Pat Pauly – Rochester, New York, USA
Quilt National 1983 exhibited Pat Pauly’s first quilt. She hit the ground running, and continues to construct works that are strong and graphic. Creating works that evoke natural forms, while remaining abstract, Pauly often uses her tool kit of surface design techniques.
Pauly exhibits internationally and is in private and corporate collections. Pauly is a frequent lecturer on the relationship of traditional quilts to contemporary works, and curates exhibitions of art quilts.
Pauly’s workshops focus on design, color theory, construction, as well as when to apply the rules, and when to toss them out.
(Click images to enlarge)
SAQA: When did you begin making art with fabric? Do you work in other media as well?
PAULY: My first quilt (1981) was made with material I silk screened. So, from the start, I was hooked on surface design and fiber work. I’ve worked in other aspects of design – focusing on graphic and 3-D skills needed for exhibition design. So, using diverse media is part of my work habit. This graphic design does cross over to the skills I use in quilt making. Nothing is off the table.
SAQA: What inspires you?
PAULY: I am a sucker for abstraction and color. Modern architecture and industrial design interest me, as well as clean graphics. And I love to build and construct, so melding construction with “painting” fits me well.
SAQA: Have any artists or art movements influenced your work?PAULY: Lunch hour at college was spent looking at the work of the abstract expressionists; the color and field informed my aesthetic. With an immersion in woodworking, design, printmaking, and later, photography, I saw I had stylistic similarities that emerged despite dissimilar media. Through each medium I saw space and color, but the work I did came from the same hand.
SAQA: What techniques and materials do you use?
PAULY: As a fiber artist, my main technique uses pieced fabric. The material of choice is either commercially printed cotton or my own surface-designed fabric. I’ve experimented with other materials like synthetics, paper, plastic, and metal. All get run through the sewing machine. Because I like piecing.
SAQA: Where do you create?
PAULY: I have a studio connected to my home. I like the fluid transition from my living space to my studio space; I enjoy, and am thankful, that I have a one minute commute. I must say that making things takes me away from – and draws me near to – what I am living.
SAQA: How do you reconcile the art-making and business sides of your creative life?
PAULY: The business side is at times out of proportion, time-wise, to the art-making side of my world. Reconciliation is difficult at times. But I try to stay on task at both.
SAQA: What are you working on now? What’s next?
PAULY: I’ve taken on a series “Time of Day” which explores the stops and punctuation of the day at various points. So, just from the titles – Coffee Break, Dusk / Dawn, Happy Hour, and Nine to Five, for example, you can anticipate the feeling of the work. I am using my designed fabric more exclusively.
Meanwhile, I am developing more ways to share my work and ways of working through teaching and lecturing, by which I am able to get out of my studio, and explore the vast world. And getting out is a great thing indeed, as it offers me a chance to fuel my creative notebook.