Five Questions for Artist Paula Kovarick

Interested in a new approach to free motion quilting? Join us for a three-day workshop with artist and trained graphic designer, Paula Kovarik from April 4-8, 2018.

Want to know a little more about Paula and her approach to art? Read on down for her responses to our five question interview series!

Q: What was your path to becoming a full-time working artist?
PK: I had my own graphic design business for over 30 years. From the beginning my goal was to retire from that business early so that I could pursue my own art. That happened about 5 years ago. I am still a designer but now I can design for myself instead of others. 

Q: Do you work on multiple pieces concurrently or focus on exclusively one at a time? If the former, how do you balance that? If the later, how do you decide which one to start next?
PK: I usually have more than one piece going at the same time. I find that larger pieces need some rest between sessions so that I can see the life in them come into focus. If I work on a piece without stopping to think about it I can sometimes get lost in the details instead of the whole. In addition, I do a lot of exploratory stitching on small pieces to test threads, fabrics, batting and dyes. 

Q: How do you come up with ideas to begin something new?
PK: Reading, learning, reading, learning, reading, learning. When an idea comes to me it is often just a glimmer of a thought, a thumbnail sketch or a flicker on the edge of consciousness. I try to have a child’s focus, open to awe.

Q: What keeps you motivated to continue making art?
PK: It’s in my DNA. I don’t have a choice. Though sometimes there are blank zones (often on completion of a piece), a walk in the woods or a new book or article will reinvigorate me.

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist? Creatively, in a business sense, or in life?
PK: My parents taught me that you create your own reality. I am still learning about risks but I know that I have what I call the “power of arbitrary decision.” If presented with a problem I seek the most efficient and direct solution — then do it. My training as a graphic designer — working on deadline, with the constraint of budget and format — helped me to focus in on what is the most important part of any communication. I look at my artwork as a process rather than a product. It’s the process I seek. Not the end product. So if I feel like taking a rotary cutter to a piece because it might lead me to new insights, I do it.

Learn more about Paula’s Follow The Thread Workshop with us here.
Find out more about Paula on her website and give her a follow over on Pinterest & Instagram.

Five Questions for Fiber Artist Lyric Kinard

We’re kicking off our 2018 fiber art workshop series with a fun three days of playing with paint led by Lyric Kinard. In this design intensive, Lyric will offer a perfect mix of surface design techniques and instruction in the elements and principles of good design.

In preparation for her workshop, we asked Lyric to fill us in a bit more on her approach to art;

Q: When did art first enter your life?
LK: It’s been with me in one form or another all my life. Music, writing, architecture.. all were important to me before textile art found me about 20 years ago.

Q: Do you have certain themes in your work or subjects that reappear?
LK: I have a broad range of interests in subject matter, but my abstract work almost always involves circles and grids and my portraiture is usually inspired by the women in my family.

Q: If you could give only one piece of advice to a beginning artist, what would it be?
LK: Make lots of art. Lots and lots and lots of it whether you think it’s good or bad. Don’t give up or get frustrated if your work doesn’t live up to your vision – learn what you need to learn from the bad art. Your bad art is often the very thing you needed to create in order to get to your good art.

Q: What drives you to produce new art?
LK: The most honest answer would be a quickly approaching deadline. 🙂 The other answer is that my head is full of questions and “what if’s” and ideas. It’s full to bursting all the time so when I make time for my studio there is always something to play with.

Q: What show, project, or event are you most looking forward to in 2018?
LK: I want to continue an abstract series I started last year inspired by mill wheels. I still have many ideas to explore inspired by the ideas of time and stone and grinding… and of course the circles and lines.

Find out more about Lyric on her website and give her a follow on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, & YouTube.

Five Questions for Artist Margaret Evans

As our first workshop of the 2018 season, we look forward to welcoming back Scottish artist Margaret Evans! Margaret will be joining us from March 18-24, 2018 and expanding her Unleashing the Pastels curriculum for artists of all mediums! Margaret herself will working in pastels, but will also bring watercolor, gouache, and water soluble pens for additional demonstrations.

In advance of her workshop, Margaret took a moment to answer a few questions we had about her approach to art.

Q: What’s been your most unexpected source of inspiration?
ME: Scottish weather!

Q: How has teaching impacted your personal art practice? And vice versa, how does your approach to your personal art impact your teaching style?
ME: I have to remind myself of what I preach when getting into difficulties! I make it fun, and remind all to keep an open mind and willingness to gamble.

Q: What’s one tip you have or trick you use for keeping your studio space organized?
ME: A quick morning tidy up before starting work – otherwise i can’t find anything and trip over things.

Q: Who are your art heros?
ME: Robert Wade (AUS) and John Singer Sargeant.

Q: What exciting projects are you working on right now or big dream projects you would love to begin exploring?
ME: Working on large scale corporate paintings and exhibiting outside Scotland.

 Find out more about Margaret on her website and give her a follow on Facebook & Instagram to see what she’s up to!

Workshop Report: Large Scale Figures In Cloth with Susan Else

Fiber artist Susan Else visited our studio for a very different kind of workshop crafting figures out of cloth!  Here’s a few things her students had to say about their experience;

Wonderful. The instructor was excellent. Class description was perfect. I learned so much about workshop no with fabric in a 3-d way. I also learned new techniques and about new tools.

Susan was excellent. The convenience of living, working, and eating on site was fabulous.”

As always, we’ll share a few of the images we captured here on our blog, but encourage you to also check out the full gallery on our Facebook page. You can also scroll back in our Instagram feed to see what we captured during the class.

And of course, our video for the week, found on our YouTube channel!