TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Paducah Fiber Aritsts: Group Show at HeART of Healing Gallery

Helene, Ulla, and Susan.
Three Paducah Fiber Artists sporting
Susan's dye discharge clothing.

Once a month a bunch of crazy women about fiber (oh, and there's Bob!) get together to eat, be merry, and do a show-and-tell about our latest obsessions with fabric, needle, dye, yarn and color. April is the highlight in Paducah for most of us. The American Quilter's Society hosts one of their shows here and we all go nuts. Thousands of women with big bags (and their very patient husbands) descend on our humble city and give us a much needed boost in our local economy. The red carpets are dusted off, flung out, signs posted, flags hung, and a prayer for good weather is in all our hearts.

Most of us who belong to this eclectic Paducah Fiber Artists group either have a business or do something entrepreneurial during quilt week. My subtle hint:

(How very uncouth!)

But, for the first time in our three-year history, we come together in a group show hosted by HeART of Healing Gallery. Located in the wonderful arty neighborhood of LowerTown, HeART of Healing is a must-stop-destination if you are coming to the Quilt Show. We had our opening reception on April 25th which was very well attended by our good hearted local community. I found it so interesting to see our work up on these walls, together for this time, surrounded by the stories that each of us bring into the materials we use. Not everyone from our group was represented, but enough were, enough to reflect our unique approaches to the medium, so loosely defined as "fiber art", allows us to be. Following are photos of the artists who attended with a short blurb about each. More photos and information can be found on HeART of Healing's page dedicated to the show and in a story I wrote for their new blog.

Dr. Christi Bonds Garret, "Food Hole"

Dr. Christi, owner of HeART of Healing Gallery, is a medical doctor who also practices Chinese medicine. Also passionately interested in cultural textiles, she has loaded the gallery with ethnic fabrics which will surely interest quilters who share this interest: vintage kimono (cut it or wear it!), Hmong pandau squares, more Kuna molas than you can ever hope to see in one place, vintage Indigo Hmong and Japanese kimono indigo fabric, Kuna skirt and scarf fabric, and much more. Dr. Christi's quilts tend to explore her interest in Chinese medicine and symbolism.

Pam Heavrin, "Reminiscing Rhinos"

Pam has been a long-arm quilter for over sixteen years. She takes the often-dreaded finishing step of quilting and transforms someone's dream into functional reality. And, she does it beautifully! Her rhino quilt was one of her own creations, made to honor her husband's rhino collection.

Linda Baxter Lasco, "Tree Skin Canyon"

Linda is pure energy! She knits her way through our meetings and packs tons of information into her alloted time (we are actually on a timer!). Her quilts explore many different techniques, always technically excellent and carefully thought out. I am extremely jealous of one of her skills: she is a coveted auctioneer. I both have stage fright and stumble over my words in public, fogetting even my own name. Not Linda! Linda works full time for AQS and part time for Caryl at Bryer Patch Studio. She will be exhausted by the end of this week.

Judeen Theis, "Quasi Kimono"

Judeen has many interests. Fiber is definitely a biggy, but so is stained glass, painting, and many other mediums. She often brings bags of knitted accessories, soft and fuzzy and full of color. She shows, while we touch and drool. Judeen also spends a lot of time in her garden. Her gallery is wonderfully eclectic and welcoming, also located in LowerTown.

Irene Reising, "Out of the Pit of Hell"

Irene suffered a shoulder injury a couple of years ago that disrupted her life in every way possible. She was unable to pursue her calling as both a nurse and a long-arm quilter. Both were devastating blows and she felt that doors were slamming on her at every turn. In time, new ones opened up and she recovered. This quilt is the story of that journey.

The dye-discharge cult.
Helene, Ulla, and Susan

Susan (in red) doesn't have a piece in the show. She doesn't need to. She has a following, advertising her wares at every turn. Her discharged apparel knocks us out. It really is not fair!
What's not fair? .... I don't know, it just isn't. That's what the abundance of her work does, reduces us to whining, until we finally get one of her pieces and peace ensues.

