Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry, internationally recognized quilter

caryl bryer fallert-gentry: queen of quilts

by Patricia Belyea

PORT TOWNSEND WA  When I arrived at Ron and Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry’s home, I was surprised by the mammoth sculpture emerging in the middle of their circular driveway.

Woodcarver Stanley Rill was transforming a 20' cedar tree stump into an art piece topped with a great blue heron. Originally the tree overwhelmed the whole front of the house. This was the Gentry’s creative solution to the problem.

 

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry: Driveway Sculpture

 

Once inside, newlyweds Ron and Caryl explained that they both appreciate arts and crafts, and had extensive collections when they met. Both Caryl’s and Ron’s art now fill every nook and cranny of their gorgeous waterfront house.

(For those not familiar with Caryl, she’s on the list of the 30 most influential quilters in the world. Caryl has won Best of Show many times including International Quilt Festival, Houston, TX; American Quilters Society Show, Paducah, KY (3X); and Quilts=Art=Quilts, Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, Auburn, NY.)

My visit began with Caryl proudly pointing out all the works of her quilting friends. At the top of the stairs, a whimsical quilt of an oversized frog by Ellen Anne Eddy dominated the hallway, flanked by giclée prints by Paula Nadelstern.

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry: Hallway

Around the corner, Jane Sassaman’s O is for Oliver quilt brightened the entrance to the guest bedroom.

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry: Hallway to Bedrooms

A sublime Japanese panel over the bed, from Ron’s collection, caught my eye. Above the chest of drawers hung a masterpiece quilt by Tarek Fattoh, one of the tentmakers of Cairo in Egypt.

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry: Guest Bedroom

An early quilt made by Caryl covered the bed in the master suite. Helene Davis, a good friend from Paducah, dyed the fabrics in herTotem art quilt (at left) using the Japanese itajime shibori technique.

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry: Master Bedroom

Before we were done, quilts by Hollis Chatelain (L), Carol Taylor (R), Melody Johnson, Penny Sisko, Ludmila Uspenskaya, Barbara Lee Smith, Cynthia Ann Morgan and more were featured on the tour.

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry: Quilt Collection

The formal living room hosted a gallery of Caryl’s work including her iconic phoenix quilt from 2000 that symbolizes new beginnings. Displayed under halide lights with a museum hanging system, the quilts range from early to recent—a retrospective of Caryl’s exceptional quilting career.

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry: Living Room

We didn’t miss the basement—a huge open space used for photography, storage, and shipping. I noticed Caryl’s shipping tubes covered with checkerboard graphics and learned that the distinctive wrapping makes them hard to lose during shipping.

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry: Basement

Caryl saved the best for last—her studio. On one side, Caryl can see across the water to Mount Baker; on the other, her cedar sculpture in progress. Although the room measures half the size of her Paducah studio, it’s perfect for her present quilt projects.

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry’s Port Townsend Studio

Caryl created a series of 30" x 30" quilts for her celebratory exhibition: “Thirty Quilts for Thirty Years.” The show premiered at International Quilt Festival in Houston TX last October and is on tour for the next few years. As quilts sell, Caryl makes additional pieces in her studio.

Below are a few close-ups from that show:

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry: 30th Anniversary Quilts

Just as impressive as Caryl’s art collection, including her own creations, is the obvious devotion between Caryl and Ron. Both widowed, they’ve found each other and built a life together. In spending time with the couple, it was obvious that they both know the preciousness of having a true love, a friend, and a supporter.

For those of you who miss Caryl back in Paducah, I can assure you that she’s thriving in her new life. Happiness abounds throughout her lovely home in the Pacific Northwest.

Caryl Bryer Fallert Gentry: Water View


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