The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Carolyn Henderson
the Times 

The Work of Textile Artist Patricia Bennett

Talk About Art

 

December 6, 2018

When you really love what you do, you tend to 1) do it a lot, and 2) teach others how to do it.

And that's exactly what Patricia Bennett, a textile artist who creates quilted home décor items and wall hangings, has been doing ever since she began sewing 58 years ago on a machine that was powered not by electricity, but by the action of her feet.

"I loved sewing from the first time I used a treadle sewing machine in junior high school," the Bayview, Idaho artist says. "Later, I was putting myself through college and did not have money to purchase store-bought clothes. I rented a sewing machine, started with simple patterns, and the rest is history."

From there, she went on to making matching clothes for her husband and two daughters, then years later for those two daughters, sewing the bridesmaid dresses for their weddings. Because one daughter had been an exchange student in Germany and invited three girls from that country to be bridesmaids, Bennett fitted the dresses by sending samples back and forth through the mail.

(But she didn't make the actual wedding dresses, citing that as "too stressful.")

Everywhere she has lived, Bennett has passed on what she knows, from teaching preschoolers how to embroider their initials on burlap to giving quilt classes to eight Chilean women she met while her husband was on a teaching Sabbatical in that country.

"The challenge of teaching in my limited Spanish and using hand motions was actually fun," Bennett says, adding that many of those women went on to open and run their own small shops.

Now, Bennett creates prolifically for her own business, Cotton Creations Handmade with Love, showing her work at art fairs throughout the Pacific Northwest. A wide variety of her work – from table runners to place mats, from tote bags to pot holders – is on display through Dec. 29 at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main, Dayton.

Wenaha Gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

 

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