April 15, 2009

New Show! Paducah Fiber Artists Come Together at the Heart of Healing Gallery!

Lily and Susan with their show-and-tells.
Lily used the baby a couple of times, but he doesn't count anymore...

Paducah is a small city in the Northwestern corner of Kentucky. Known as "Quilt City, USA" it houses the Museum of American Quilter's Society (locally referred to as the Quilt Museum) and The LowerTown Arts District.

Judy Schwender, Curator of the Quilt Museum (She's trying to remember the list of things she has to say!)

I moved here in 2005 after 20 years of living in Chicago. Paducah fulfilled several of the criteria that I wanted in my choice of a new home: an artist community, a mid-size town with good hospitals (you just never know!), plenty of water (the Ohio River), ability to grow things (that comes with a healthy eco-system of the not-so-wanted life like chiggers, ticks, mosquitoes and snakes), affordable real estate (I'm still stuck in a shack!) and access to larger metropolitan areas (less than 3 hours from Memphis, St. Louis and Nashville, 7 hours straight South of Chicago). The best of these has been the artist community here and our very special Paducah Fiber Artists.

Ulla with her Show-and-Tell, a silk/bamboo blend.

Our group meets monthly for a scrumptious pot-luck and show and tell. When you see the photos, you will notice that our group is on the older side. Older, but not dead! Older, in this case, means experienced, talented people who know the ropes, both in technique and in marketing their work. Exactly what I longed for and what I cling to! The Chicago art scene that I often saw only wore black and was pierced and tatooed where the sun never shines... That means nothing, it simply is not our demographic. Our meetings are one of the big highlights of my life in Paducah. I am a homebody, always late, with a self-diagnosis of movement displacement. That means that I am so engaged in what I am doing, that I have a hard time leaving my immediate surroundings to go somewhere new. But, I overcome it for this group. I always learn something and I just enjoy these people tremendously!

Irene Reising talking intensely about something...

Irene Reising's Intense Quilt "Out of the Pit of Hell"

We rotate from house to house and get to ogle each other's art collections and books. This month we met at Caryl Bryer Fallert's Bryerpatch Studio, also in LowerTown.

Caryl Bryer Fallert with Freda Fairchild cropped in the background.

Caryl Bryer Fallert's "Reflection #18"

Last year, one of our meetings was at Margaret Merida's house, way out in the boondox somewhere. Margaret has an extraordinary art collection and her husband is a talented artist who makes wild sculptures out of gourds, larger than life animals, spirits and goddesses.

Paducah Fiber Artists at Margaret Merida's House, 2008

Can you believe this is made out of gourds?

Dr. Christi Bonds Garrett has especially become a focal person in this scenario. Owner of HeART of Healing Gallery, she has employed me to work on the weekends and help her with inventory and such. We are both quilters and we both have a love affair with many of the same cultural textiles. Have we torn a kimono in two yet? Not yet, but only because of the abundance of Dr. Christi's collection....

Freda Fairchild and Dr. Christi Bonds Garrett

A costume designer and print maker (among many other things!), Freda Fairchild has a series of ghostly garments in the group show.

'Turtle" by Dr. Christi Bonds Garrett

Our lives here are still very new. Dr. Christi relocated from Nevada, runs Integrative Medicine of Kentucky on the weekends (along with Heart of Healing Gallery which is annexed to the clinic) while holding a full time job as a Western medical doctor. This year, during the Quilt Show, the gallery will showcase our Paducah Fiber Artists in a group show and we hope that this will become a yearly tradition.

Bob Davis shows his new artistic direction, drawing,
while Helene Davis (yes, they are a couple!) looks on...

Reflections II by Robert Davis

Limbo by Helene Davis

Yes, I miss some of the amenities that Chicago has to offer. I miss the diversity, too. But, this group of people that makes up the Paducah Fiber Artists translates a rich inner life into the fabric that binds us all together! Are you coming to Paducah for the Quilt Show? Be sure to stop in and visit the HeART of Healing Gallery and enjoy what we have to offer!

Charlotte and Ulla, giggling at the camera.

The show is also available online.

Rachel Biel Taibi with my Show-And-Tell,
the beginnings of "Sidney's Ties"