spirals - a universal pattern

Sonja Hinrichsen draws in snow. Her landscapes are collaborative, experiential and temporal. Her goal is to further the appreciation of the natural world. She says it this way:

These works correspond with and accentuate the landscape, and I hope that they help arouse appreciation and consciousness for the natural world. Modern society is becoming increasingly more disconnected from nature. I believe, however, that for a successful future of humanity it is essential that we re-gain a greater awareness of our planet’s nature. - Sonja Hinrichsen.
Sonja Hinrichsen snow drawing at Catamount Lake, Colorado

Sonja Hinrichsen snow drawing at Catamount Lake, Colorado

Spiral meander, Paula Kovarik

Spiral meander, Paula Kovarik

Those of you who have followed my work may see a strong resemblance to some of my doodling. That's why when I saw Sonja's work I was immediately attracted to it. I wondered about how universal patterns like the spiral become part of an intuitive vocabulary we all recognize and use --the pattern that connects (see Gregory Bateson for more discussion of this). I know that I am entranced by them. My work intuitively follows those patterns.

Spirals are everywhere: shells, leaf whorls, water currents, dna, wind patterns -- even the path of the moon around our earth and sun and the galaxy within which we live. (There is a wonderful discussion about fibonacci spirals here: Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci and Being a Plant by Vi Hart)

So I wonder...since we are part of a spiral galaxy does this influence the way things grow and the way we interpret them? Is the answer in the spiral?

You can never have too much orange

Serpent, 2012, Paula Kovarik

I'm working on a series using wonderful tangerine colored linen napkins. Each napkin is a completely different 14" x 15" composition that allows me to experiment with stitch patterns. This one is called Serpent. This detail does not show the spiral configuration of the drawing, but that early morning light that grazes across my desk each morning shows the wonderful texture. And, of course, you can never have too much orange in your life. After seeing a copperhead snake in our lily bed I have been more interested in the snake shape, its meaning in mythology, how to identify them and why people are so afraid of them. I find snakes elegant and solitary creatures. This spiral-designed version was inspired by a series of pre-columbian pottery I was looking at last week. 



A four-day weekend to get some real work done. I am still toiling away on the spiral piece with the working title of Threats. The base is a circluar linen tablecloth, circa 1960 or so is my guess. If you look closely you may notice that EVERY grain is on the bias which means that EVERY stitch I add creates new billows. A threat indeed. I have learned to go with the billow, pushing, nudging, letting it be imperfect. Because, after all, we are all imperfect right?

threats, 2012, Paula Kovarik

lazygirl tool

So I needed to be able to draw a spiral on a big round tablecloth to begin the piece I am working on. Being quite lazy and unwilling to get out my geometry book I chose the easy way out. I tied a piece of cord around my spray starch can, attached that cord to a chalk marker and spiralled away. I experimented a little before I chose the starch can, tried a pencil (spiral too tight), a dye pot (spiral too loose) and ended up with the spray starch can (spiral just right). I taped the can to the middle of my piece, started the chalk marker cord stretched tight at the edge of the tablecloth and then just walked around the circle as the cord wound around the can. Voila! a Spiral!

Whew! That was a potential close encounter with my geometry book.


spiral meander again this time in fabric

This one is a lot of fun to do. It's a little bit of a mind game thinking ahead while the needle travels in spirals. A good way to forget all your worries and chase your cares away. See the original pattern drawn out in this post: Spiral Meander

Spiral Meander pillow, Paula Kovarik, 2011