On Collaboration

I went to an artist talk last night that reinforced my ideas about collaboration. He said that if you put a professional engineer and artist in the same room to solve a problem the outcome won’t be the same as having an artist with a pretty good knowledge of engineering figure it out herself.

Two heads might not be better than one.

Two heads might not be better than one.

Each time I have been involved in a team approach to a design solution I am energized by the discussions, motivated by the goal and hopeful about the outcome. Yet, there are challenges. Every step along the way brings a set of compromises and a new way of looking at those goals and outcomes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

What have I learned? I prefer doing it all myself.


I can take the blame, find the alternatives and be responsible for the outcome. I can throw it under the table when it doesn’t work out. I can meet my own timetable. I can re-evaluate without stepping on toes. Not so easy when others are involved.

But this process of locking my doors to others is self-limiting. Pushing away my expectations while entertaining alternative ideas broadens my vision of the end product.


So I will continue to find ways to play well with others. And collaborate. In events, in art, in thought. Even if it makes my nerves nervier.

A collaboration

Asher's drawing

Asher's drawing

I have an idea for a new series. And I want others to participate.

I am fascinated by children's drawings. My sons and grandsons have created some of my favorite art. The loose and intuitive line they use seems to come from a different inner fire. One that I strive to attain myself.

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. - Pablo Picasso

So, here's what I am thinking -- I would like to stitch children's drawings onto cloth, making the line more permanent, more textural. It will be a way to feel the way the lines are created. Trouble is I don't have a lot of drawings in my collection. I am greedy for more. Especially those of monsters and robots.

That's where you come in. Do you have any of those precious drawings saved in your memory box somewhere? Is there a 5 year old nearby who can draw with passion?   Subscribe to my journal if you are interested. I will send you some of the details for this project. All who participate will receive a set of my greeting cards as a thank you.

Greeting cards, Paula Kovarik

Parallel Lives goes public.

Poked at, primped, previewed and published, our Parallel Lives book makes its public debut on Blurb.com. It is a short story of the collaboration that Jean Holmgren and I have had for the past two years. This unique opportunity to create art together helped each of us to define our own paths. Any profits from the sale of the book will be used to support women in the arts.

here's a sampling of some of the pages:



this is not a quilt

Yet in many ways it is. This is a layout of the pages of the Parallel Lives book Jean and I are creating. We're like a dog with a bone on this thing. Collaboration brings insight, modifications, and sometimes even doubt. Happily, we have arrived at a solution that pleases us both. More to follow.

Parallel Lives show extended for 2 more weeks

Listening for the pulse, Jean Holmgren and Paula Kovarik, 2011The good folks at Cooper Young Community Association have allowed us to keep the show hanging for a couple of more weeks. If you haven't had a chance to see it yet, the show will be up until June 23. Jean and I would be happy happy happy to hear what you think of our efforts.