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The Gentleman Quilter

CWE-based artists create during the pandemic: Part VII

Part VII in my series on what’s on CWE-based artists’ drawing boards features Marlene Lewis and K2 and John Kelley, proprietors of The Gentleman Quilter.

Marlene Lewis 
Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley  Marlene Lewis has been really prolific during the pandemic. In fact, she sent about 30 photographs of paintings she’s produced since March.  Her list of favorite subjects includes female figurative and nude paintings, plein air landscapes, divas and abstract paintings using acrylics and mixed-media on paper and canvas.

She’s photographed above in her CWE studio during a 2013 CAM Open Studio Tour.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley  Lewis is a firm believer in helping not-for-profits. (An earlier post is devoted to Lewis’ work for organ donor families through the Donate Life Foundation.)  Rising Hope, above, was created for Donate Life to raise awareness of the effect COVID19 has had on both healthcare workers and our cities. The painting is currently on display in the Donate Life headquarters in South Carolina.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley  Lewis also donated a painting of her beloved “Maggie” to Stray Rescue for this year’s benefit auction. Both pieces showcase the artist’s love of vibrant colors.

“The inspiration for my art comes from so many places, beginning with my childhood memories of Miami, Florida, where I grew up. It was a place of sensuality, tropical colors, and people of different nationalities and cultures – a place of vibrant, beautifully adorned Latino women and those around them.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley  Pre-COVID19, Lewis hosted Saturday painting classes in her studio. After the shutdown she decided to invite a few artists to her garden to paint her favorite model en plein air.

“Since we couldn’t paint indoors any longer, this was a beautiful option,” she added. Other examples of her current work follow.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley
Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley

“Artists have become very creative in figuring out ways to continue to work and communicate,” Lewis said. “I’ve been able to find drawing groups online in Sedona, Arizona and in London. It’s been hard for everyone. I feel lucky to be healthy and to have had these opportunities to create. Hopefully, there will be brighter times ahead.”

For more information, visit Marlene Lewis’s website.

The Gentleman Quilter

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley
Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley

 

By virtue of their work finishing quilts, The Gentleman Quilter has had a front row seat for the wonderful work many crafters around the St. Louis area are creating during the pandemic. Proprietor K2 Kelley, above, (hand-drawn selfie by 11-year old granddaughter on window) had who opened their workshop in 2017 (see earlier post here) report that business is booming—60% higher than 2019.  The CWEnder along with her husband have finished a record 205 quilts with their long-arm quilter since January 1!

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley
Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley
Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley

K2 reported several quilters said they finally took the time while stay-at-home orders were in place to complete quilts they had started years before. Two sisters, who call themselves the “Quilting Twins,” have kept The Gentleman Quilter quite busy. One of the sisters, a CWEnder, made the beautiful cube quilt above left. A homebound senior made the block quilt, center. Another client “reworked” a quilt he had originally made in 1988, remaking it into a different pattern altogether, above right. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  The Gentleman Quilter Marlene Lewis K2 Kelley

The striking quilt above was finished for a woman as a gift for her daughter who was headed off for her first year at the University of Kentucky.

According to Kelley, a few customers have taken advantage of the downtime to watch YouTube videos and give quilting a try for the first time. “The majority of our clients though are either experienced quilters or just felt like brushing up on skills learned from Home Ec days,” she said.

“This has been our lifeline,” Kelley added, “quilters are the only people we see these days. It’s been such a positive experience and rewarding to finish someone else’s treasure.”

Visit The Gentleman Quilter’s website for contact and drop-off information. Orders for Christmas must be received by December 4. 

There are a few more posts to come on this topic, which I hope to roll out before Thanksgiving.

A look back at 2017

Starting in January with the Women’s March in downtown St. Louis, the opening of a few new businesses and 2 new apartment projects in the neighborhood, the election of Central West Ender Lyda Krewson as the 46th mayor of St. Louis, and capped off with the recent appointment of another CWEnder, John Hayden, as Chief of Police, 2017 has been a year filled with many high notes, and some challenging moments as well.

Sifting through this year’s posts, here are some of the most memorable:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House

January’s Women’s March in St. Louis.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House   September’s protests in the CWE.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House

28th Ward Alderman Lyda Krewson swearing in as Mayor of City of St. Louis.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House

And just last week, CWEnder Major John Hayden, shown with Laura Locke at 2014’s National Night Out held at the Neighborhood Security Initiative, was named Chief of the St. Louis Police Department. Read a related editorial in St. Louis Post-Dispatch here.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House

In July, Heather Navarro was elected to fill Lyda Krewson’s seat  on the Board of Alderman. She is photographed with 25th Ward Alderman Shane Cohn at the grand opening of the reconfigured intersection of Kingshighway and Forest Park Parkway, thanks to BJC Healthcare, Washington University School of Medicine and the City of St. Louis).

Construction projects:

In 2017, ground was broken for 4101 Laclede (at Sarah Ave.), developers Austin Barzantny and Michael Gringrich’s 54-unit condominium project that’s well under construction as we head into the New Year. Opus Development Company’s Citizen Park, a 217-unit apartment project opened last June at Euclid Ave. & Lindell Blvd., and Rothschild Development’s The Milton, a 29-unit apartment opened at 4534 Olive St.

Sam Koplar announced plans for construction of a 7-story, 192-room AC Hotel by Marriott on York Avenue between Maryland Plaza and Lindell Blvd.

