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Program 1002

1. 100-year-old quilter “Aunt Pearl” Felix
2. Failte Irish Import Shop
3. woodworker Mark Whitley
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Ohio County

Producer, editor: Joy Flynn
Videographer: John Breslin
Audio: Doug Collins

Pieces of a Century

Quilter Pearl Felix

It was Joe Burgess of Frankfort who told us that we really should pay a call on his Aunt Pearl—and we think you’ll agree that she’s a woman worth knowing.

Ruby Pearl Burgess Felix of Hartford turned 100 years old in November 2003, making it 92 years that she had been quilting. Her first quilt, a “postage-stamp quilt” made of tiny pieces, was completed when she was 8, under the watchful eye of her mother. At the time host Dave Shuffett visited, she was working on one that she hoped to finish before her centennial birthday. In between, she completed an uncounted number of quilts, each sewn with love. In addition to giving them to family and friends, Pearl created numerous quilts for fund-raisers over the years, helping to raise money for local charities.

Pearl did take a few years’ break from quilting in the late 1980s to nurse her late husband, Archie, when he developed Alzheimer’s disease. She spent some time more recently on a different sort of needlework, crocheting formal pairs of table doilies for each of more than 15 female relatives. And in the last few years she developed a new passion—rooting for the University of Kentucky Wildcats. But quilting remains her first love.

“Her quilts are on beds and in chests and on walls and racks all over Kentucky and in a half-dozen states, I guess,” says Joe. “Aunt Pearl uses a walker to get around because of her arthritic knees and hip joints. And she is getting to the point that lightning has to strike fairly closely for her to hear it thunder. But her eyesight is still pretty good, at least for close work. [And] her humor and her outlook on life are as good as gold ever was, and not much different than what I first observed more than 50 years ago.”

Fayette County

For more information: Failte Irish Imports, (859) 381-1498

Producer: Valerie Trimble
Videographers: Michael Follmer, John Breslin
Editor: Jim Piston

Bringing the Emerald Isle to the Bluegrass

Failte Irish Imports

Lexington has a little piece of Ireland in its midst, thanks largely to Liza Hendley. An immigrant from the Emerald Isle herself, Liza started the Failte Irish Imports shop to bring favorite things from her native land to her new Kentucky home. The offerings at Failte (“welcome” in Gaelic) include sweaters, jewelry, tea, and Irish food products like rashers and bangers—what Americans might call bacon and sausage.

Liza also can be found at weekly Celtic jam sessions at McCarthy’s, pouring Guinness for the patrons of the Irish pub. She sums up her activities very simply: “I love bringing Ireland to people.”

Warren County

For more information:
• Mark Whitley, (270) 563-2441

Producer, editor: Jennifer Belcher
Videographer: David Brinkley

Wood Works

Woodworker Mark Whitley

Our final stop for this edition is another crafter—and another business. Mark Whitley of Smiths Grove, a small town in Warren County, has built a successful business around his passion for woodworking.

Specializing in inlay work, Mark has won many admirers for his furniture, bowls, vases, and boxes. Woodworking, he says, is more than putting pieces together. The art lies in truly seeing the beauty of the wood in order to envision just the right combinations. This visit to his workshop shows how he goes about it and spotlights some outstanding examples of finished works.

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