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Watch Master
Printable version

  • Copyright © 2008 
  • 53.5" wide X 53.5" high
  • 100% cotton fabric, machine pieced, and quilted/ embellished with watch parts
  • Price: nfs

See more information and details below


Design Concept

My Father (born in 1901) was a watch maker. He went to "watch college" as a young man, learning from a book on hourology, copyrighted in 1903. For most of his adult life, he worked for the Elgin Watch Company in Elgin Illinois, ending his career there in 1966 in the research department. At the same time he ran his own watch repair business on the side, which he continued until he was 88 years old. On any given evening during my growing-up years, you could find my father at his watch bench in a corner of our home, working among draws filled with tens of thousands of sparkling, nearly microscopic watch parts, springs, screws, balance wheels, jewels, stems, faces, hands, and crystals. When he died in 2005, at the age of 103, we found the ledgers of every one of his watch repair transaction, every pay stub from the watch company, every mainspring he had replaced, and all of his tools and watch parts, carefully organized and labeled in his nearly-calligraphic handwriting.

The twelve-drawer cabinet which sat next to his workbench, with all it's tools and glowing little parts, organized in rows of tiny tins, capsules, and clear plastic boxes, became an end table in my home. The drawers were so fascinating I couldn't bear to clear them out . Each one was a self-contained design, a collage of circles and squares of gold, silver, plastic, and tin. Once again I was impressed that, into his late eighties, my father was able to see and steady his hands well enough to continue his work with such miniature parts and mechanisms.

In July 2008 Teri Moore, one of my artist neighbors in the LowerTown Arts District of Paducah, Kentucky, challenged the LowerTown artists to make works on the theme of "time" in our diverse mediums. I was poised and ready.

I photographed the cabinet, and each of the twelve drawers, then took macro-lens close-ups of the tins and boxes full of tiny parts. For the back of the quilt I scanned a picture of my father in his lab coat, working at the Elgin Watch Company in the early 1950's, pages from his watch repair ledgers, and the hourology book. I also collected quotes about time and photographed one of the new, disposable, digital time pieces that have replaced the traditional, repairable technology.

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Using Corel Draw, I arranged the photos, scans, and text on the computer into an two overall designs, one for the front and the other for the back of the quilt. With an HP 2610, the individual rectangles were printed on fabric which had been treated with a chemical to make the ink permanent. The back and front of each block were constructed at the same time with a dense wool blanket used as batting. The blocks were stitched together with a wide satin-stitch to form a medallion-style composition. A photograph of the twelve-drawer cabinet is at the center of the medallion. The outer borders on the front were printed with mirror-imaged close-ups of watch movements, crowns, hands and balance wheels. The inner borders are embellished with real watch movements, springs, balance wheels, and watch faces which span most of the twentieth century in their styles. The title of this quilt came from a tool used to measure watch crystals. This is at the center of the bottom border, with the words "Watch Master" printed on it.


  • Quilts: A World of Beauty CD: International Quilt Association, CD: winners page
  • Watch & Clock Bulletin, Journal of the National Assoc. of Watch & Clock Collectors, Feb. 2010 Back Cover & p.64
  • Arte Patchwork, (Spain) December 2009, p 10
  • The Quilt Life: Premier Issue, p. 66


  • Bryerpatch Studio Gallery, Paducah KY 2008-2014
  • Yeiser Arts Center, Time exhibit of LowerTown Paducah Artists, September 2008, Paducah KY
  • Quilts a World of Beauty: International Quilt Association Juried Show, Quilt Festival 2009, Houston TX (First Place: Digital Imagery)
  • La Conner Quilt Museum, International Quilt Festival, 2014, LaConner, WA (Honorable Mention)
  • Caryl Bryer Fallert: A Retrospective, New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA, August 20 - October 31, 2015
  • Cutting Edge: Art Quilts in Washington" • Contemporary Quilt Art Assn. Group Exhibit, Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, Washington, April 16 through August 21, 2016
  • Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry: 40 Years of Color, Light, & Motion
  • Photographs and Memories - Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, LaConner, WA, January 14 - March 25, 2018
  • Fiber 2020, (invitational) Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Bainbridge Island, WA, March – December 2020
  • Photos Pixels & Pizzazz, (solo exhibition) Lattimer Center for Quilts and Textiles, Tillamook, OR, May 3-June 27, 2021
Web Site Design by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry 1997-2022 All Rights Reserved
Bryerpatch Studio • 10 Baycliff Place • Port Townsend, WA • 98368 • USA
360-385-2568 • caryl@bryerpatch.com

Updated 4/25/21