Shop & restaurant news:

Lemon Spalon moved from 324 N. Euclid a block south to 236 N. Euclid. Mike’s Bikes, 322 N. Euclid, then expanded its operation upstairs into Lemon Spalon’s former space. Treats Unleashed opened at 22 N. Euclid, and CWE Veterinary Clinic opened in the Lindell Marketplace, 4131 Lindell Blvd.  The Gentleman Quilter opened at 4814 Washington Avenue, and two national chains have chosen the CWE for their 1st St. Louis locations, Bonobos and Warby Parker.

The Gamlin Brothers opened their 3rd restaurant in the CWE, 1764 Public House at Euclid and West Pine Aves.Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House  While across the street, Danny Meyer opened the 1st Shake Shack in his native St. Louis. Tazé Mediterranean Street Food opened at 8 1/2 S. Euclid, and PokeDoke opened next door at 8 S. Euclid, just north of Forest Park Blvd.

Events:

One weekend in June drew huge crowds to the Central West End Association’s House Tour on Fullerton’s Westminster Place,  Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House  and to the 2nd annual CWE Cocktail Party on Euclid Avenue, above. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Food and Drink Services Shop News  Warby Parker The Milton The Gentleman Quilter Taze Mediterranean Street Food St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Shane Cohn Shake Shack PokeDoke John Hayden Heather Navarro Citizen Park Chief of St. Louis Police Central West End BookFest STL Bonobos AC Hotel by Marriott 1764 Public House

The 1st annual CWE BookFest STL, brought many booklovers to the neighborhood one very warm September weekend. The event was so successful, planning began the very next day for 2018’s BookFest. The photo above shows a crowd gathered for the dedication of the William Burroughs sculpture alongside Left Bank Books.

There is more to come, including some exciting announcements for 2018, which I’ll be sharing over the next few weeks.

Wishing you warmer weather and a Happy New Year.

The Gentleman Quilter opens in CWE

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

CWEnder K2 (Kristine) Kelley, above, opened The Gentleman Quilter at 4814 Washington Avenue in mid-August. The shop provides finishing services for quilters and custom-made quilts for any occasion.

K2, who retired last year after 26 years at Boeing, earned her nickname from her boss who kept mixing Kristen’s name up with Christina, another woman in the same department. To make it easier on himself, he started calling her K2. The nickname stuck.

The Gentleman Quilter is another unusual name, this one for a business traditionally dominated by women. The business website defines the term as a well-to-do man who runs a quilting service for pleasure. K2 decided that the name, which was suggested by her sister-in-law, would set her new business apart from others. Like her nickname, it’s also hard to forget.

Last year, while visiting a quilt shop on a trip to Colorado with her husband John, K2 saw a long-arm quilting machine which caused her to imagine that she could capitalize on a passion for quilting by opening her own business now that she was retired. At first she planned on operating the business in her dining room, but changed her plans when she found a studio space within walking distance of her CWE condo. Everything fell into place very quickly and, as K2 said, “When a door opens, you should walk through it.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

The photo above shows the shop’s twelve-foot long Gamill Statler 30″ long-arm quilter, an impressive looking machine made in Missouri by an 80-year-old inventor from West Plains. He saw a long-arm quilter at a state fair and realized he could make it better by adding a computer.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

The screen on Gamill’s computerized quilter shows one of the patterns that’s ready to be stitched onto the quilt that has been placed on the bed of the machine. Pattern design possibilities are endless. Examples of some of the different types available are shown on a sample quilt below.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

K2, who grew up in O’Fallon, IL,  learned to sew when she was 8-years-old. She traces her love of sewing to her great-grandmother, who immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in the 1880s. Her great-grandmother was a quilter at a time when quilting was a necessity, not a hobby. K2’s late mother, Evelyn Riebold (photo above left), loved sewing, tailoring and embroidery. Her 1948 Elna machine, right, which K2 used until recently, is prominently displayed in the shop. Her mother became a “strip quilter” in the 1990s when the rotary cutter was invented.  That made the tedious task of cutting out squares of fabric with scissors unnecessary and a quilt top could be made in a day.

As K2 looked around her studio during the interview, she said she wished her mother could see The Gentleman Quilter, she would be so amazed and proud to see how her daughter has turned a skill that was passed on into a business.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

Most of The Gentleman Quilter’s business, which to K2’s surprise took off almost immediately, has come by word of mouth. Her first customer was a referral who brought in a Mariner’s quilt to be finished. Amazingly, this intricate pattern was the 1st quilt she had ever made.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

On a design wall in the studio, K2 is in the process of laying out “a road less traveled” quilt patterned after one she made for a girlfriend as a thank you after a 2-week trip touring New Zealand in a camper van years ago. The quilt is being recreated with remnants of 12 different Australian prints used in the original quilt.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

One of K2’s sons-in-law is a big Marvel comic book fan, which inspired her to start making quilts featuring The Hulk, Captain America, Spider Man, Thor, and Iron Man, shown above and below. Quilts are the size of a throw,  50″ by 55,” and are backed with fabric depicting vintage comic book covers, see below, $145. To order or for more information visit the website.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End   Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

photo above courtesy of The Gentleman Quilter

The cost of finishing a quilt depends on how much work needs to be done. For example, queen-size quilts including batting, quilting, and finishing edges range from $200 t0 $275. Turnaround time is usually a couple of weeks.

For information on custom-made quilts—baby quilts range from $85 to $100 (see boy and girl owl quilts above as examples)—to wedding or “any occasion” quilts, contact K2 for pricing information. The shop stocks some fabrics, or customers can provide their own.

The Gentleman Quilter, 4814 Washington Avenue, Suite 120, (314) 478-9777. Hours are 10 t0 5 Monday through Saturday, though please call or set up an appointment via the website or via email first, thegentlemanquilter@gmail.com. Since K2 lives in the neighborhood, she’s happy to schedule appointments on Sundays too.