TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Friday, May 30, 2008

HeART of Healing Gallery, A Place of Peace in Paducah

This past weekend I had the privilege of working at HeART of Healing Gallery, located in Paducah's art district, Lowertown. The gallery is the creative healing extension of Integrative Medicine of Kentucky, Dr. Christi Bond's clinic of alternative health.

Mission Statement

Our primary goal is for each patient to enjoy optimal health through a combination of safe, innovative, and natural treatments. Integrative Medicine of Kentucky combines natural therapies with appropriate conventional medical treatments in a safe manner. We treat the person as a whole being, addressing imbalances on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. Our treatment plans require time, patience and the commitment to change formerly harmful, destructive habits.

Dr. Bonds and I both belong to Paducah Fiber Artists, an informal group that meets monthly to share progress on our projects and critique each other's work. We both love ethnic textiles and carry some similar inventory (molas, kimono, and hilltribe textiles), but that doesn't stop us from trading or collaborating.

The gallery showcases those textiles plus work by local artists.

Although the space is not huge, it is well divided into themes that change as new inventory arrives and focus needs arise. Dr. Bonds is well-stocked with vintage kimono. Quilters buy these to cut them up and incorporate them into their own work, but they are so beautiful that many people just buy them to wear or display as a textile.

A current exhibit of photos supports an orphanage in Vietnam. The photographer is dating one of Paducah's native sons and both have spent time volunteering at the orphanage.

Another exhibit showcases local artist Nikki Mae's pen and ink drawings, framed in black below the large scripted piece:

Gorgeous Tibetan singing bowls fill a cabinet, the beginning of a collection of instruments which will be used in sound therapy.

Quan Yin and other female imagery are found throughout the gallery and clinic, both in paintings and carvings.

But, my new favorite are the mola blouses! I had never seen them before, except in photos and am amazed at how beautiful they are.

I have my eye on this one, so DON'T buy it! It's Jesus on a cross, but he is smiling, boogey-eyed, and looks really friendly and sweet.

Dr. Bonds has a huge mola collection and just took down an exhibit that focused on Christian imagery in mola art. I had not been exposed to those before either. I had always seen the birds, abstracts, and animals and have many of those for sale in my Etsy store. I bought one from Dr. Bonds that shows the story of Jesus and the woman at the well, a sermon my Dad had preached on many times over the years and used again in his retirement sermon, just recently.

I had some henna clients at the gallery. One of the wonderful things about being at HeART of Healing is that all the people I have met there are SO nice! This is Eleanor from Nashville, who visits Paducah and Lowertown frequently. She was a futon maker until just recently.

The clinic and gallery are housed in the same building, on the corner of 7th and Monroe. The clinic is as interesting as the gallery with each room decorated in gorgeous hand-crafted furniture, textiles, and objects from around the world. There are three themed acupuncture rooms: Native American, Quan Yin and Egypt. Soothing music is everywhere.

I am not just a friend, a co-textile lover, a trader, or an occasional worker. I am also a patient. I've gained 20 pounds since I tore my meniscus in my knee almost two years ago, have felt lethargic and must stop smoking. So, Dr. Bonds is helping me get my old self in order through herbs, acupuncture, chocolate (!!!), and support. She considers her East/West approach as her tool bag, and will pull out whichever tools she needs from either tradition to address the problem. I am so happy to have her expertise here and hope that both the gallery and clinic grow into a thriving practice for Dr. Bonds who recently relocated here from Nevada.

HeART of Healing Gallery is in the process of having an online presence where items will be available for purchase. Check the Integrative Medicine of Kentucky site for updates. And, if you visit Paducah, make sure to stop by for a visit! Currently, the gallery is only open on Saturdays, but those hours will expand in the near future.


  1. What a marvelous collection in that gallery!

    Hope your knee injury will soon be a memory...I'm sure the chocolate will help!

  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.




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