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Paula Kovarik — Having my say

Quilting gives voice to the fullness of my thoughts. It allows me to tell a large story.

Women have been telling stories with stitching for a long time. Many of the most inspirational are whole cloth quilts. Their subtle textures, intertwining elements and personal stories showcase the deliberate and focused work it takes to make one. From the Kantha cloths of Benghal, India to the hope chest quilts of new brides, these stitched textiles speak of their maker’s hopes and beliefs in a tactile and transfixing way.

Round and Round It Goes by Paula Kovarik

Round and Round It Goes by Paula Kovarik

I want to tell the story of the earth: the way we live on it, treat it, and use it up. It disturbs me.

We still depend upon coal and oil, still blacken the sky with pollution, and we still prefer solving problems through violence. All these realities bring us closer and closer to collapse. Science documents the changing climate and depletion of resources. Species die every day and parts of the planet are now dead zones. Natural and national disasters create challenging narratives. Abuse and overuse of resources will limit choices for those who come after us. These fears and warning signs rumble in my head and heart, and make me want to shout—so I do.

Round and Round It Goes began with a cotton tablecloth and a speck of DNA, which grew and spiraled outward and out of control to realms where the story emerged. The sea and all its mysteries, the sky and all its expanse, and the earth with all its creatures—these are the fabric of my vision. Then come the realities that tear this vision apart: terrorists and politicians ginning up death, weather and natural resources surging into destruction. Economic collapse, overpopulation, dying species, pervasive pollution—it’s all there.

Round and Round It Goes detail by Paula Kovarik

Round and Round It Goes detail by Paula Kovarik

This form of quilting—where one piece of cloth holds the entire story—is an appropriate metaphor for the earth, its creatures, and its habits. Using thread and cloth, the stitch reveals an inner depth that is at once narrative and personal vision, transforming a simple fabric into a multi-dimensional journey.

I am shouting my thoughts: The earth is ours in all its fullness—to nourish or destroy.

PKOV_Photoaula Kovarik received her Bachelor of Arts in graphic design from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. After a successful career as owner and creative director of Shades of Gray graphics, Paula now turns to her art. Her work has been recognized by professional associations such as Quilt National, Studio Art Quilt Associates, the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY. Paula lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee. Her quilt, Round and Round It Goes, received the Award of Excellence at Quilt National 2013. To see more of her work go to www.paulakovarik.com
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