Monday, March 8, 2010

BOLD AND DECISIVE: The Work of Pat Pauly

Big Red

Last summer I attended Quilting By the Lake in New York state . It was an excellent event and I met a number of wonderful talented artists. Pat Pauly is one of those artists and I was fortunate that we took the same class. Pat is from the area and has attended QBL on several occasions and knows everyone. She took me under her wing, introduced me around and kept me laughing the entire time.

I confess I was not familiar with Pat's work so when I had the opportunity to see her work I was thrilled to find her work to be focused on composition, rich color and texture, all elements I admire.

Thank you Pat for making me so at home during QBL and for sharing your work here at Studio 24-7.

Interview with Pat Pauly

Terry: At what point in your life did you know at your core that you are an artist?

Pat: I was born tall, but never really caught on until I had my photo taken in that group shot in Kindergarten, where I was second to Danny. So, I gradually became aware of my height. I think my owning to being an artist was a similar evolution, so choosing to study art, to lead in art, and to challenge myself in art was always a given. I can't say there was defining moment, only that being an artist seemed to always be a part of my make-up, like being tall.

Water, Earth II
59" x 69" - 2007

Terry: Do you ever get into an artistic slump and if so, how do you rejuvenate yourself?

Pat: I can't say I ever get stopped, or even slowed. I would say that I have doubts in my work, that I question why I even work in this tedious medium, or if I would rather explore another way of work, but I don't seem to experience a need to rejuvenate myself. Or, perhaps, when I find myself out in the garden staring at some inconsequential plant, and feel I am avoiding solving that next problem with my work, then maybe that is in fact a slump, so I will confess that I just needed to step away from the work and see some other form.

On the other hand, I love looking at modern design. Kinda like taking a cold shower. Wakes you up.

Water, Earth I
62.5" x 74" - 2007

Terry: Please describe your studio activity....your work habit.

Pat: I try to avoid all responsibilities, like family, computers, and other distractions, and head to my studio in the early morning. I am usually able to put in about eight hours on a good day. I am unable to work and think with music streaming, but I can work listening to talk. Must be a cognitive thing. I like to finish a project at hand, but I do compose and establish other work at the same time. It allows me to be distracted, but by my own work.

I work fairly quickly and decisively, so when I am in a group of other artists, I try to avoid my social nature, but it is difficult. Ha!

Painted Squares
45.5" x 45.5" - 2007

Terry: How did you get started working with fabric and have you ever been interested in exploring other art mediums/processes?

Pat: My great love in college was furniture building. I loved the construction aspect of design, and combined that skill with graphic skills. At that time graphics would be assembled without the aid of computers by cut and paste - or built - to present the final design. I also worked in printmaking techniques and I found myself eventually printing fabric. That fabric became my first quilt, and I have continued using textiles, I think, because it offers me a way to build and construct. I have been using fabric my whole life, sewing, cutting, forming.

Mummy Bag
45.5" x 55.5" - 2009

Terry: I know that you often use you commercially printed fabric in your art work but I have also seen the beautiful fabric you hand dye. What is it about the printed fabric that attracts you? What role does it play in your compositions?

Pat: Painted, printed, surface designed, hand-dyed fabric is all very appealing. They can be the stars of the work all on their own. But commercially printed fabric offers a crispness, or a design, or a color combination, or texture, not to mention style and a recognizable time periods, that cannot be easily duplicated. It is like inserting a language into the piece, or turning on a stream of recognizable images, like archetypes, that will feed the image with symbolism.

47" x 59.5" - 2010

Terry: What life events have most shaped you as an artist?

Pat: Wow, you have me stumped with that question. I can only think about what events allowed me to be an artist. And with that, it would be the studio space that was available to me. I have always needed a workroom to assemble and create art. While in college, I took over the attic space of our home, which was the top floor of a carriage house. In each and every place I lived, I have devoted space to making art, and whoever happened to share the space had to deal with that. The smallest space was a walk-in closet, the most dramatic was a loft space that I rented. Now I have two large studios in which to work. I am known as a "space hog" and it shows when I take workshops or have to use communal space with other artists. That is a reputation I can live with. I am passionate about having space to work, and honestly that space shapes what I can do as an artist.

39" x 47" - 2008

Terry: I always invite the artists I interview to alert me to anything they would like to address so I can include a question on that topic. The following is Pat's response to that option and I hope all her friends will remember this.

Pat Pauly in her studio.

Terry: What is your favorite ice cream?

Pat: Rum raisin.


Pat's professional work began in in the 1980's when she turned to fiber as her medium of choice. Her acceptance into Quilt National in 1983 cemented her love of contemporary quilts and she has continued exploring and creating quilts. Her work has been included in numerous prestigious exhibitions including Quilt National 2009, Paducah, and the Schweinfurth's Quilts=Art=Quilts.

A native of Williamsville, New York, Pat earned a degree in art education at Buffalo State College. She teaches quilting design, has curated many quilt exhibitions and is a frequent lecturer on the evolution of traditional quilts and contemporary works.

You can see more of Pat's work at :

Selected Exhibitions

2009 Quilt National, Athens, Ohio
2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 1988 Quilts=Art=Quilts, Auburn, New York
2009 Points of View, Houston, Texas
2009 AQS Quilt Show, Paducah, Kentucky
2009 Musings, Gerald R. Ford Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan
2006,2007 Art Quilts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts
2006 New Art from an American Tradition, Williamsburg, Virginia
1985 Fabrications, Missoula, Montana
1983 Quilt National, Athens, Ohio

Thank you for visiting Studio 24-7. I invite you to support the artists who have shared their thoughts and work here by commenting.


  1. Pat -- what nice art! "Big Red" is my favorite of those shown. I'm interested in how you work in several different styles, from representational through various levels of abstraction. I wonder how you would describe your "voice" -- the characteristics that show up in all your work.

  2. Great post, Terry! I love the boldness and color of Pat's work. Really wonderful looking, Pat.