Just spent a great week in Paducah- the town styles itself the quilt capital of America and it undoubtedly is, and so much more.
I’d say the town is also quite visionary and possibly one of the friendliest places on Earth!
Paducah was a quiet little country town a few years ago, not a large population of its own but a hub that serviced a large rural population base.
The Old Town is quiet lovely and there was a Lower Town area full of gracious old homes that were slowly sinking into the ground.
Mostly owned by slum lords, the houses were not being maintained and life was going down hill.
Some bright spark had the idea of inviting a bunch of artists to move into the area and start an arts district. www.paducaharts.com/ check them out- visit if you can, look for a B&B and stay in the area, if you can.
Paducah is sweet but realistically it is a long way from anywhere.
The town got behind the idea, though, the local bank offered very generous financing deals so people could afford a wonderful old house to renovate and a studio of their dreams. Advertising was put out across the country and the town stood there with their arms wide open and a great big welcome on their lips and in their hearts.
People came, now just 4 years later it is an area thriving, many wonderful, quality galleries, cafes, studios and a friendly, thriving community.
Of course life is challenging- moving, renovating, setting up a studio yet the refrains were always positive and so friendly. People helping out each other, heaps of people with the same affliction and/or blessing you share of a creative nature. What a place!
Then there is Quilt Week- so many people flock in for this major event of the American Quilter's Guild. There are quilts everywhere, a hugeshow of the work in the competitions and vendors throughout town, antiques quilts as well.
I particularly enjoyed the exhibition at the Quilt Museum - very thoughtful combination of works. http://www.quiltmuseum.org/ is their web site.
the collection on display when I visited started with modern pieces based on a traditional pattern of the Rose of Sharon, this then blended into a display of antiques quilts with this design, beautiful, elegant pieces, in the next section of the museum where works from Quilt National 05 and some of the permanent collection of the museum.
All excellent works and a museum I will look forward to with anticipation to see what they have on offer next time. All the work was very quilty- fabric, batting, well stitched but the range achieved with these common materials was wonderful. It gave me a lot to think of for my work and a wish to reseach more into the traditions of quilting and work on the idea of some cross over pieces- a modern twist on a traditional pattern...hmmm something to ponder.
Los Angeles today- and a day cruising the Contemporary Musem of Art- very exciting!