Monday, September 5, 2016

End of summer respite in Paducah

What better place is there for a quilter to spend a few days at the end of the summer than in Quilt City, USAPaducah, Kentucky??? My friend, Cathy, lives in Paducah and I decided to get away for a break to meet up with her, take advantage of a less-crowded time of year to visit the quilt museum, and enjoy the sites of downtown Paducah and the Ohio River riverfront. 
The National Quilt Museum, Paducah, KY.
This year, the National Quilt Museum is celebrating 25 years! In addition to the rotating exhibit of quilts from the museum's private collection showing in the main gallery, there are two special exhibits currently running. The quilts from the museum's permanent collection—winners from previous AQS shows—are a sight to be seen as you can get practically nose-to-nose with them to see all the details. This time, a piece by Michael James was on display and I learned that Michael James got his MFA at my Alma Mater, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where I got my MS. (The world gets smaller all the time.)

The two special exhibits are "Art Quilts of the Midwest" which runs through October 11, and "Here and There: Works by the Manhattan Quilt Guild" which is on display through November 15. Both of the special exhibits were of particular interest to me as they included art quilts and work by quilters pushing the quiltmaking and patchwork boundaries in creative and exciting ways.

The special exhibits included work by quilters you may be familiar with such as Susan Shie, Paula Nadelstern, Beth Markel and Victoria Findlay Wolfe, but the other exhibits introduced me to the work of artists such as Ludmila Aristova (and her dimensional cityscape that incorporates prairie points, pleats and pin tucks), Shin-Hee Chin (who does amazing threadwork pieces), Barbara Schneider (who uses stiffened fabric pieces to create sculptural fabric art) and Diane Núñez (who incorporates metal rods and other non-fabric elements from her training as a jeweler). Quilts from the "Art Quilts of the Midwest" exhibit are also in book form, written by Linzee Kull McCray. (If you can't see the show, get the book!)

Italian Grill on Broadway, Paducah, KY.
On a previous trip, Cathy recommended the Italian Grill on Broadway. I had eaten at the Grill on a previous trip, but that was quite a while back so a return visit was in order. We arrived 10 minutes before the restaurant opened so got a table before the crowds moved in. By the time we finished our Margherita artisan pizza, the place was hopping!
Cathy suggested we "walk off" dinner by heading down to the riverfront. Passing the shops, art galleries, boutiques and eateries down to the river, we noticed several street-level renovations in progress in a few of the buildings. No doubt, other small businesses will soon be part of this eclectic historic downtown. 
View of the Ohio River nearing sunset,  Paducah.
The riverfront accommodates car and pedestrian traffic. There are plenty of benches beside the sidewalk for sitting, conversation and enjoying the view. While we were there, a few cars pulled up and parked along the water's edge—presumably for a bit of recreational fishing before sunset. The gentle breeze along the water made for a bug-free evening but there was a hint of Fall in the 75-degree evening temperature.

It was a lovely visit with lots of inspiration. I'll write about two other stops during my visit in my next post.

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