ends and beginnings

I emptied my thread ends box today. It held the threads that didn't get used on a piece this year. These threads were active players without a field to play in. They came into existence at the end of thoughts rather than the beginnings. They got snipped off and thrown to the side after trying hard to be part of the team. There are a lot of them.

I've grown used to not being satisfied with each and every work that I create. Like these thread ends some work just doesn't work. The process of creating has become more important to me than the finishing up. For each work that gets finished I estimate that there are two or three pieces that get thrown under the table. Thus, I have fallen in love with my rotary cutter, it facilitates my cut-up-and-rework frame of mind. I am beginning to see a signature style in all of the work. I am drawn to black. I like surprises and there is an undertow of anxiety in all of them.

Cut-up-and-rework pieces

I named the work I finished: Aquifer, Beast, Chaos Ensues, Focus on Something Else, Glyphs, I Need a Third Eye, Ladder to Elsewhere, Looking for the Pattern that Connects, Signals, Thugs, Unglued, and Unmapped.

Some finished pieces

And now I am working on a piece called Ship of Fools.

Ship of Fools work in progress

2018 will be filled with new challenges: a one man show at a local art museum, a proposal to a local venue for a juried show in Memphis, several teaching positions and days and days of continuing my work. It's those last items that I look forward to the most. They provide a silence and thoughtfulness that fills me up.

Happy New Year everyone. Hope to meet some of you this year in workshops. Check out the listings at the right for dates and locations.

May your studio be filled with inspiration and your days full of mystery and wonder.

variety, as in: life; spice of

The spicy tang of variety seeped into my studio this week. I work in series. And I work in serious pursuit of message.

Sometimes I grow weary and feel like I am repeating myself. Other times I am overzealous and over my head. This I know: pursuit is the reason. The act of making, stitching, cutting, pressing and assembling fabrics and threads brings clarity to thought. Believe me, if you sit and stitch for three hours on a little scrap of canvas your mind travels, bends and surges. Here's a little gallery of what I worked on this past week:

I finished Beast this week. It is a ragged, angry blot that satisfied a certain itch within.

I removed some orange thread stitching on the center figure of Thugs and added some black flies to the background. Black flies bite.

Part of my Silent Witness series: Yes, but does it pass the smell test? is on the design board. I need to figure out how to finish the edges of these small pieces. But first I need to make lots more of them.

Liar, liar, rough cut. This greets me every morning.

This confection of polkadots and swirls satisfied my need to chill out and just let the thread tell me where to go.

I tested some colors and curves.

I used the leftovers from the curve tests to create this composition that I am calling Woof. Random acts of piecing netted a live dog with attitude.

Another Silent Witness piece in process, Disruptor. Hand stitching slowed down my thoughts and forced me to focus.

thugs

Today marks the beginning of the arduous task of bringing people together regardless of beliefs, regardless of prejudices. The task now is to speak truth to power, recognize that government can be a force for good and also a tool for disaster. We live in a country of laws, checks and balances, and citizens who care.  I recognize that my truth may not be your truth. I will listen. And I will not be silent.

Here are my feelings: malaise, worry, trepidation, confusion. Is this what it feels like when black turns to white, lies become truth, thugs become leaders? It is a dark day. A day when all I can hope for is that bureaucracy forestalls disaster. Dark days beget dark thoughts. Looming edifices of oligarchs and predators march in to offices that purport to protect the meek, the under-served, and the threatened. I'm going to get this darkness out of my system soon but for now I wallow in it. I sink in disbelief. I am sad.

Thugs , work-in-progress, Paula Kovarik

Thugs, work-in-progress, Paula Kovarik

Alternative hairstyles for the center figure: blockhead, firebrand, flipper.

Next in the series?

Liar, liar, a work-in-progress, Paula Kovarik