many moons

I was not in a colorful mood. So this piece will linger on the boards for a while before I get back to it.

I came back from a number of trips last month with a swarm of images floating through my thoughts but no map to figure out how they go together. It was frustrating to feel so aimless. I looked around at the work that I had done prior to my trips and felt totally disconnected from them.

My friend Jeanne Seagle, a very talented artist here in Memphis said the following in an interview: “Make a lot of work. Put the good stuff in shows. Recognize the bad stuff, and put it in the closet. After a while maybe you can fix it. If not, you can still learn from it what not to do. Just don’t show it.“

After a few days and a number of puzzled thoughts I decided to be radical. I took out all of my older pieces lurking under the studio tables and made some judgements. Some still spoke to me about their intent and focus. Others did not. Some showed a learning curve in the stitching that no longer represents my work. Others were pieces that didn’t get done.

This piece never got done. It was an experiment with geometry and connections.

I chose a few and laid them out on the cutting board for some fun with rotary cutter.

Fun with my rotary cutter. No piece is sacred.

This piece, called Keeping up with the Dow Jones, was done in 2009. I’m over it.

Just that act of cutting up several pieces into 2.5” squares was a release from the aimlessness. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with it but I knew it was the right step. Catharsis. Resolve…and a little panic.

After some mix and matching, twisting and turning I finally came up with a composition that seemed to hold together. I stitched the squares onto a canvas backing. All 420 of them.

And now the fun begins. My goal as an artist is to channel what is invisible into the visible. The work I do is intuitive and exploratory. I’m never quite sure what will result with a piece like this. I just know that I am channeling lots of different emotions and thoughts. Beauty, complexity, doubt, anger, worry, whimsy, calm and depth. They are all in there. The layering of stitch and fabric brings out the best (and worst) of me.

I’m going to call it Many Moons. Because that’s how long it will take to finish it and because its taken me many moons to get to this stage in my work.

stall

I travelled a lot in October. I soaked up inspirations at museums, in class at Arrowmont and while teaching and gathering with friends. It was a long time away from the studio.

During that time I brought my Bernina to our local dealer for maintenance. So my main machine is missing in action. It takes my dealer 5 WEEKS to finish the maintenance. 5 WEEKS. How crazy is that? And, unfortunately for us in Memphis there is no valid alternative at this time. I have 2 weeks to go before I get it back.

 This hole in my table normally houses a Bernina 740.

This hole in my table normally houses a Bernina 740.

Then, upon my return I decided to reconfigure a few things with the help of my very wonderful husband. He is helping me install more design wall space which meant that the current space was disassembled and piled onto the work tables. The place is a mess.

 Styrofoam insulation board and felt will give me a space of about 7 x 14 feet to play with. Then with a roller track above the wall another 8 x 8 space in two panels that will move side to side. Space, glorious space.

Styrofoam insulation board and felt will give me a space of about 7 x 14 feet to play with. Then with a roller track above the wall another 8 x 8 space in two panels that will move side to side. Space, glorious space.

I am at sea

untethered

wondering

stasis4_2018.jpg
stasis_2018.jpg

The tale of the crankie

It was fate--the day I learned about crankies. Ever since seeing a Red Grooms exhibit at the Brooks Museum in Memphis I have been haunted by the idea of a moving quilt. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about go to this website for a fun trip through crankie land. So here's the tale of the tape for my crankie, I watch too much tv news.

I watch too much tv news

Here's a video of the scroll in its entirety. Enjoy!

Beastie Boy and His Pals

Sometimes pieces emerge out of my subconscious without warning. My task is to allow that to happen. That is what happened with Beastie Boy and His Pals

I am appalled by the way our government is being run. The creatures that inhabit the power centers have changed the way I think about threats. As a citizen I vote in and pay attention to local, regional and federal issues. I read articles that discuss both sides of issues. I listen to the news from other countries. I try to sift out the skewed, embellished and outright outrageous to come to an understanding. And I feel helpless.

Solace comes in the work. 

Beastie Boy and His Pals started with this scrappy composition. I have learned that scraps can talk. 

The composition had two sides. A cool side and a warm side with static in between. Similar to the dialog being broadcast to us each day without rest. Like the two parties playing their he said he said game. 

As mammals we are predisposed to see faces in inanimate objects. The instinct is a way to protect ourselves from potential threats. So as I added sections to the composition I started seeing beasts -- beasts with eyes, beasts with tails, beasts with goggles. I liked how the three beastie figures outlined in the pic at the right started to create a nest of a composition. 

But then I turned it upside down and liked it even more. Beastie Boy appeared to hunch into the room and his pals were all there. 

beastieboy_final1_PaulaKovarik.jpg

The dialog continued on a detail level. 

Disrupting the disruptors

Woodcutface_PaulaKovarik.jpg

One month. That's what it took to do the piece I just finished. It is part of series I hope to complete in 2018. All of the pieces start with the fabric I created at the Steamroller Printing class I took last fall. It was a comfort zone challenge. Drawing an image, cutting it into wood, inking the wood and pulling a HUGE print via a steamroller.  More about that here and  here.

My practice is about the inside coming out. I deconstruct and reconstruct what is comfortable and what is not. So these faces and beasts make sense to me this month. They are a short circuit to the anxiety I feel.

If my thoughts had a soundtrack it would be played in a minor key.

I have a solo show at the Dixon Gallery & Gardens in Memphis right now. It showcases my work over the past ten years. Seeing them all hanging together made me focus on their similarities and their differences. There are a number of them that show the deep-rooted concern I feel about the environment, our government and the welfare of the people in the world. So it is with no surprise to me that this cartoon-ish print that started in fun ended up with a dark undertone. Here is the front of this piece called Disruptors:

Disruptors, front, Paula Kovarik

And, here is the darkness in the back.

Disruptors, back, Paula Kovarik

And here is the next piece I will tackle. It is actually a quilt top that I created for the print.

Under that quilt top is an inked board with the images I carved into it. After layering the quilt top with paper, felt and some particle board the steamroller passes over the sandwich to create the printed fabric.

Here are some close-ups of the fabric after it was printed. The back seems more interesting to me because of the ragged nature of the seams. I may work from that side to create the next piece in this series.