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December 12, 2019
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Historical Association features work of acclaimed fiber artist

WATSONVILLE—The Pajaro Valley Historical Association (PVHA) is currently displaying works by local artist Rachel Kincy Clark, who specializes in fiber creations.

Clark’s quilts, garments and other pieces can be view at the Bockius-Orr House, 332 East Beach St., Watsonville, Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Clark began quilting at an early age. An artist, teacher and lecturer, she has expanded her reach to the national stage, having held many one-woman shows. She has also been featured in “Threads” and “The Quilting Quarterly” magazines, and on the HGTV show “Simply Quilts.”

“Rachel is famous in the fiber arts scene,” said Clark’s longtime friend and PVHA volunteer Lynn Clough. “It’s been wonderful to have this local connection with her.”

Clark’s work showcases eclectic fabrics and designs—sometimes whimsical, other times making political and/or personal statements. A centerpiece of the show is “Stars Over Africa,” with the continent of Africa appliquéd on the back, among the colors of various African flags.

Clark was invited to participate in a show in South Africa years ago with the piece. But Apartheid was still in effect. As the piece could not be appreciated by black South Africans, Clark pulled out and the garment was not finished.

After her husband’s death in 1990, Clark continued and eventually completed the piece.

The PVHA exhibit includes several works interwoven with historical artifacts from the Pajaro Valley. “What They Grow in the Pajaro Valley,” is displayed alongside early-day agricultural labels; a collaboration with the Watsonville Public Library, the garment is covered with images of every food crop grown in the region.

“We had this idea to merge Rachel’s work with what we already had,” Clough said. “We’re always looking for ways to combine the old with the new.”

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This quilted jacket, titled “What They Grow in the Pajaro Valley,” is displayed alongside early day agriculture labels from the Pajaro Valley. — Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian

Clough added that she hopes exhibits like this will help bring in more of the community, as well as those passing through town. A tour group has been scheduled to arrive next week to see the exhibit.

“The [PVHA] is an underused gem,” she said. “Not everyone knows about it. We hope that changes.”

Clough also urged residents to consider volunteering with the organization.

“Anyone who wants to come lend a hand, please do,” she said. “We welcome you with open arms.”

PVHA’s Rachel Clark exhibit will run until September. For information visit pajarovalleyhistory.org or call 722-0305.

Johanna Miller
Johanna Miller
Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study English and Media. She covers the arts, business and agriculture.

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