TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rayela Art Opens a Retail Space in Paducah!

Woo hoo! I now have a retail presence in Paducah! I am renting about 200 square feet from English's Antiques at 212 Broadway, an excellent location on Paducah's main street downtown.

After 16 years of working several retail stores in Chicago (4th World Artisans, Pachamama's Hovel, FolkArte and finally, Dara Tribal Village), I'm excited about this little space in Paducah for several reasons:
  • I get the stuff out of my house! Could barely walk with all this inventory sitting around...
  • I don't have to be there. Barry, the owner (a friendly transplant from England), is the official salesperson on a daily basis. I will be there off and on as Barry has shown in interest in having special events and will let me do henna there during the summer.
  • The space is affordable and a good test run to see if a larger retail effort would work in this small town.
My focus is ethnic textiles. Barry included a window presence in my square footage, which is very exciting; direct advertising to street traffic and a fun opportunity to create interesting displays:

Textiles call for displays where they can be seen and hopefully stay in some kind of order, so I have standing pieces which showcase the patterns. Vintage suzanis, ralli quilts, kilim, kimono, saris, and Turkman robes all blend in an explosion of color.

Notice the textile blocks at the bottom of the photo. There is a whole table full of them!

They fit nicely with the African Kuba cloths and beads, on consignment from my friend, Mahamadou. Plenty of rustic kilims from Afghanistan hang on a display and cover the floor.

This little corner is a rich slice of the world! I'm very thankful to Barry for giving me this opportunity and invite all of you in Paducah or coming through to stop by. I still need to work on better lighting and signage, but things will keep evolving over time.

English's also has an interesting mix of antique furniture (mostly from England, as indicated by the name), naive paintings, and collectibles. Barry, the owner, has a special interest in military history, so there are some nautical objects and weaponry around, too. The store is huge:

Three of my favorite items:

A mechanical horse that used to be on Broadway many, many years ago. Barry's wife, Diana, rode on it as a kid and demonstrated how it still works. Two speeds! Geddy-up!

Two antique bikes. The more visible one has wooden tire rims and handles!

A Victorian elephant chair from India. 90% of it is original to the piece. It's unbelievably heavy! I can only wonder at how they got the thing on the elephant and then pity the poor beast who had to carry that load!

Barry was not cooperating with me in posing for a photo. A former electrician, he likes to effect the role of a gruff curmudgeon.

But, in reality, he is sweet and at 61, a hip blues player. If you visit the store, ask him to play for you a bit on his electric guitar!

English's Antiques is open from 10:30-5PM Tuesday through Saturday, with later hours on Friday and Saturday. Come on by! A world of treasures is waiting for you!

Rayela Art has similar textiles available for online sales on eBay and Etsy. Free shipping on purchases over $100 worldwide! (Except on textile blocks where $20 is discounted on shipping for quantities purchased.)


  1. Beautiful store!

  2. Congrats on your retail space. Your pieces look fantastic on display.

  3. It looks wonderful. Congratulations!


  4. Wow! Congratulations! It looks fabulous. I hope you will have great success. :)

  5. Great products of rall quilts.
    Rayela's Fiber Focus has a good work.
    Find more ralli quilts images on www.flickr.com and www.ralliquilt.com


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“Whatever you say, say it with conviction.”

(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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