wish that there was more diversity in our crowd.
  • I could become friends with any of the serious fiber artists in that crowd.
  • The sense of commonality is enriching. It can also be stifling.
  • There are some serious artists out there who grab meaning from their work, not from their popularity with the public. I want to be one of them.
  • I'm tired of the whining about not being accepted in the art world.
  • I will seriously pursue my work and a solo show.

Reader Comments (6)

All your musings are correct and fitting to the artist experience, especially the first one. Run with it.
April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn League
I wish we had found the time to catch up chat...but seemed to pass each other like ships in the night... the Australians artist is Kay Lawrence I am looking forward to your solo exhibit!
April 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternatalya
I can't imagine how anybody can go to a show or series of shows of that magnitude and not come back feeling simultaneously pissed off and turned on.
Dark whimsy is perfect- maybe even to name your solo show.
April 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjean
I wish we'd had time to chat over lunch and late-night wine after AQE like last time, but alas, that didn't happen. Your work in the show was exceptional, as always. Maybe Natalya and I will be able to road-trip to your solo exhibition when the time comes -- which I have no doubt will be soon.

P.S. I love the phrase "dark whimsy"!
April 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVivien Zepf
I don't see anything wrong with Dark Whimsy either. :-) I'm really impressed by your take-aways. I too get many of those feelings when attending quilty shows and such. I feel like my work can be overlooked because it does not fit neatly into teh established art quilt categories. I got nice feedback from AQE though, and am also actively seeking a gallery show because more and more that is where I see my work going. I can see your working well in a gallery setting too.
April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristin L
Thanks so much for your thoughts on the show. I really enjoyed looking at all of the links. I can definitely see where it could all be overwhelming. I agree that looking at what other artists do isn't an answer for your own artwork. But I do think our own work is influenced subconsciously by all of the artwork that we see. So keep your eyes open . . . which I know that you already do. Keep us posted on a show just for you!!! Would love to go to see it! Take care.
April 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJudy Felker

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