Helene is next in this story and Ulla didn't submit a piece for the show, although she is also a member of our group. Ulla quilts beautifully!

Helene Davis, "Limbo"

Helene and Bob Davis are next. They are together because they are married, but they are also very separate as individuals. Helene calls her basement the dungeon. That is where she spends gobblezillions of time, dyeing white fabric into treasures. She then transforms the often odd colors and shapes into absolutely drop-dead gorgeous pieces of art. The quilting also captures my attention and is her signature in her most recent pieces. She quilts in straight lines, perhaps less than a 1/4" apart, giving almost a rug-like quality to the piece. And, everything is always immaculately finished. Sigh.... will I ever be that good?

Robert Davis, Reflections I

Bob is our dedicated representative of the male sex! Enthusiastic and precise, he has been exploring many different directions in the last couple of years. His latest discovery is that he has a gift for drawing. Both he and Helene have been taking classes at the Paducah School of Art. He has found his muse!

Bob and Helene will have a booth at 212 Broadway, English's Antiques, (same place where I have my booth) during the quilt show. They will be selling Helene's hand-dyed fabric as well as her commercial stash that she accummulated before she started dyeing (much of which has made it's way into my house..... Aaaaargh!) You can also learn more about them on their website.

Deb Lyons, "Nine Patch and Canvas"

Deb also likes to experiment with texture and unorthodox materials. She has a background in education and continues to have ties with that through the puppets she makes for schools. Deb is another transplant from Chicago, like me. (Actually, there are several of us!)

Charlotte Erwin, "Watermarks Tryptich"

Charlotte is another of our dyers. Her specialty, marbling, has never been a favorite of mine. Never, until I saw her work. It is vibrant yet subtle. Somehow she is able to achieve definition out of the spontaneous brew of shapes and color. Truly beautiful! Charlotte will have workshops on marbling during the quilt show at Working Artist Studio.

Caryl Bryer Fallert, "Reflection #18"

Caryl has won international recognition for her quilts. She was one of the persistant visionaries who pushed quilting into a new form, one which could compete at a serious level with other fine art. Whether craft or art, Caryl's work is defined by precision, color, and impact. Caryl has also won acclaim in the quilt world for her ability as a teacher and guide. I have said that her gift is of helping others translate what they see in their heads into reality. She also has designed several fabric collections, such as those seen in the quilt above, and a line of threads. Her website has both a gallery of her quilts and an online store. For those of you coming to Paducah, you will find BryerPatch Studio loaded with fabric and quilting kits designed by Caryl.

Rachel Biel Taibi, Small Pieces

Finally, I submitted to a photo, too. Aaargh! Well, I guess that if I subject everyone else to the tortured experience, I must undergo it as well.... I have several smaller pieces in the show, explorations in prarie points, my dog food bag purses, and "Honey Island", a yo-yo textile. I like texture and try to explore new techniques or variations of old ones in the little time I have to do my own art. My main focus is developing my online business, Rayela Art, where I sell ethnic textiles. Links to Etsy, eBay, and 1,000 Markets are on the right column of this blog. I have a booth at 212 Broadway here in Paducah and depleted my online stores for the Quilt Show. So, if they look bare, you will know why. Etsy is still pretty full...

Paducah Fiber Artists is made up of a group of people who come from all different walks of life. Some are native to this region while many of us have relocated here from other places. We all find a common language through our interest in that broad category we call fiber art. We support each other, learn from each other, laugh together, and find a shoulder when we need it. This community is a treasure and if you come to Paducah, I hope that you will experience at least a small bit of the gifts that reside here!


  1. What a wealth of ideas and skills! It is overwhelming to see the artists and their work. Along with the explanations, this is in brief: Everything I'm missing in Germany. Great show! Thank you so much.

  2. Thanks Rayela, I enjoyed meeting your fiber artist group!! Should be a fun week for you guys with all the emphasis on fibers!! Enjoy!!


  3. I'm going to tell my sis who is in Paducah with her husband to stop in at 212.

    Have a super week!


“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like it's heaven on earth.”

“Whatever you say, say it with conviction.”

(Both by the master, Mark Twain)

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