Pathways and choices

If you search for the phrase "You're probably not as busy as you say you are" you'll get a number of articles about the psychological weight of feeling overwhelmed and the nature of choice. Today's electronic environment is a rabbithole of interference and distraction. It also inspires.

From Maria Popova's Brain Pickings journal: The stories that we tell ourselves, whether they be false or true, are always real. We act out of those stories, reacting to their realness. William James knew this when he observed: “My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind.”

I choose to go down rabbitholes. I choose to allow mystery to guide me. I choose pathways that don't make sense in an effort to abolish the literal.

Stitch pathways mimic the complexity of confusion. Paula Kovarik, 2016

Adding spotlights to the cacophony sorts out simple scenes.

Stream-of-consciousness stitching reveals anxious wanderings. Pathways, Paula Kovarik, 2016

Morning sun gives me some ideas for extra detail bubbling up.

traveling on

The initial sketch for the Stream of Consequences piece started with the idea of inter-connectedness and how the city wove itself around a meandering river.

The Earth Stories exhibition curated by SAQA is soon to close at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. In the nick of time a blogger and journalist, Patrick Lydon, took the time to see the show and review it. Reviews of art quilt shows are few and far between. Each one gives quilt artists a little jolt of excitement when it appears.

Patrick is Founder and Director of, a network of artists, writers, and sustainability practitioners who focus on the relationships between people and the places in which they live. HIs blog and the SocieCity site are great places to find good news about the world through stories, images, and film. I was truly enthralled by the many stories told and recommend it to anyone looking for GOOD news. There really are some good news stories out there contrary to what our national media hands us on a daily basis. 

Patrick was generous in his praise of the show. He studied the pieces carefully and learned about their back stories. He was particularly generous with his praise of my work: Stream of Consequences. Patrick's reference to a quote by Muir, one of my heroes, gave me great joy:

Kovarik’s quilt reminds me of famed naturalist John Muir’s observation that “when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

I finished Stream of Consequences in 2013. It has been traveling ever since.

When a piece travels with a show it takes on a new life. It becomes its own.  That transition from art I own to art that moves on is one of the primary reason I do this.

Art must move.

Earth Stories opening at the University of Central Missouri

The Studio Art Quilt Associates show, Earth Stories, opens today at the University of Central Missouri Gallery of Art and Design, Warrensburg, Missouri, January 19 - February 28, 2015. The invitational show celebrates the stories of people or projects that enhance the planet, make a significant difference in restoring and/or protecting the environment, increase sustainability and otherwise improve the earth we all occupy. My piece, Stream of Consequences, honors the the work done by the Wolf River Conservancy.  There are many stories of hope across the globe. Both individuals and small groups are working on projects that, when added together, make a positive impact on increasing the quality of life on this planet.

Stream of Consequences, Paula Kovarik

Stream of Consequences, detail, Paula Kovarik

Twenty-four artists from around the world were chosen to interpret a story of their choice, in two quilts each (72x72 and 12x14 inches). In addition, the show includes journals written by each artist sharing the story of the creation of the quilt.

If you are anywhere near Warrensburg (east of Kansas City) take a moment to see this wonderful show.

Stream of Consequences

The SAQA show, Earth Stories, has opened at the Michigan State University Museum. My entry, Stream of Consequences, honors the work being done by the Wolf River Conservancy.The show is an invitational devoted to good things happening on the earth. The statement for the piece is below the images. Each artist created two pieces, one that measured 12" x 14" and the actual piece, measuring 72" x 72".

Stream of Consequences, ©2013, Paula Kovarik, 11 x 14

Stream of Consequences, ©2013, Paula Kovarik, 71.5" x 71"

It comes from the country, courses through the suburbs, and wraps around the city of Memphis. The Wolf River, a small spring fed river of 90 miles, is one of the great arterial systems of the Mississippi River and all the life that it nurtures. As it flows, it filters, it floods, it captures and distributes. It is a filament that takes everything that flows downhill and sends it forward. It is the meandering collector of last resort for runoff, sprawl, industry and agriculture. Efforts to control it, channel it, or deny its value nearly led to its ruin—until it gained an advocate.

Since 1985, The Wolf River Conservancy has protected and defended the river in the face of development and abuse. The group has cast the Wolf as a community treasure that physically weaves the region together. They know full well its vital function and spectacular potential. They understand it is a pattern that connects.

See the show at:
Michigan State University Museum, May 11 - November 30, 2014
, East Lansing, Michigan
University of Central Missouri Gallery of Art and Design, January 19 - February 28, 2015, Warrensburg, Missouri